This year, vote for Jean-Claude Van Johnson (2016-) This year, vote for Jean-Claude Van Johnson (2016-)
The Muscles from Brussels are back! This year, vote for Jean-Claude Van Johnson (2016-)

Maybe you’ve seen TimeCop, which is like Looper starring Bruce Willis, but like a million times better.

A new crop of original TV-pilots has arrived on amazon prime and as a customer you can vote which one of those will be continued as a series.

When I saw that one of them had Jean-Claude Van Damme aka JCVD starring in the lead, with the mysterious title Jean-Claude Van Johnson, my interest was piqued, to say the least. As an old JCVD fan, there was no way I could miss this, no matter how crappy it would probably be.

But thankfully, it turned out to be quite good and even more important, pretty goddamn funny!

_THE1224.NEF

This is the premise, roughly:

Ageing action movie actor Jean-Claude Van Damme (the man playing himself) finally retired from his job -“really retired, not Nicolas Cage- retired”- trading straining film shoots for a hedonistic, but increasingly boring life behind the walls of his luxury villa, which is equipped with an endless supply of pop tarts and coconut water running through the water pipes.

One day he accidentally meets Vanessa (Kat Foster), a past movie set affair, at a restaurant and the old feelings flame up again, at least from Jean-Claude’s side. Vanessa is not to keen on reuniting with him, as he once abandoned her without warning, yet she tells him about a “job” in Bulgaria she was hired for.

JCVD pulls a few levers to get the lead role in said project, a braindead action film adaptation of Huckleberry Finn, called Huck. At this point it is revealed to the audience that JCVD movies have never been just movies, but the shoots served as a front for the actions of a secret agency, whose top agent Jean-Claude (code name: “Johnson”) has once been . Has been…

huck

The trailer gave off the vibe of a serialized version of Mabrouk El Mechri’s masterful JCVD (2008), but it’s a completely different beast. A soul striptease like the former would not have been good material to stretch out over a season anyway.

What we get instead is a humorous, over-the-top look at the DTV- action movie business and Van Damme’s career. Knowledge about the Muscles from Brussels’ filmography is not essential to enjoy the pilot, but definitely enhances the experience.

Van Damme again shows a great sense for self-deprecating humour and excellent comic timing. Some of the jokes are cleverly set up and result in a payoff later, like the introductory line about TimeCop and Looper which gets a deeper meaning in the third act. Others are more simplistic -like a hilarious sight gag referencing Hard Target– but are nonetheless pretty funny. Not sure if this concept holds up over several seasons, but there should be enough material for one or two.

I also appreciate that the running time of an episode clocks in at 30 minutes, the only acceptable maximum length for a comedy series. Speaking of, what was the last truly worthwhile entry in that genre?

If you think like me and want to support the career of the living movie legend that is JCVD and if you are longing for an escapist TV-comedy outside the usual boring family- and workplace settings, vote for Jean-Claude Van Johnson.

 

Author Image

DetectiveDee

Detective Dee reviews movies and sometimes TV-series. He likes to indulge in the Asian cinema, exploitation flicks and the horror genre but is no stranger to Blockbuster culture either. He writes whatever he wants, but always aims to entertain.

  • Slate_Fistcrunch

    I punched my ballot for this show. Hell all the Amazon pilots this time interested me.

  • Dee-abolik
  • Dee-abolik

    Have to see The Tick still.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Between this and JCVD, Van Damme seems to be carving out a peculiar late career in meta-fiction for himself. Didn’t he star in a short-lived reality show, as well? We know how scripted those things can be.

  • Dee-abolik

    He has to take that he doesn’t overuse the concept by now. I hope he gets some different projects too.

  • KilliK

    Vote where? where is the link?

  • Dee-abolik

    you have to be amazon prime customer

  • Toruk_Makto

    Gotta have the split!

  • CoolHandJuke

    Anyone else enjoying the Phileshea Rashadaisance?

  • Bop

    I saw the pilot. Definitely some fun stuff in it, but can they keep it up for a season is the question I have. I do hope it gets greenlit.

    As for JCVD. I just can’t dislike the guy at all. Probably one of my favorite persons in the movie business. I always wanted him to do a real comedy because I think he can do it. A good buddy cop movie for example.

  • Bop

    Yeah, he starred in an 8-episode reality tv show. It was kinda sad to see even if it was scripted.

  • Bop

    I wonder why they never teamed him up with Jackie Chan in some kind of comedy. Could have been really cool.

  • Dee-abolik

    daaamn, I was wondering where I knew her from!

  • Dee-abolik

    This is a really good question. I remember there had been plans for a buddy comedy in the 90s.

  • Bop

    You could team him up with all kinds of people. Van Damme and Stallone. Van Damme and Statham. Van Damme and Schwarzenegger, Van Damme and Paul Rudd, Van Damme and Chris Tucker, Van Damme and Rock.

  • Dee-abolik

    Well, he was in Expendables 2.

  • Bop

    Yeah, but that was not a buddy movie. And fuck Stallone for wrecking that end fight.

  • I_am_better

    I gotta look into this on the weekend. The trailers were really good

  • sheeple

    Huck….haha

  • I need to watch this soon. In the meantime, watch JCVD in action against the Walkers…!!