The world of action-packed Hollywood films has been graced by countless greats. Notably, during the era when Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were locking horns for supremacy in the genre, another martial artist was paving his way to stardom: Jean-Claude Van Damme. The Belgian icon, remembered for movies such as Bloodsport, Kickboxer, and Lionheart, has often been candid about his opinions, even if they seem a tad controversial.
The Van Damme Perspective
While Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stallone were dominating the box office with movies like The Terminator and Rocky, respectively, Jean-Claude Van Damme was crafting a unique image for himself. In a world where audiences were divided over the supremacy of Arnie vs. Sly, Van Damme declared his stance, albeit a surprising one.
His appreciation for actors resonated when he shared his admiration for the likes of Christopher Walken, Steve McQueen, and Paul Newman. The passion and drama in Rocky and Rambo, he felt, were what movies should be about. But in this mix of praises, there was a noticeable void. Jean-Claude’s statement once echoed through the halls of Hollywood, “Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t move me.” A rather bold statement, indicating a lack of emotional connection to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movies.
Where Arnold Schwarzenegger Stood in Van Damme’s World
For Van Damme, the world of action films wasn’t just about explosions, chase sequences, or one-liners. It was about depth, about characters with layers and stories that resonate. In a conversation where he lauded movies like The Godfather and The Deer Hunter, Van Damme expressed his sentiments about various actors. While he held reverence for many, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movies didn’t seem to strike the same chord with him. In a world obsessed with the Arnie-Sly rivalry, it’s intriguing how Jean-Claude favored Stallone over the Terminator star.
The Expendables Saga: Van Damme’s Unique Approach
The realm of Hollywood action films saw a massive ensemble cast come together with The Expendables. When Sylvester Stallone approached Jean-Claude Van Damme for the first movie in the series, an interesting conversation took place.
While most would jump at the opportunity, Van Damme had questions. He wanted to delve deeper, beyond the surface of money and stardom. He inquired about his character’s depth, wanting to understand the role he was to play. When met with vague answers about good fights and making lots of money, he opted out, emphasizing the significance of character depth over monetary gains.
However, the winds changed direction when Van Damme later joined The Expendables 2. The film, now available for rent on Apple TV+ in the U.S., garnered a decent reception with a 6.6/10 rating on IMDB and a 67% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Jean-Claude Van Damme’s journey in Hollywood has been as much about his roles as his perspectives. His audacity to prioritize character depth over commercial aspects, and his bold take on legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger, underlines his unique standing in the action film genre. While the world was divided over the Stallone-Arnold Schwarzenegger face-off, Van Damme carved a niche, reminding us all of the importance of personal choices in an industry driven by popular opinion.