J.C.V.D.

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J.C.V.D.

Postby Mosquito on 24 Aug 2008, 23:56

I have just watched J.C.V.D., the new movie with Jean Claude Van Damme, at a film festival, French with English subtitles.

I was blown away.

Until now I had watched some of this movies, mostly when I was bored and zapped into one on TV. Never been a fan, always thought that he was a) exaggerating and b) not sympathetic, judging from the news I had read about him over the decades. But if he goes on like this I'll make sure that I'll never miss another movie. If this had not been a public place he even would have made me cry. Wow.

I don't want to give away anything about the story. Just go and watch it, it is awesome.
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Postby manudenis2005 on 29 Aug 2008, 08:51

Great to hear that.God knows when I'll see this one.
It's not on DVD yet and here in Romania doesn't look it will be on the big screen so far.
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Postby Mosquito on 02 Sep 2008, 23:13

Here's a site with trailer, clips and an extensive making-of (all in French):
http://www.commeaucinema.com/bandes-annonces=88898-video-11954.html

It is safe to watch the trailer and the clips but I guess the making-of gives away too much of the story. You shouldn't watch that if you want to keep the surprise.
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Postby Tom on 09 Dec 2008, 19:11

My review:
(Possible spoilers)
Cinema rarely punches you in the face with originality these days. Be it re-makes or sequels, or the same films with different titles, it’s often stagnated, boring and uninspiring, bar the exceptional re-inventions of genres, such as The Dark Knight. However one of the most unique and dumbfounding films of the year, stars, shockingly, the Muscles from Brussels, Jean Claude Van Damme! As a long time fan of JC’s high kicking shenanigans, I’ve embraced the joy of some switch off the brain, simple carnage. A 360 spinning kick here, a roundhouse there. All good fun, but in truth, with all the depth of a toddlers paddling pool. I like Jean Claude, he’s always had expressive eyes, and a kind of hidden promise of a proper actor behind the biceps. He’s improved over the years, and in recent years has elevated a few of his straight to video flicks (Wake Of Death and Until Death in particular). Of course these roles weren’t exactly brimming with depth, and if anything you get the sense Van Damme moulded the characters far beyond what no doubt was very minimal in the screenplay. Again, these were roles that could only go so far, only offer so much diversity and dimension. In JCVD however, Jean Claude breaks out of the constraints of DTV action spec, in his most challenging role…himself.

This is JC, as himself. A somewhat exaggerated version of himself, that on paper borrows well publicised events from JC’s life, has fun with some aspects, but with a real sense of integrity. This isn’t strictly auto-biographical, but JC gives such a heartfelt performance. Not only does he create a great movie character but also pours his heart out on screen. The story sees JC at his lowest ebb. He’s losing custody of his daughter, struggling for money, suffering from a crisis of identity, and worst of all losing parts for films he doesn’t really want to do, but needs the money, to Steven Seagal! A simple trip to the post office, results in Jean Claude being caught up in a robbery, one which he gets blamed for. Hostages expect him to save the day like his movie persona, but in reality JC has the same fears as anyone else, and simply wants to get out alive.

Van Damme’s performance, is astonishing. He jumps off the screen and finally manages to be unhindered in what is his first fully formed character. Be it his emotiveness, comedic timing, or poignant delivery of the already famous, and utterly sensational monologue, Van Damme is just right on the money. He doesn’t put a foot wrong. Added to this, JC is well supported by a very good cast. This is probably the best cast Van Damme has had to work with. Just good actors, who play off the main man well, and lend him fine support.

Director Mabrouck El Mechri is also a revelation! What a way to announce yourself to the film world. Far and away this is the best direction of any Jean Claude movie. Inventive, coherent, visually arresting, Mechri knows what he wants, knows what he’s doing, and delivers. From the magnificent opening long take of Van Damme getting down to the business of making an action film, to the monologue, and everything in between and there-after, Mechri has a sure hand, loaded with imagination and style, without going overboard. He’s well aided by a Bastard! That’s the unfortunately named Pierre-Yves Bastard, the cinematographer. Elsewhere, the sound design is superb, the film is well edited, and the soundtrack, and score are excellent. In pretty much every department, this is the best I’ve seen throughout Van Damme’s career. It’s a cracking film, with clever touches, a witty script, top performances, and brilliant on a technical level. Mechri’s obvious admiration for Scorsese, Lumet, Tarantino, amongst others, is clear, but all wrapped up in something very auteur and personal. The film doesn’t play out chronologically, but the structure makes sense. Every time there’s a time shift, it has a logic to it. It’s very well constructed.

Overall, JCVD is an immensely satisfying and entertaining film. Funny, charming, poignant, and for Jean Claude, something very special. He could have a very good career re-birth as a character actor. I really hope he doesn’t waste himself in action movies again. As far as the action stars go, this is probably the best performance of anyone since Stallone in Rocky, or Willis in Pulp Fiction. The script by Mechri, Benudis, and Turpin, has allowed an unbiased outside viewpoint to shape the character, while Van Damme’s own experience and acting ability, add the extra layers to the fascinating construct. Sensibly Mechri doesn’t allow the film to focus too much on the Dog Day Afternoon scenario. It’s all about Van Damme, and what a character! *****
Last edited by Tom on 10 Dec 2008, 00:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jox on 09 Dec 2008, 19:19

It's always a treat to read your reviews Tom, this one made me realize how much I miss them (last one I read was most likely MM, almost a year ago)!
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Postby Tom on 09 Dec 2008, 19:34

Jox wrote:It's always a treat to read your reviews Tom, this one made me realize how much I miss them (last one I read was most likely MM, almost a year ago)!


Thanks man! To be honest I've been slacking on them for a year or so, so it doesn't surprise me MM was the last. It's a given for Dolphies ones, but JCVD just inspired me to write on it. I hope Van Damme gets a few awards for it. I feel sorry for him being stuck in U-3, cause it's gonna suck.
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Postby Mosquito on 09 Dec 2008, 22:08

It's a brilliant review but I think you should put up a spoiler warning. There are some twists to the story that shouldn't be revealed.
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Postby Tom on 09 Dec 2008, 23:59

Done. Just for you Mosquito! :wink:
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Postby Mosquito on 10 Dec 2008, 22:29

Tom wrote:Done. Just for you Mosquito! :wink:


*bows*
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Postby Jox on 19 Jan 2009, 17:01

Region 2 UK DVD coming on February 2nd
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Re: J.C.V.D.

Postby Craigie-Boy on 22 Jan 2009, 02:24

According to play.com, it looks as though the R2 DVD of JCVD will be a 2-disc affair. This should be interesting! A 2-disc Van Damme DVD... I honestly never thought I'd ever see such a thing!
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Re: J.C.V.D.

Postby Jox on 22 Jan 2009, 11:55

One of the extra features, "A day in the life of JCVD" i Think it's called, is a great documentary that was aired on French TV, very genuine, no PR.
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Re: J.C.V.D.

Postby The Robin on 22 Jan 2009, 13:18

Holy crap! Is that going to be on the R2 as well???

Question, are there ANY DVD players that are like, playable for all regions/specs? If so, how much are they!?
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Re: J.C.V.D.

Postby leigh1975 on 22 Jan 2009, 14:02

It's touch and go, the best thing to do is find the brand and model number of the one you want to buy, and then type in "multi region DVD hack" in your search engine, and see if that machine has a hidden hack code.
Before you do that, you might have to see about supporting PAL in the NTSC territories, I'm not so hot on that stuff.
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Re: J.C.V.D.

Postby Mosquito on 23 Jan 2009, 01:23

Robin, the cheapo no-name players are often the ones that come without region restriction or are very easy to crack. We just got a new one that we're pretty happy with from Silver Crest.
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