Friday, November 21, 2008

Who Knew You Could Use "Brechtian" and Jean Claude Van Damme in the Same Sentence?

Well, now you can. Being on foot while working has meant that I have walked by theaters and have had some impulse viewings of films I've mentioned here already in an attempt to actually follow through on things I had hinted were interesting. That has meant seeing the previous posts' Repo! The Genetic Opera and the meta-action Jean Claude Van Damme movie, JVCD.

Having already discussed the premise in my earlier post, the movie lived up to its billing. We are treated to a down on his luck, misunderstood Van Damme. If the character of himself is to be believed, even he doesn't like his movies.

The movie is heavily desaturated with the light blown out. The Brecht comes in the form of a monologue delivered among the hanging lights above the set where Van Damme gives a 30% justification 70% apology for who he has been and the movies he has made (or if you're cynical, 25% justification, 35% apology, and 40% audition for serious roles that don't involve kicking anyone.)

This isn't a clumsily done attempt to rebrand an actor, even if it is clearly an attempt to rebrand an actor. Audience information is carefully controlled to create conclusions that the film later questions and the film does not even allow him the minor victory that is crafted at the end that would frankly have diminished the rest of the film. As a critique of media and cult of personality it falls short of many better attempts, but overall pretty interesting.

My only real complaint is that if you're going to blow out all the light in the film, color the subtitles so they don't get lost.

He also all but calls out Steven Segal to make the same move. Now that's something I'd like to see. But then, I am from the generation of appreciating things ironically.

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