Van Damme Volvo splits

Any young boy who grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s remembers how awesome Jean-Claude Van Damme was in his prime. The guy was absolutely amazing to watch, and perhaps no film better encapsulates what made him a star than 1988’s ‘Bloodsport.’ Along the way, JCVD got involved in all sorts of activities known for killing a career, and that’s exactly what happened. However, after an impressive stint in ‘JCVD’ and ‘The Expendables 2,’ the old man has shown his fans that he still has it. His new Volvo ad is icing on the cake.

Autoblog reports:

It must be fun working in the marketing department of Volvo Trucks these days. It seems any crazy thought conjured around a conference room table can be turned into a stunt using tightrope walkers, bull runners or hamsters. Risking the life of their own president is even within the bounds of reason. And it’s working: the videos for these stunts have made Volvo Trucks a channel worth subscribing to on YouTube, with millions of people having clicked on them so far.

Their latest stunt, previewed earlier this week, involves actor and martial arts experts Jean-Claude Van Damme, well known for the butt-kicking he did on the big screen during the ’80s and ’90s. His signature move was the splits, which Volvo Trucks tapped into for this demonstration of how directionally stable its Volvo Dynamic Steering is.

Dynamic Steering is nice, and the Enya soundtrack is hilarious, but at the end of the day fans just want to feel nostalgic for all those roundhouse kicks, splits and epic baddie beatdowns JCVD was known for back in the day. If a grown man doesn’t like ‘Bloodsport’ there may in fact be something wrong with him. Low testosterone levels? Erectile dysfunction? Not enjoying Frank Dux’s tale as portrayed by Jean-Claude is a sign of a serious underlying medical condition.

Van Damme splits

Here’s why ‘Bloodsport’ is one of the Top 10 “guy” movies of all time:

Think about Dux’s story. He honors his sensei (i.e., for all intents and purposes his adopted father). He’s a member of the Armed Forces. He undergoes rigorous training and suffers countless setbacks in his youth, yet bears down and fights through it to accomplish things an earlier version of himself would have never thought possible. He travels great distances to take part in a contest where failure might mean death—for something larger than himself. He plays by the rules even when his opponent cheats, and ultimately he comes out on top.

The only time Frank missteps is when he decides to sleep with the sexy, blond and liberal reporter who looks down on the men involved with the tournament, but is willing to crawl into bed with them if they’ll talk. The error is so costly it almost disqualifies him, as the reporter outs Frank’s presence to the authorities and tries to have the tournament brought down. Note to self: Resist sexy blondes at all costs.

Another interesting aspect of Bloodsport is the dichotomy between Ray Jackson and Frank Dux. Ray Jackson represents the stereotypical American: loud, brash, in your face, and uncultured. He’s rude, but he’s also loyal…and kicks ass. And finally, he’s cocky, which actually ends up being his downfall. Those who are familiar with the movie know that there probably wasn’t any limit to what Ray could have done if he would have reigned in his attitude, had a bit more humility, and listened to his good friend’s advice.

Frank Dux is the American ideal. He’s soft spoken, but confident and strong. He’s distinctly American, but he’s honed his skills by drawing from the best of multiple cultures. He’s honorable and loyal, but he’s very much an individual. He doesn’t go out of his way to pick a fight, but he recognizes evil when he sees it and he’s not afraid to step in to right wrongs from time to time (e.g., the fighter who was forcing himself on the reporter in the lobby). Frank makes no apologies for who he is or where he came from, and his goal is to be the world’s best. Period.

What kind of red-blooded American man doesn’t go for that?

As a kid I subconsciously learned lessons from both of these characters, even if I wasn’t able to articulate them. Did Frank Dux’s story inspire me to enlist in the military when I was exited high school? Not directly, but in the mosaic that was my life it certainly left a mark. The power of popular culture to shape young minds is severely underrated, which is why I’ve always said that some of my social conservative friends are missing the boat by walking away from the entertainment field all together.

Anyway, God bless ya, JCVD. I hope you still have a couple more movies left in the tank.

Related: Big Hollywood neglects ‘Bloodsport.’ Somewhere, a conservative angel cries

Editor’s note: When I lived in Germany, I ran around the country in the 90s trying to find the ‘Bloodsport’ soundtrack. I finally succeed after months of searching. I played the entire thing and then threw my hands up in frustration when it turned out that the incredibly cheesy ‘Steal the Night,’ by Paul Hertzog was not included. What kind of sick bastard does such a thing? At least they had ‘Fight to Survive’

Ray Jackson: "Go home!"
Ray Jackson: “Go home!”
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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

25 comments

  1. “Any young boy who grew up in the late 80′s and early 90′s remembers how awesome Jean-Claude Van Damme was in his prime. The guy was absolutely amazing to watch…”

    Yeah…if you like poor men’s Arnold Schwarzeneggers.

    1. “I’m sorry to hear that you suffer from erectile dysfunction, Emmanuel.”

      Ummm…dude…uncalled for and, worst of all, I don’t get how this is a credible jab at what I said.

    2. Give me a break, Emmanuel. You make sarcastic wise-guy comments at people all the time, and have had multiple people say something to the effect of “I’m not trying to argue with you” at your attempts to instigate a disagreement.

      I posted this story, and literally within a minute your comment was up. I doubt you even read it in its entirety or even thought about the message conveyed underneath the 90s nostalgia silliness. The whole post was light hearted, from my crack about erectile dysfunction in the post, to the inclusion of Paul Hertzog’s “Steal the Night.” Perhaps you missed that because you commented after reading the first sentence. This was definitely not one of my more serious posts.

      You can dish it out, but you can’t take it. I put you in your place in the Superman thread and then a second time in a Dan Slott post (shortly before you became PersonIsPerson). I have no problem doing so again. And now, I will quote Justin Timberlake (yes, Justin Timberlake): “Cry me a river.”

      And since I’m at it, I will tell you again: Stay on topic. When I write a post on Venezuela, it doesn’t mean I want to play “what if” games involving Thomas Jefferson with you. I spent months dealing with Lizard19’s attempts to take conversations in bizarre off-topic directions. I’m not going to allow you to do the same just because you want to talk about whatever the heck it is Emmanuel wants to talk about.

      If you think JCVD is a poor man’s Arnold, then explain why. Don’t just take some random pot shot and then expect me to take you seriously.

  2. “You can dish it out, but you can’t take it.”

    Yeah, I am a bit a glass cannon kind of a stinker/ornery cuss, ain’t I? Though what do you mean by taking it? Do you mean apologizing for stuff and manning up to being a ten-inch willy even though I ain’t got one? If that’s the case, yes. I am sorry for whatever post I made that would indicate that I can’t take it. I am a ten-inch willy whose not half as smart or clever as he thinks he is and tends to go in half cocked when a topic comes up that I feel emotional about or don’t really have a dog in (this blog-post being one of the latter). I am probably going to be lonely for the rest of my life and grow up to be that old-man telling the derned kids to ‘get the hell of my lawn’ and threaten them with my prosthetic leg. I am a loser, you are better person, and I can never ever ever ever measure up to you and where you’re going, Doug.

    Anyways, I never did say I hated blood-sport. If you read carefully, my dig was at Van Damned and not whatever cheesy movies he’s been in. I’ve never actually seen it (and, probably never will unless I can torrent or pirate it or otherwise get it for free because there’s something about paying for a movie with Jean-Claude Van Damned in it with my own money that leaves a bad taste in my mouth unless it’s the Expendables 2 and I can see Sly, a real man’s action hero, kick him in the Belgian waffles). I will concede though that it those look like one of the better cheesy 80’s Martial Arts fare from what I’ve seen and the soundtrack makes me wish the movie music of today was as good, especially ‘On My Own Alone.’

    1. “Yeah, I am a bit a glass cannon kind of a stinker/ornery cuss, ain’t I? Though what do you mean by taking it? Do you mean apologizing for stuff and manning up to being a ten-inch willy even though I ain’t got one? If that’s the case, yes. I am sorry for whatever post I made that would indicate that I can’t take it. I am a ten-inch willy whose not half as smart or clever as he thinks he is and tends to go in half cocked when a topic comes up that I feel emotional about or don’t really have a dog in (this blog-post being one of the latter). I am probably going to be lonely for the rest of my life and grow up to be that old-man telling the derned kids to ‘get the hell of my lawn’ and threaten them with my prosthetic leg. I am a loser, you are better person, and I can never ever ever ever measure up to you and where you’re going, Doug.” — PersonIsPerson

      I’m not sure if that last bit was you being serious or if that’s you being sarcastic again, given that much of what you wrote in the first half appears to be an honest evaluation of your online personality (I’m not sure what you’re like in person[isperson]).

      If you do believe that, that’s on you and your inability to make the conscious decision not to be “ornery” and go off “half cocked.” I don’t know who you are, and even if I did I wouldn’t think I was “better” than you. I don’t think I’m “better” than anyone.

    2. Yeah the first half was serious.

      So was the second half (Sly kicking Van Damned’s ass for the win!).

      I’ll dial down going in half-cocked and not taking it. I’ll still be an ornery cuss and sarcastic though and will do all I can to crush you in a conversation if there’s a legitimate channel for me to call you out with (luckily for you, you seem to be rather good at covering your basis and keeping it from flapping in the win, ala your conversations with Dan ‘Sucky’ Slott). I’ll just do it with more thought put into explaining where I’m coming from and a little less willy-ness. Maybe some better humor as well. Maybe.

    3. As you saw, when you explained what you meant by “poor man’s Arnold” I was more than happy to reply. Too much sarcasm and half-cocked reminds me of another person … who won’t be commenting again until at least December.

      I think when you just focus on making your case, you do a good job. However, sometimes I think you needlessly try to “crush” people who were never trying to crush you. I think keeping it focused and toning it down will yield much better results in terms of engagement. At least on this blog…

  3. “If you think JCVD is a poor man’s Arnold, then explain why. Don’t just take some random pot shot and then expect me to take you seriously.”

    By poor man’s Arnold, well for one, just listen to their accents brah. Arnold’s, while silly and foreign, is still intelligible, even in his Conan days. Van Damned’s though…is a lot less so. I know because I’ve seen Street Fighter and half the time I was asking to myself what the heck the supposedly ‘All American’ Guile was saying.

    By poor man’s Arnold, I also mean in terms of muscularity. Take a look at the greatest dude to come out of Austria aside from ol’ Adolf (Arnold) and take a look at Van Damned side by side while the two were in their prime. Arnold looked like a tank while Van Damned looked like a humvee or at best, a Bradley, maybe.

    By poor man’s Arnold, I also mean in terms of their careers, the quality of the movies they were in, their popularity and the power of their iconography, the range of the movies they were in, and where they went to. Arnold, became the Governator (even if he did become a two timing whore) and for the most part (aside from the notorious instant in which he compared exercising to cumming) remained a class act, if not exactly a good Governor. Van Damned…became a druggie, stared in Street Fighter, was so strapped for cash that he had to be the villain in a movie and get his ass beat like a tribal drum with much more successful action stars like Arnold, Sly, and Willis and is apparently so strapped for cash he’s staring in semi-truck commercial. At this point, one could only HOPE he suddenly rebounds and becomes popular and famous again with a list like Chuck Norris facts.com or some cheesy song he made becoming used to prank people on youtube like Rick Ashtley brah.

    And THAT’s what I mean by saying he’s the poor man’s Arnold, Doug. You gonna try and depute my argument 😉

    1. “And THAT’s what I mean by saying he’s the poor man’s Arnold, Doug. You gonna try and depute my argument?” — PersonIsPerson

      See, now you actually have an argument. You didn’t before. You just had “poor man’s Arnold,” which can mean anything.

      By poor man’s Arnold, I also mean in terms of muscularity. Take a look at the greatest dude to come out of Austria aside from ol’ Adolf (Arnold) and take a look at Van Damned side by side while the two were in their prime. Arnold looked like a tank while Van Damned looked like a humvee or at best, a Bradley, maybe.

      JCVD is a martial artist. Arnold was a body builder. Big difference. You’re comparing really big apples to really big oranges.

      JCVD actually fought in the ring. Arnold fought fake aliens and robots.

      JCVD actually knocked people out. Arnold knocked up his housekeeper and then lied about it until his wife started looking at young/Hispanic Arnold with a suspicious eye while everyone was on vacation.

      The idea that because Arnold was physically bigger that his muscles were somehow “better” is weak (no pun intended). I can’t believe you went to military hardware analogies with me to prove your point. I’ll ignore that and go easy on you…

      So is Bruce Lee’s physique less impressive than Arnold’s in his prime? I’d say no. They’re different forms of near-perfection. Is a gymnast’s body any better than an elite sprinter? No.

      As my post states, JCVD went down the wrong path and derailed his acting career. Cocaine will do that to you… As you acknowledge, you weren’t around (or you were to young to realize) how cool JCVD was at the height of his popularity — especially for middle school boys. I got to listen to the hilarious “hero” reports on the guy when I was in seventh grade. I probably did mine on Don Mattingly…

      You want to go to ‘Street Fighter’? Arnold had ‘Hercules in New York.’ Everyone makes dumb movie decisions. Like I said, JCVD did himself in by getting carried away with the Hollywood lifestyle. I feel sorry for him because he lost a lot of good years.

      I love Arnold to death. He’s the American Dream personified. He’s obviously a smart man, and it’s paid off for him. I’m more impressed with his early real estate investments than I am with his Hollywood career, actually… Regardless, I think referring to JCVD as a “poor man’s” Arnold is a bit unfair.

  4. “JCVD is a martial artist. Arnold was a body builder. Big difference. You’re comparing really big apples to really big oranges.”

    In the realm if cinema, it generally doesn’t matter what you did prior to being the action hero in movie (unless you’re Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee kicked ass on and of screen), but on your ability to sell and project whatever air of power your character is supposed to have. When I look at Arnold in his roles, I can feel the power radiating off of him. It doesn’t matter if he couldn’t fight to save his life in real life, because he sells and projects the power required. I’m not saying Van Damme didn’t, he did, just that Arnold projected manliness and ass kickery better.

    1. In your original statement, you went outside Arnold’s movie roles to build the case for his overall career. With JCVD, any assessment of his life should also include that he was one bad dude off the silver screen for many, many years.

      I still stand by what I said: It’s apples and oranges. Arnold is 6’2″ and in his prime he was, again, a body builder. Of course the guy is going to radiate manliness. It’s no contest, given the litmus test you’re using. It would be like saying Thor is more manly than Iron Fist. Well, not really. They’re just different kinds of manly.

      It’s like asking if someone likes Coke or Pepsi better. Well, they’re both good, if you like soda. If you like Coke it doesn’t mean Pepsi is a Knock-Off. See what I did there? Did you see that?

  5. Blood-sport and PeeWee’s Big Adventure all in a matter of weeks! I can see where someone younger may think these movies are irrealavent, but they were classics for us 80s kids.

    I hope JCVD gets it back together, he did have some entertaining movies.

    1. I think every time ‘Bloodsport’ came on WGN Chicago as a kid I stopped whatever I was doing and watched it. But yes, I agree with you, it’s probably hard for someone who didn’t see ‘Bloodsport’ or ‘Kickboxer’ when they came out to really “get” it.

      And with that, I’ll use your comment as a not-so-smooth segue into a ‘Bloodsport’ story:

      When I was a kid my brother and I wanted to have our own “Kumate” … in the dark. As we all know, a true martial arts master could “see” his opponents, even if he was blinded by the dark. Dumb luck, the “force,” or my latent ninja-skills coming to the surface, it didn’t work out too well for my brother. After a large “crack” I turned on the lights and my brother’s nose was gushing blood. We never had another kumate, even though he asked for a “rematch” on multiple occasions. Never enter into a kumate with someone who asks with a mischievous grin.

    1. I’m a huge fan of ’80s action movies… but I haven’t seen as many JCVD movies as I have Stallone, Ahnuld and Dolph Lundgren. I’ll have to check out Bloodsport some time. I’ve seen the Expendables 2, where he played the main villain, I’ve seen Street Fighter (which also has Ming-Na Wen as Chun-Li; she currently stars on Agents of SHIELD) and that movie JCVD was in with Lundgren, Universal Soldier.

    2. ‘Bloodsport’ is a must. I’d follow with ‘Kickboxer’ and then…you can stop. 🙂 The other movies are fine, but there’s a reason why the first two are on played on cable and “Knock Off” isn’t.

      The thing with action movies is that in some sense it’s the luck of the draw. If you get that one sort of magical role with the right director, you’re golden. Stallone had Rambo, and Arnold had the Terminator flicks. It would have been interesting to see what JCVD would have done if he was a.) a little bit smarter about the scripts he accepted and b.) not into drugs.

      If they actually did Street Fighter right, that could have been a franchise. They blew it. But who knows how it would have turned out with a better creative team behind it. At the time, the Street Fighter games were huge. I have to imagine JCVD got a nice chunk of change for that one. It’s too bad they botched it.

    3. Yeah, Street Fighter was pretty big back then. Since I was just a little kid at the time, I don’t remember that well, but I do recall playing the games with friends, neighbors and cousins when I’d go over to their houses.

    4. I LOVED that game. Whew… I used to play indoor soccer, and this place had a huge screen you could play on for maybe 50 cents. It was glorious! I don’t even know how many hours I played Street Fighter 2 with my sister, my brothers and my friends. Those were good times with the Super Nintendo, that’s for sure.

  6. Poor Lizard19 tried to comment again, even though he was told he had until December to think about — and reform — his trollish ways before I’d allow him to return.

    His post has been deleted.

    Since he’s decided he’s going to be stalker-ish on Twitter, let’s just make his ban last until Jan. 1. We can bring in the new year with a clean slate if he decides to act like an adult. If not, I have no qualms with extending his ban indefinitely.

    That last comment is why the ‘block’ function was created on Twitter, kids. Use it to rid yourself of perpetually negative people. You’ll thank me later.

    1. “Hmmm. Even though Doug has no problem deleting my comments and banning me from his blog for weeks at a time, I’ll troll him on Twitter as if he doesn’t have the ‘block’ function at his disposal.”

      Oy. 🙂

    2. Hube recently banned a troll at his site, too. He didn’t wish that I’d never procreate, but this troll went over the line when he accused Hube and I of declaring it “open season on people we don’t like” in a post regarding the knockout thugs. The same troll also made light of the fact that Hube and I are (obviously) comic book fans and claimed that we should stop reading them and read Naomi Klein’s drivel instead.

    3. It’s a tough call as a moderator. In one sense I want to give people an opportunity to share their point of view — even if I find that point of view to be completely ridiculous. However, no one has a “right” to say whatever the heck they want on another person’s blog. When someone proves that their only real intention in posting is to troll, it’s like: “Bye-bye. Come back when you grow up.” When I go to “Carl’s Comics,” I know that I have to abide by your rules. It’s your world. When I go to The Colossus of Rhodey, I’m going to act in a way that Hube considers appropriate for his blog. Likewise, when someone comments on my blog, their behavior will fall into line with what I consider acceptable discourse.

      If Lizard19 returns Jan. 1, fine. But if continues to troll, I’ll just extend the next ban on him to three months. Maybe I’ll just double it every time…

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