The Essentials: JCVD Villains
I have made the point before but I’m going to do it again… without a quality villain, your hero means nothing.
And over the years, Jean-Claude Van Damme has had some top notch foes to defeat on his way to the inevitable action movie happy ending.
In this edition of The Essentials, I analyze JCVD’s greatest villains…
1. Chong Li in Bloodsport – If Bloodsport was the movie that made Van Damme a star, then Bolo Yeung helped make Van Damme that star. Chong Li (Yeung) was the long standing Kumite champion, he also hospitalized Frank’s friend Jackson (Donald Gibb). Dux would meet Li in the finals of the Kumite and become the first American to win the Kumite in history. That was a big win for Dux and huge win for Van Damme who got the rub from one of the most recognizable actors in Martial Arts movie history, Bolo Yeung.
2. Andrew Scott in Universal Soldier – Who is the best foe for a super soldier? A rogue super soldier of course. I loved Dolph Lundgren’s work in this one. He was a great foe for Stallone and a great foe for Van Damme. And I’ll never forget the ear necklace.
3. Tong Po in Kickboxer – The chacter Tong Po was brought to life by real life Van Damme friend, Michel Qissi, but the character Tong Po was far from a friend to Van Damme’s character Kurt Sloan. Tong Po crippled Kurt’s brother Eric and raped Eric’s lady Mylee and despite being an accomplished fighter, used dirty tricks to gain the advantage on Kurt Sloan.
4. The Sandman in Death Warrant – The Sandman’s look and almost super natural aura made him a dangerous enemy to JCVD’s Louis Burke. Character actor extraordinaire, Patrick Kilpatrick is downright eerie as Christian “The Sandman” Naylor.
5. Senator McComb in Timecop – Played expertly by Ron Silver, Senator McComb was not a physically imposing villain insted he was a more Lex Luthoresque villain, using his power and technology to his advantage. It makes it all the sweeter when McComb, who thinks his brain will beat Max Walker’s (Van Damme) brawn that it is actually Walker who outsmarts the man who hoped to be President.
6. Attila in Lionheart – One could make an argument that the manipulative Cynthia is the biggest villain in Lionheart. She uses and abuses Lyon (Van Damme) and builds him up as a top fighter, while keeping him in the dark about just how much of a bad ass Attila (Abdul Qissi) really is. And make no mistake about it, Attila is a bad ass, from his imposing physical appearance, to the side burns to his cat that comes straight out of the James Bond Villain playbook. Attila isn’t in the movie long, but he makes an impact. The slow clap from the crowd that helps an injured Lyon overcome the hoss known as Attila always gets to me.
7. Joshua Foss in Sudden Death – Possibly the most underrated villain in JCVD movie history, Powers Boothe does a magnificent job with the character Joshua Foss. Foss has a master plan to make a lot of cash and fast by taking the Vice President of the United States hostage. A true evil genius.
8. Fender Tremolo in Cyborg – The look of a bad guy can often make or break him. And Fender has a distinct and unique look. It’s all about the eyes. He’s also got a god complex and a band of misfit followers who feed that complex.
9. Emil Fouchon in Hard Target – When Lance Henriksen is good, he’s good. But when he’s bad, he’s better. Henriksen plays Emil Fouchon in Hard Target, a man who organizes hunting expeditions, where military vets are the hunted ones. At one point in the movie, Fouchon is on fire and it barely phases him, he just goes about his business, no stop dropping and rolling for him. Plus how bad do you have to be to have The Mummy/Zartan (Arnold Voosloo) as your right hand man?
10. Karp in The Shepherd – This one makes the list solely for the whole “dream match” aspect. You have a fight between Jean-Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins! As Good Ol’ JR would say… I’m all in!