JCVD: Master of the Splits
Since the beginning of mankind, there have been some tasks that are near impossible to do while still looking badass. Flossing, drinking from a straw, folding laundry, and until somewhat recently, you could have added doing the splits to that list. But that mold was broken in the long ago time of 1986 when the future legend Jean Claude Van Damme stretched his hamstrings in preparation for his very first scene doing the splits. Most men would have been nervous but confidence has never been an issue for the man nicknamed the “Muscles from Brussels”.
The Soviet Split Machine
Van Damme entered the world of action movies with a bang as Ivan Kraschinsky in the 1986 film No Retreat, No Surrender. You won’t find this film on many ‘Best of’ lists for JCVD but it’s important to see Van Damme’s emergence as a villain before his star making performance as Frank Dux two years later.
Blood, Sweat, and the Splits
Bloodsport has so many great scenes of Van Damme doing the splits that it’s hard to pick just one. If you put a gun to my head I would pick this above scene where Frank Dux turns this Chinese dudes scrotum into something resembling bologna. I consider Bloodsport to be the greatest of all the Jean Claude films and easily the greatest exhibition of ‘ways to do the splits’ that I’ve ever seen.
Cutting the Rug or Splitting the Rug
It’s ok to admit that this gif has you absolutely mesmerized. Why Van Damme hasn’t been on Dancing With The Stars yet is beyond me. The 1989 film Kickboxer allowed Jean Claude to share the screen with his buddy Michel Qissi but it also allowed him to get smashed, beat up a bunch of skinny Asian guys, and grind his junk all over these chicks. There are enough roundhouse kicks to the head in this movie that you’ll probably get CTE from watching it, but it’s better to have loved Kickboxer and died, than to never have loved at all.
Don’t Look Up
Overshadowed by the insanely awesome Kickboxer, Van Damme also made this futuristic post apocalyptic flick called Cyborg. JCVD may never forget this scene as it led to a lawsuit after this dude got blinded by just how amazing Van Damme’s splits were. Most of Cyborg takes place in the pouring rain so it’s no surprise that the man had something slip out of his hand while on set. I recreated this scene in my hallway as an 8 year old so often that my footprints are still all over the walls.
Van Damme’s USO Tour
Whether Jean Claude is training for a big fight or just cruising the open ocean while attempting to recover a crashed US Air Force plane, he takes the time to limber up and never misses an opportunity to break out the splits. Most guys who do the splits would probably comment that there “isn’t enough room on this damn boat”, but if you watch Black Eagle you’ll see that every obstruction is actually just a new and unique way to pull out the splits.
Better Than Hot Yoga
In 1991, any character played by Jean Claude was laying waste to every hot chick on screen. It was probably the case off screen as well but you can’t watch a Van Damme movie back then and not notice that every woman in the film is staring longingly at his pelvic region. It’s no surprise that when JCVD played twin brothers in Double Impact, not only did they both lust after the same woman, but she and all these fitness broads were splooshing in their panties whenever Van Damme did the splits.
The Real Hell’s Kitchen
By 1994 Van Damme had made the switch to boxers, traveled through time, and grown a head of hair that would make Rod Stewart cry his eyes out. Timecop showed us just how dangerous it would be if people could travel throughout time and do anything they pleased. Now I can’t say that I would have been doing the same as those villains (I would probably pay a visit to Helen of Troy and Marilyn Monroe first) but the sight of JCVD chasing you would make any brave man have second thoughts.
The Return of The Man
We’ve never lost Jean Claude ‘The Action Star’. Unlike many other action stars, Van Damme has continued to make action movies all these years and has made several damned good ones in recent years. But, we’ve gained something that I never thought would happen; Jean Claude ‘The Commercial Star’. For a year or two, it was hard to turn on the TV or go to YouTube without seeing a new commercial featuring the musclebound badass. While JCVD will never lose his edge as one of the top action guys of all time, he has quickly become a darling for the commercial industry. And with a set of splits like that, I can’t blame them one bit.