I don’t know if it technically counts as irony, but it certainly is fascinating that Jean-Claude Van Damme, a man who spent the majority of his career smothering his Belgian heritage beneath a cavalcade of inexplicably American-named characters like Kurt Sloane, Louis Burke, and Max Walker, would actually find his true calling playing characters that are just the tiniest bit removed from literally being Jean-Claude Van Damme himself.
Seriously, Van-Damme should have earned at least an Oscar nomination for his near-biographical portrayal of a down-and-out action star caught up in a bank robbery in 2008’s JCVD (the final monologue of which remains his finest piece of work to date), and now it looks like he’ll be turning in another incredibly watchable performance in the upcoming Amazon series Jean-Claude Van Johnson.
Starring “The Muscles From Brussels” as a contract killer with a movie star cover, Jean-Claude Van Johnson will be debuting tomorrow on Amazon as part of a unique series of pilots in which Amazon Prime subscribers can vote on to keep around. Deadline has a few more details on what we can expect from the story:
Operating under the alias “Johnson”, Van Damme was once the most dangerous private contractor in the world. Now retired, he’s brought back into the game after a chance encounter with a lost love. Now he’s deadlier than ever. Maybe.
According to the trailer, the life of a hitman involves a lot more Segway-ing and microwaving Pop Tarts (the mark of a true sociopath, if you ask me) than one would typically imagine. With writer Dave Callaham (Expendables, 2014’s Godzilla) in its corner and Key & Peele director Peter Atencio at the helm, I think it would be safe to declare that Van Johnson should be able to find the balance between ludicrously over-the-top violence and introspective comedy that has made latter day Van Damme such a thrill to watch on screen. Regardless, the world simply needs more JCVD in it, so make sure to check out/vote for Jean Claude Van Johnson when it drops on Amazon on August 19th.