Posted on Monday, September 19th, 2016 by Fred Topel
Amazon’s pilot for Jean-Claude Van Johnson not only seems like Jean-Claude Van Damme’s guaranteed comeback, but it is a love letter to JCVD’s loyal fans for decades. With references to his splits, his movies from Bloodsport to Timecop and even a twin, Jean-Claude Van Johnson leaves fans wanting more. It will be up to the fans whether or not Amazon orders a full series, as they can vote on Amazon’s pilot season.
Van Johnson stars Van Damme as himself, a retired actor who comes back not only to Hollywood but to his true job as an undercover agent. Thanks to his agent Jane (Phylicia Rashad), Van Damme takes a role on the action-packed Huckleberry Finn reboot Huck as a cover for his latest mission. We spoke with the pilot’s director and potential series executive producer Peter Atencio about where Jean-Claude Van Johnson could go and how he made the ultimate Van Damme movie in the pilot. Hit the jump to read our interview with Interview: Jean-Claude Van Johnson director Peter Atencio.
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Posted on Thursday, September 1st, 2016 by Angie Han
This weekend’s Kickboxer: Vengeance reboots the martial arts franchise that began in 1989, with Alain Moussi replacing Jean-Claude Van Damme as the new Kurt Sloane and Van Damme himself stepping into the role of Kurt’s mentor Durand. The film is meant to kickstart a new trilogy, and the producers are wasting no time. A sequel, Kickboxer: Retaliation, has already wrapped shooting, and now they’re barreling ahead with plans for another sequel. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, September 1st, 2016 by Fred Topel
Jean-Claude Van Damme’s franchises had a rough go back in the day. Both Bloodsport and Kickboxer continued with straight-to-video sequels that not only did not star Van Damme, but featured completely new characters. Yet reigniting Universal Soldier decades later on video signaled a return to form for Van Damme and delivered that franchise’s two best entries. So rebooting Kickboxer, primarily for VOD and limited theatrical release, is a smart proposition. It elevates the franchise from it’s Van Damme-less phase and exemplifies the kind of fighting that today’s martial artists can do. Read More »
This weekend brings Amazon’s new pilots to their website for viewers to vote which ones get turned into full fledged series. If there’s any good in this universe, everyone will support the new pilot for Jean-Claude Van Johnson. You might remember we broke the exclusive on the series at Amazon following a contractor named Jean-Claude Van Johnson who lives a cover life under the guise of washed up action star Jean-Claude Van Damme. Now the Jean Claude Van Johnson trailer has arrived to convince you to watch the show, and it’s simultaneously hilarious and depressing. Read More »
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Amazon’s sessions for the Television Critics Association were filled with tidbits on their upcoming projects throughout the day. In his opening remarks on Sunday, Amazon’s Head of Half Hour Joe Lewis discussed the Amazon series Woody Allen has written and directed starring Miley Cyrus. “We have Woody Allen’s highly anticipated new series which is titled Crisis in Six Scenes,” Lewis said.
However, Head of Amazon Studios Roy Price explained that the title is not literal. It will not be a single half hour scene each episode. “No, actually,” Price said. “It’s like six episodes, continuous story comedy.”
Allen wrote and directed all six episodes. Price would like to have a second season, but it will depend entirely on Allen’s availability and interest. “That’s something we have to figure out with Woody,” Price said. “We’ll see how he feels and [what he] wants to do. He’s busy because he does a movie a year, so it’s hard. Normally he shoots a movie in the summer. Then he got this in right before it. I don’t know that he’ll always be able to do this schedule that way, because he also has to write too. I would do it.”
Continue reading below for the latest on Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Jean-Claude Van Johnson and Whit Stillman’s The Cosmopolitans. Read More »
In the later phase of his career, Jean-Claude Van Damme doesn’t really seem to care much anymore. He had a bit of a resurgence after making fun of himself in JCVD and he might get a chance to do that again with an Amazon series that would have the actor playing an exaggerated version of himself as an undercover spy posing as a washed up action star. But now he’s just doing all the bad things that older action stars do, by returning to their once successful franchise in a role that passes the torch to a younger star.
Kickboxer: Vengeance sees Jean-Claude Van Damme playing mentor to a man named Kurt Sloane (Alain Moussi) looking to get revenge on the fighter (Dave Bautista) who killed his brother in an underground kickboxing ring. That’s the same plot as the original movie, and you know exactly how it’s going to play out. But if you need confirmation, watch the Kickboxer Vengeance trailer after the jump. Read More »
You may remember back in March we highlighted the teaser trailer for Kickboxer: Vengeance, yet another installment in the franchise that starred Jean-Claude Van Damme. The original Kickboxer from 1989 followed JCVD as a fighter named Kurt Sloane who must learn the kickboxing art of Muay Thai in order to avenge the death of his brother. Kickboxer: Vengeance was taking that story and updating it for contemporary audiences with Alain Moussi playing the Kurt Sloane character and Jean-Claude Van Damme playing his mentor. It’s basically a reboot of the original, and now it appears it will also be the beginning of a new franchise.
Earlier this week, Jean-Claude Van Damme took to his Facebook page to sign the contract for Kickboxer: Retaliation, a sequel that will follow Vengeance. JCVD will return as the mentor to Alain Moussi as he’s taken forcibly back to Thailand to fend for his life against a new formidable foe. Find out more about the Kickboxer sequel below. Read More »
Shortly after running our last piece, How Did This Get Made: A Conversation with Frank Dux, the Real-Life Inspiration for Bloodsport, I was put in touch with Sheldon Lettich. This was significant not only because he wrote the screenplay for Bloodsport, but also because Dux had said some unflattering things about the writer.
So when I finally connected with Lettich, I worried that there might be some not-so-flattering words headed my way. But to my pleasant surprise, Lettich was a complete gentleman. And when I told about him the purpose of this How Did This Get Made series—to investigate how movies got made, and the careers of those involved—he was happy to clear up any misconceptions and provide additional insights into the making of Bloodsport, his two decades of collaboration with Jean-Claude Van Damme and what it takes to write a badass, blow-em-up action film.
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Unlike so many of the testosterone-fueled films of the ’80s, Bloodsport holds the rare distinction of being based on a true story. It’s the amazing tale of Frank Dux, a Caucasian martial artist who fought in (and won) a ruthless secret tournament that’s held only once every five years. It’s a tale so amazing that two months after the film’s release, it was dismissed by the L.A. Times as nothing but a fabricated “macho fantasy.” And that piece, filled with accusations and allegations, continues even to this day cast doubt upon the reputation of Frank Dux.
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It’s been over a year since we heard about the return of the Kickboxer franchise that would bring back Jean-Cladue Van Damme as the mentor to a new fighter who heads to Thailand to avenge the death of his brother. But now we have word that RLJ Entertainment has picked up Kickboxer: Vengeance for release in theaters and on VOD sometime later this year. Along with the news comes the first teaser trailer for the movie, which looks Van Damme’s own attempt at making the Kickboxer version of Creed, but more than likely not as good. Read More »