Many people probably think of Jean-Claude Van Damme as Belgium’s claim to fame in the martial arts action film genre, a man capable of wince-inducing splits, powerful high kicks, and even more powerful fight faces. But he’s also a man. An aging man who saunters around his luxury home in a silk bathroom to the somber tones of Jacques Brel’s “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” microwaves Pop-Tarts for breakfast, and stares forlornly into the middle distance while indexing a headful of regrets. That is the Jean-Claude Van Damme we get in the trailer for the Amazon pilot episode of Jean-Claude Van Johnson.
Rest assured, though, that it won’t be all moping and Segwaying. In this action-comedy—scripted by Dave Callaham (The Expendables) and directed by Peter Atencio (Keanu)—the 55-year-old martial arts expert plays a version of himself who also happens to have a second secret career as a black ops private contractor (who goes by the name Jean-Claude Van Johnson). This introductory episode should see Johnson called back into action, with likely mixed results.
Hopefully, the existence of this series will also give the criminally under-regarded Hard Target (John Woo’s first U.S. film) the chance at a second life.
One can only dream. If nothing else, its star can be seen (de-mulleted) in Jean-Claude Van Johnson on Amazon Video starting today.