So I’ll put my hand up and admit I totally forgot about putting this top 10 together; a few months back I did a poll asking for your favourite Jean-Claude Van Damme pictures so today (finally) I have posted the results. Bare in mind these are voted for by fans so don’t complain to me if one of your favourites isn’t on the list.
10. Cyborg (1989)
SYNOPSIS: In a future beset by chaos and violence, mercenary Gibson Rickenbacker (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is charged with a mission that could change everything: protecting beautiful cyborg Pearl Prophet (Dayle Haddon). She holds the cure for a deadly disease that could destroy humanity, and must get it to scientists in Atlanta. But warlord Tremolo Fender (Vincent Klyn), fearing that his power will be undercut by peace, intends to make sure she never reaches her destination.
Surprised this got as many votes as it did as personally I would have had JCVD (2008) in this spot but I do enjoy Cyborg and watch it regularly.
9. Death Warrant (1990)
SYNOPSIS: A maverick detective goes undercover in a prison to find out why so many prisoners are dying there. He discovers it’s all part of a highly organised and lucrative trade in human organs, and once his cover is blown, it looks as though he is next for the chop.
One of the first Van Damme films I ever saw is also one of my favourites; Death Warrant has a stellar turn from Patrick Kilpatrick as the sinister Sandman and the final fight is awesome.
8. Sudden Death (1995)
SYNOPSIS: Ex-fireman Darren McCord (Jean-Claude Van Damme) has a new job working security at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena. Hoping to impress his kids, he’s scored tickets to the Stanley Cup Finals, unaware that the place has been taken over by a group of terrorists. Ex-CIA agent Joshua Foss (Powers Boothe) is holding the vice president hostage in a press box and plans to blow up the building if he doesn’t pay the ransom. But, when Darren learns of his scheme, he jumps into action to save the day.
I absolutely adore this film and I would have it higher on the list as it’s one of van Damme’s finest and one of the best Die Hard clones. Powers Boothe steals every scene and the final 20 minutes are action nirvana.
7. Timecop (1994)
SYNOPSIS: When mankind perfects time travel, the government establishes the Time Enforcement Commission to thwart criminal attempts to alter the timeline. Police officer Walker (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is recruited by TEC Cmdr. Matuzak (Bruce McGill), but soon finds his investigation of Senator Aaron McComb (Ron Silver) being thwarted by elements within the government. When Walker’s wife, Melissa (Mia Sara), is attacked, he must travel across time to rescue her and save the future.
This was Jean-Claude van Damme at the absolute height of his box office powers and remains a bit of a classic… despite his bizarre hair.
6. Double Impact (1991)
SYNOPSIS: Nearly 25 years after seeing his father killed by Hong Kong crime boss Raymond Zhang (Philip Chan Yan Kin), Chad Wagner (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is living in Los Angeles as a flourishing yet peaceful martial arts trainer. But Chad has a twin brother, Alex (also Van Damme), who suddenly reunites with his less-aggressive sibling and wants to avenge their father’s death. As the pair plan their payback against Zhang, they also struggle to overcome their personal differences.
I always wanted a sequel to this as I loved Chad and Alex as characters; perhaps a sequel now could still work with modern technology…
5. Lionheart (1990)
SYNOPSIS: Léon Gaultier (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a soldier in the French Foreign Legion, serving abroad in East Africa. But after his brother is cruelly murdered, Gaultier deserts his assignment and travels to the United States to help his widowed sister-in-law (Lisa Pelikan), who is now struggling to care for her children. But the job market is tough, so Gaultier takes his hand-to-hand combat skills into the brutal world of bare-knuckle fighting, where the paydays are nearly as big as the risks.
Widely considered Van Damme’s answer to Rocky, Lionheart (or A.W.O.L. as it was known to me growing up in the UK) is a classic fight film and I especially love the score which to this day I listen to in the gym.
4. Universal Soldier (1992)
SYNOPSIS: During the Vietnam War, soldier Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) finds that his superior officer, Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren), has turned violently deranged, and the two fight to the death. After their bodies are retrieved, they are placed into a secret program in which they are reanimated and trained to become unquestioning killing machines. While Devereaux and Scott initially have no memory of their former lives, glimpses of their pasts start to return, rekindling their intense conflict.
This was the first time JCVD would face off against Dolph Lundgren (and may well still be the best) and the final fight scene remains my favourite for either actor. “You’re discharged… Sarge!”. Classic! This was also the first Van Damme film I got to see on the big screen.
3. Hard Target (1993)
SYNOPSIS: Chance Boudreaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a sailor skilled in martial arts, is employed to guard Natasha Binder (Yancy Butler) as she tracks down her father, an itinerant Vietnam veteran living in New Orleans named Douglas (Chuck Pfarrer). They soon uncover a sinister group of wealthy men who hunt the homeless for sport, paying them $10,000 if they can survive a crosstown journey. When Chance discovers that Natasha’s father was one of their victims, he decides to destroy the evil hunters.
I’ll be honest this is probably my number 1; I saw Hard Target 3 times in the theatre with my dad and brother when it first came out then with a group of buddies in Toronto a couple of years ago; it’s still a damn fine action movie with JCVD and John Woo making for an entertaining duo.
2. Kickboxer (1989)
SYNOPSIS: Eric Sloane (Dennis Alexio) is an American kickboxing pro, helped by his brother, Kurt (Jean-Claude Van Damme), in his quest for glory. But when the two go to Thailand to take on legendary Tong Po (Michel Qissi), the opponent viciously beats Eric and leaves him paralyzed. Swearing vengeance, Kurt tracks down master Xian Chow (Dennis Chan) and begins learning the sport himself while also getting caught up in criminal intrigue involving thuggish crime boss Freddy Li (Ka Ting Lee).
Oh how I hated Tong Po growing up; I think even moreso than Chong Li from Bloodsport but out of all Van Damme’s adversaries he was one of my faves as watching him get his ass kicked at the end was thoroughly satisfying.
1. Bloodsport (1988)
SYNOPSIS: U.S. soldier Frank Dux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) has come to Hong Kong to be accepted into the Kumite, a highly secret and extremely violent martial-arts competition. While trying to gain access into the underground world of clandestine fighters, he also has to avoid military officers who consider him to be AWOL. After enduring a difficult training and beginning a romance with journalist Janice Kent (Leah Ayres), Frank is given the opportunity to fight. But can he survive?
No surprises that this is number 1 really as Bloodsport is the movie that put Jean-Claude Van Damme on the map and made him the next action hero. I always wanted a sequel with him and Daniel Bernhardt; it was talked about for a while but sadly never came to anything.
So there you have it; the definitive 10 Best Jean-Claude Van Damme pictures as voted for by you. I think it’s interesting how it is all from movies before the 2000’s proving the 90’s were prime Van Dammage.