The movie theater I was in had ear jolting sound problems for the first five minutes of JCVD and at one point in the opening the screen went black. The theater lights were not dimmed until the credits started rolling. Considering all this, I was not neccessarily predisposed to like JCVD. During pretty much the entire movie, I thought it was either incredibly brilliant or ridiculosly stupid, but definitely nowhere between. I think the point in the movie that sold me was the soliloqy VanDamme delivered directed at the audience. This was a very post modern move. The fact that Jean Claude VanDamme plays himself was like Paul Auster’s narrator in City of Glass being named Paul Auster. This movie definitely fit the charateristics of a postmodernist work- it questioned commonly held assumptions and systems, and it was full of irony and self reference.
As a result of the meta-ness of the movie, parts moved slowly. In one case when we got to see part of the same event from two different points of view (the outside first, then the inside), the repeated parts were cumbersome. That did help to set up the sadly funny twist of everyone thinking JCVD was the culprit holding hostages at the post office. There was a lot of irony in the movie and the interactions between the one out of the three hostage takers who idolized VanDamme and the man himself were humorous in an absurd way.
As the credits started rolling (and the lights finally dimmed), I had the vague feeling that I really liked this movie and wanted to smile. But I wasn’t quite sure why.
For those who don’t know, and don’t feel like doing a google search, here is a brief promo synopsis:
When the life of Jean-Claude Van Damme collides with the reality of a hold-up in Brussels, Belgium, suddenly the huge movie star turns into an ordinary guy, filled with fears, contradictions and hopes. How can he be up to the legend he has built? What can a film hero do when the gun pointed to his temple isn’t charged with blanks? JCVD finds himself at the turning point of his “hero” life.