Tuesday, February 23, 2010
One of the pleasures of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies is that, because the short, wiry Van Damme looks tougher without a gun than with one, he's the only action star to consistently run out of ammunition. While the screenwriters of most action movies have to come up with ways to keep their stars supplied with an infinite amount of ammo, scripting a Van Damme picture means coming up with a scenario in which he wouldn't be able to use a gun. That's easy enough for the movies where he plays kickboxers and martial artists, but when he's cast as a policeman or a soldier (which became more common in the mid-1990s and is now de rigueur for a Van Damme movie), it means that a gun has to be kicked out of his hand or he has to be a lousy shot or that there have to be so many enemies that one clip just isn't enough. To make Van Damme's toughness plausible, increasingly implausible situations must be invented.