Welcome to the Jungle isn’t the train-wreck it could have been and is genuinely hilarious in places with a stellar turn from JCVD.
Plot: A company retreat on a tropical island goes terribly awry after they end up stranded for real.
Review: The history of action heroes trying comedy has been rather hit and miss, so when I first heard that JCVD was starring in a comedy, I groaned. Then I saw some trailers and thought Welcome to the Jungle looked pretty entertaining… so, is it?
Actually it’s not bad; as expected Jean-Claude Van Damme steals every scene he is in and he eats up the screen as soon as he swaggers on. From his opening slideshow of “Negotiation” (Kicking someone in the face) to “Leadership” (Brandishing a knife), his character is larger than life. Sadly, when he’s not on screen, it’s not quite as good.
That’s not to say there aren’t other laughs; there were a few moments I found genuinely hilarious. Phil (Rob Huebel) making himself “God of the island” and calling himself Orco, cracked me up. Adam Brody says something along the lines of “you mean the little floaty wizard guy from He-Man”?
I find Adam Brody very likable but he only can play nerdy guy types and is always a bit one note. He has some decent enough lines in the movie though and has a surprisingly good battle with Phil at the end.
Van Damme’s prolonged scream during a climactic scene is pretty funny and is a nice nod to his Bloodsport days when he would say “Yaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh” a lot.
A lot of rest of the humour was pretty low-brow and although some of it was funny, it did lose me at some points.
The acting in general was fine although Eric Edelstein was essentially playing the Seth Rogan part (Stoner).
Jean-Claude also isn’t in the entire movie, he disappears for about half an hour and spends the last half in a wheel barrow… don’t ask.
It’s a surprisingly surreal film in places and even has a drug induced orgy scene… so, this isn’t exactly family comedy stuff.
Overall, Welcome to the Jungle isn’t the train-wreck it could have been and is genuinely hilarious in places with a stellar turn from JCVD.