Mirror, mirror on the wall: Who’s the greatest martial arts star since Bruce Lee and other punks for Hollywood hire?
Mirror: Oh, come on… darn you! Who else but there’s just one… Jean Claude Van Damme is the man on fire!
He’s played a cop, one too many a time in flicks like Death Warrant, Sudden Death. He’s been the guy who’s fallen on hard times, but one who bounces back against adversity, whether it’s through a street-fighting contest as seen in Lionheart and The Quest or as seen in John Woo’s Hard Target, where’s as a tough Cajun, he defended a helpless woman facing tough times of her own looking for her lost father.
In his heydays, he also turned into a Unisol (Universal Soldier) and kicked massive butt in gun-slinging action that met martial art virtuosity, presenting a theatre of enterprise and passion. We’ve also seen him essay the part of a former soldier, battling demons of his own, after killing some on the battlefield.
Honestly speaking, there literally are only a few action roles that Jean Claude Van Damme hasn’t done in an illustrious career that technically began with Predator, found the Belgian a cameo in 1984’s ‘Breakin’, got off to a fine start with Bloodsport, found enormity of fame in Time Cop, underwent a slump in flicks such as Double Team and Knock Off, refound some form in 2004’s JCVD (no other action star in martial arts cinema has gotten to play himself in a biopic that too named after him other than the man) and is still going strong.
Well, it could be said, that there are no full-stops in a certain Jean Claude Van Damme’s career. Isn’t it?
Now, interestingly after having already played the part of a former soldier out in the middle of a war zone in ‘The Hard Corps’, alongside established names such as Vivica Fox, Razaaq Adoti, Jean Claude Van Damme is back playing the same character. But boy, it looks ‘Van Darn’ fine, you could say given his look and the punchy trailer that the yet to be released We Die Young shows.
In his latest, martial arts gun Jean Claude Van Damme, believe it or not, approaching 60, plays the part of an Afghanistan War veteran who happens to impact lives in a gangly neighborhood in Washington D.C. on a plot that’ll see him interact with gun-slinging action, on the edge fight direction, amid a story that has emotion, gravitas, and whatnot.
Directed by Israeli Academy and Emmy Award-nominated director, writer, and producer Lior Geller, Van Damme’s latest is filmed extensively in the United States, a country that also happens to be the epicenter of the actor’s meteoric rise as seen in the early nineties.
The film also stars David Castaneda of the Sicario: Day of the Soldado fame (a flick also starring Benicio Del Toro, 2018) and Elijah Rodriguez (of The Book of Life fame, a film that also starred actors like Zoe Saldana, Ice Cube, and Christina Applegate).
All that told, here’s why the film is making the right kind of noises. Turns out that the directorial force behind the film- Mr. Lior Geller- has based the film on his own short film, titled ‘Roads.’ Now here’s the catch. The 2008 movie of his stands out vigorously than others for the reason that it set the Guinness World Record for having won the maximum number of awards that were clinched by a ‘student film.’
In so doing, what’s really changed in Van Damme’s We Die Young is that the director has swapped the setting of ‘Roads’ – Israel- with Washington D.C., in the United States. Excited already?
Let’s Van Damme the excuses that may stand in the way of watching this one and give it a view as soon as possible. Right?