The Expendables and the amusing Kung Fu Panda films are just a few of the many highlights of John-Claude Van Damme’s illustrious filmography.
This is Jean-Claude Van Damme’s first time on stage. The actor also took up ballet and professional bodybuilding in his early years, in addition to his martial arts training. It wasn’t long before 1982 that he decided to give up his career as a martial artist and relocate to the United States. It was here that he began his illustrious acting career.
In spite of a slow start in Hollywood, the actor gradually climbed to prominence and became one of Hollywood’s most prominent action stars. In spite of his advanced years, the Belgian star is still going strong, and his fan following is just growing larger. His films, though action-oriented, have a wide range of styles, subjects, and genres.
10. In Hell (6.2)
A law-abiding person, Kyle LeBlanc, decides to avenge the death of his wife in a regular jail battle-royale manner. A harsh Russian prison where violence is the norm forces him to struggle for his life while clinging onto his remaining sliver of humanity.
In Hell is a typical slam-bang action picture that isn’t any better or worse than any other typical slam-bang action flick. What sets it apart, though, is Van Damme’s portrayal of an ordinary man trapped in an unforgiving prison, rather than the usual leg-splitting, tree-snapping action hero.
9. Lionheart (6.2)
In Lionheart, Van Damme plays Lyon, a former French soldier who takes it upon himself to raise money for his brother’s family by participating in illegal street fights in order to do so. This picture, like many of his others, follows a linear underdog narrative but has a lot of heart.
In spite of the fact that it isn’t one of his best-known works, it manages to be both emotional and rooted in reality. Van Damme’s strong portrayal even in tearful sequences gives weight to the poignant melodrama. However, there are enough action scenes to thrill martial arts aficionados throughout the picture, despite the lack of the star’s signature style.
8. Hard Target (6.2)
Chance, a merchant seaman, helps a woman in her search for her missing father in Hard Target, which unfolds as a cat-and-mouse game. As he investigates the case further, he finds himself in the clutches of a serial murderer who is on a killing spree.
It’s possible that Hard Target isn’t a genre classic, and even its premise can be seen as a little predictable. With its fast-paced narrative, high-octane battle scenes, and gorgeous direction, it is still a hugely enjoyable action thriller.
7. Sinav (6.5)
Five students, fed up with their poor grades and fearing for their future, decide to steal their exam questions. Knowing well well that they will be closely monitored, they turn to seasoned thief Charles for assistance (Jean-Claude Van Damme). Because of their heist, they don’t comprehend that the negative effects will exceed the positive ones.
Van Damme’s role in Sinav is unforgettable, thanks to the actor’s fierce approach, despite the film’s short running length. Nonetheless, the picture is a wonderfully enjoyable comedy-drama that is kept together by its young ensemble.
6. Kickboxer (6.5)
What more can a Van Damme fan ask for than a revenge-fueled protagonist, uplifting training sequences, cheeky romance, and well-choreographed ground-and-pound action? Kickboxer takes viewers through the rite of passage of a young man learning Muay Thai in order to avenge the death of his sibling.
In light of the fact that it contains all the ingredients for a highly engaging martial arts film, it should be on everyone’s watch list.
5. The Expendables 2 (6.6)
Star-studded shoot-em-up Guns N’ Roses needs no introduction. This classic action film, directed by Simon West, has a who’s who of Hollywood’s biggest action performers. The Expendables aren’t very memorable from a narrative sense, but that doesn’t really matter because all of the films in the series deliver on their promise of over-the-top action.
This time around, Jean-Claude Van Damme joins the group, serving as the film’s main antagonist. Van Damme is ideally suited to the absurdity and color of the film.
4. Bloodsport (6.8)
In the world of martial arts movies, Bloodsport is considered a cult classic and one of the most influential. “Frank Dux” (Van Damme) participates in an underground competition against some of today’s most dangerous martial artists, much like other combat sports films.
The film’s action sequences are always exciting since new fighting styles are introduced in each arc and the stakes for the main character are gradually raised. This method, despite its formulaic nature, is effective and never leaves the viewer bored.
3. JCVD (7.1)
JCVD’s opening action sequence sets the tone for a Van Damme-centric action film. However, what follows defies viewers’ expectations, and the picture is better than most other action flicks.
That Van Damme provides such a strong performance here, despite the absence of the actor’s usual arsenal of action-packed gags, roundhouse kicks, car chases, and training sequences, is even more remarkable. In addition, the film’s quasi-documentary cinematography approach enhances the film’s interesting plot.
2. Kung Fu Panda 3 (7.1)
Celebrity voices for the Kung Fu Panda films include Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Angelina Jolie, and Jackie Chan just to name a few. Master Croc, a saltwater crocodile voiced by Jean-Claude Van Damme, is one of them.
Croc, like Jack Black’s Po, is a humble hero with a cool attitude who occasionally loses his cool when confronted with a threat.
Croc’s demeanor and Van Damme’s voice go together like peanut butter and jelly, but their fighting methods could not be more different.
1. Kung Fu Panda 2 (7.2)
The majestic and agile Panda, Po, returned to the big screen in 2011 for a whole new adventure following the worldwide success of the original Kung Fu Panda film. Even though Kung Fu Panda 2 avoids the typical sequel trap by expanding its storyline to enable stronger battle scenes and provide emphasis on Po’s personal evolution as a character, the film nevertheless falls short of the first.
It also sees the return of its stellar cast of voice actors, including Jack Black as Po, Angelina Jolie as Tigress, Jackie Chan as Monkey, Dustin Hoffman as Shifu, Seth Rogan as Mantis, and of course, Jean-Claude Van Damme as Master Croc, among many more.