(roughly translated by a co-worker)
"Sleepy? Refreshed! Black Black!"
Jean-Claude Van Damme
The Silver Bullet. In recent years, Van Damme's garnered more attention for commercials than he has for film roles. What's not to love? I'm sure a few days work nets him a hefty paycheck without having to travel for months on a shoot, nobody is asking him to do a press circuit after and there's a guaranteed audience. Going back to the 90's when Van Damme was at the peak of his box office prowess, overseas commercials saw him karate kicking for energy drinks, joking around for caffeinated gum, smoldering for Versace and charming on behalf of chocolate. In the 2000's JCVD was kicking fruit for Virgin Mobile, discussing his fondness for Mages in World of Warcraft and doing the splits on top of foam mattresses. In 2010, Van Damme was recruited by Australia's DVD Amnesty program that offered $5 cash back for unwanted DVD's in a bid to clean up the country's epidemic of stockpiled movies in a series of entertaining spots that showcased a fake serious Jean-Claude getting amped to rid the country of their old movie collections. A 2011 Gillette spot captures a faux irritated Van Damme recorded without his permission which ends poorly for the cameraman while DASH detergent showed off his funny side and comedic timing while dealing with a touchy feely fan.
Epic Split between two moving Volvo trucks set to Enya in a spot that has won awards and racked up 75 million views. Shortly before that it was a series of weirdfunny ads for GoDaddy that featured an out of nowhere Van Damme helping small business owners via playing the bongos, slicing flowers with a samurai sword and spiking his eyebrows. While Van Damme worked hard to build up his brand and persona, he unfortunately was never able to shed his 90's image of the muscle bound Frenchman showing his butt, kicking people in the face and performing the splits whenever deemed necessary; even if he has matured into the greatest actor from the action star era of the good ol' 80's and 90's. Without a signature role or franchise a la Arnold's Terminator and Conan, Stallone's Rocky or Rambo or Willis' Die Hard, viewers remember the moves if not the movies when it comes to the world's most famous living Belgian.