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JCVD (Van Dammage) (2008)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 102
Fresh: 85 | Rotten: 17

JCVD is a touching, fascinating piece, with Jean-Claude Van Damme confounding all with his heartfelt performance.


Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 29
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 6

JCVD is a touching, fascinating piece, with Jean-Claude Van Damme confounding all with his heartfelt performance.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 21,966

My Rating

Movie Info

Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself in this meta-crime comedy that finds him garnering mores headlines than he's had in years after stumbling into an in-progress bank heist. Down and out, with only straight-to-DVD titles under his belt and a recent job lost out to fellow has-been Steven Seagal, the aging action star returns to Belgium a broken man fresh from losing a custody case for his daughter in Hollywood. Upon his arrival, the bad news continues with a disastrous ATM encounter that leads

Apr 28, 2009


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All Critics (103) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (85) | Rotten (17) | DVD (1)

Unpredictable, engaging and even challenging, 'JCVD' is an intriguing oddity.

January 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Van Damme is so good, and El Mechri's storytelling so entertaining, that JCVD takes its place alongside The Wrestler as one of the unlikeliest but most welcome comeback vehicles in ages.

January 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Comment (1)
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is not only a Van Damme movie that will make you laugh -- on purpose -- it could very well make you cry.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you know Van Damme's work in the least, if you have any sympathy for the plight of the third-rate action screen hero whose days come to an end, JCVD will amuse and touch you.

December 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's something seductively clever about the way French director and co-writer Mabrouk El Mechri has fractured chronology (à la Pulp Fiction) to examine JCVD's plight from various perspectives.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's hard to resist: Here's a battered superstar who has occupied so many fantasies, but in his fantasies he's just like us.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Think of it as Sunset Bloodsport with Jean-Claude as Norma Desmond.

June 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Slate

It's a watershed moment in Van Damme's career; the moment you realise the crazy bastard really can act. It's a tragedy of sorts that most of his fans won't even care.

September 29, 2012 Full Review Source:

Turns out as bad as the star's recent string of dreadful films except for the fascination to look at it as one would a car crash.

August 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It has ensured JCVD will be remembered as an introspective, thoughtful and altogether more profound individual than anyone who ever watched him split a skull would have thought possible.

August 9, 2010 Full Review Source:

For all we know, it's just a big show, a put-on for our entertainment -- but what matters is that it's really quite convincing. You do want to believe this is Van Damme.

August 28, 2009 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

a bold attempt to humanize Van Damme, not by trying to ignore his personal and professional pitfalls, but by reminding us that behind ever movie star, loved or loathed, is a complex human being

May 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

...not your usual Van Damme movie...and a refreshing change of pace for the actor.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

If you thought that Mickey Rourke had the market cornered on comebacks with his transcendent performance in Darren Aronofsky's masterpiece The Wrestler, then think again.

April 10, 2009 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

It's fun as far as it goes, and for the most part quite well made, but in the end it's really not about very much at all.

April 10, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia) | Comment (1)
At the Movies (Australia)

Mechri allows the verbally challenged action star dignity and, with this, the film works. Maybe next time he could bring Jean-Claude and Mickey Rourke together. Now that would be a movie.

April 3, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National | Comment (1)
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

...reveals ... a supple and engaging actor with a sense of humor and a rare kind of self-recognition. Van Damme knows what we think of him and understands why.

March 31, 2009 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Van Damme has never done work like this before, and he's supported by the director's unique vision for the film

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

It's clever and unexpected, this confluence of dramatic fiction and real life that finds action star Jean-Claude Van Damme playing a version of himself in a heist movie

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

A real departure for Van Dame, but it ought to help his career. Who knew he could act?

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

[Van Damme] brings a kind of weary dignity to the role, and a surprising self-awareness...

March 6, 2009 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

It's as if he's trying to reach through the screen and show us the real guy behind the image he's spent a lifetime creating. I'm not sure if he's successful, but the attempt is fascinating.

February 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

His face has a Bogart-esque haggardness, and his speeches about his life and career have at least a semblance of painful sincerity. This spectacle isn't enough to keep the film from dragging, but it certainly has curiosity value.

February 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Sunday Times (UK)

It's fun, and moderately well handled by a young French director.

February 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

An existential-heist thriller with moments of dark comedy, JCVD is decidedly different and has its moments but you probably have to be a diehard fan to really cherish it.

February 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Will make you see the Muscles from Brussels in a new light.

January 30, 2009 Full Review Source: thelondonpaper

Audience Reviews for JCVD (Van Dammage)

Mr Van Damme finally makes the leap to a grown up film and some proper acting, the film itself is rather weak really, the plot is basic and its been done many times before, 'Killing Zoe' comes to mind. The acting is good but the characters are slightly cliched and the look is pretty thin on the ground.
The best thing is indeed Mr Van Damme who does really serve up a slice of true inner acting from the heart. It does come across as a kind of ego trip for Van Damme as he seems to want us to feel sorry for him, there is one moment where he does seem to crack in front of the camera which is a very strong moment but it does come across as wanting sympathy, hard when your a big movie star.

Still he does prove he can act seriously and could make better films, although he does sound better in French than English haha
The start of something more interesting than martial arts maybe.
October 23, 2011

Super Reviewer

The premise is fantastic: You have a former action star who didn't have a hit in years playing himself at rock bottom: law suit for custody, money problems, stalling career. While still being beloved in his home country of Belgium Van Damme gets in the middle of a bank robbery and one shouldn't give away more than that. The delivery of this insane idea is just as awesome, the great soundtrack, a fantastic opening sequence, non-chronological narrative perspective and very unusual camera work really make this work. To top it all Van Damme delivers what's easily the best performance of his career, really making you care for this man who has hit rock bottom. The highlight is a 5 minute monologue, that may or may not have been improvised, reflecting upon his career and life, when real life and fiction melt into each other. That's confusing, often funny, sometimes touching but extremely entertaining. Only the ending doesn't entirely hold up to the great promise, but that doesn't ruin the overall crazy experience this film offers.
September 29, 2011

Super Reviewer

"It's hard for me to judge people and it's hard for them... not to judge me. Easier to blame me. Yeah, something like that."

Those of you who actually read my reviews, have probably understood that I'm not a big fan of Jean Claude Van Damme. Until now...

I've seen lots of Van Damme films, most of his earlier works and some of his newest. I'll admit that 'Kickboxer', 'Bloodsport' and 'Cyborg' are somewhat special to me because I was into martial arts in my teens and early 20's (before I got beaten up REAL good in the ring = grade A concussion). Van Damme with his roundhouse kick and splits! You gotta like it!

But when I grew a brain and started to think of movies at a higher level, it came to me that Van Damme films actually suck. Just like all of the other B action stars like Lundgren and even Stallone. But this film' JCVD' changed everything.

In 'JCVD', Van Damme plays himself. Troubles with money, child custody etc. A vulnerable man, not a bulletproof action hero. I'll say this once... Jean Claude Van Damme, "The Muscles from Brussels" can act. I'm not getting that much into the story but later on in the movie, Van Damme has a couple of minutes long monologue that made me kinda misty, weepy or whatever you may call it...

The acting is, I still can't believe I'm saying this, top notch, especially the star of the film, Jean Claude Van Damme, gives a career best (and saving?) performance. The story is somewhat realistic and the director who was totally unknown to me, Mabrouk El Mechri, has done a fine job putting this film together. The camerawork is stellar with a bit too dark visual image. But all together, the production of the movie looks very good.

So, I'm glad that I saw this movie. I've skipped a lot of Van Damme movies in the past and for a reason, but 'JCVD' was a pleasure to watch. It gives us a sight on what kind of a person Van Damme really is. I just hope that he mamages to give us good movies in the future, instead of all these 'Second In Command' or 'Double Team' kind of crap flicks.

I'll recommend this movie to all fans or haters of Van Damme. A real surprise and come to think of it.. One of the better films of 2009.
April 1, 2010

Super Reviewer

A great film with an amazing opening long -take and an even more amazing central performance by JCVD himself. He was definately snubbed for an Oscar nom last year.
February 10, 2010

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • JCVD (DE)
  • JCVD (UK)
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