Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Netflix action comedy The Last Mercenary pokes fun at his first fame in action films, including elements from his’ 90s films.
Jean-Claude Van Damme’s new Netflix action comedy The last mercenary pokes fun at some elements of his fame at the start of the action movie. Van Damme’s career really took off in the late ’80s and early’ 90s with films like Blood sport, Kickboxer, Cyborg, and Lionheart, before it was recognized by the general public with hits like universal soldier, Difficult target, and Timecop. Van Damme would experience a career slump in the late 90s and early 2000s, but he bounced back with the 2008 semi-biopic meta JCVD, a viral commercial performing his famous split between two semi-trucks, and several collaborations with Scott Adkins, including a naughty trick in The Expendables 2.
Van Damme’s contemporary career has seen him evolve into more dramatic work and mentor roles, including in the reboot Kickboxer movies. However, he still finds time to engage in a little comedy in movies like Welcome to the jungle and his voice works as a Master Croc in the Kung Fu Panda sequelae. The last mercenary falls right into that as an action comedy, and in some ways almost plays out as a parody of a 90s Van Damme movie that just happens to be the star of the actual article.
One aspect of The last mercenary in particular, what really pokes fun at the ’90s image of Van Damme as a martial arts movie star is the abundant use of wigs by his character Richard Brumere. Used as blending tools, the cascading strands that Brumere strings on very clearly aren’t something to keep on all the time, but they’re also an overdone version of some of the mullet-style hairstyles that Van Damme has adopted from time to time, in particular. in particular Chance Boudreaux’s red mullet in the years 1993 Hard target – itself another distinctly ’90s look that worked in the context of the film, but didn’t age too gracefully.
To be sure, the top of Guile’s carrot in the years 1994 street fighter takes the honor of worst hairstyle in a Van Damme film with a longshot, and Van Damme rocked a not-too-bad mullet that same year in Timecop. However, The last mercenary shows that Van Damme does not hesitate to make fun of the image he has cultivated during his career. The film exploits a healthy dose of dry humor by overplaying his hairpieces longer than Van Damme has ever had his hair to Tommy Wiseau lengths, while having fun while slyly parodying some of the longer hairstyles he would adopt. occasionally in the 90s.
The last mercenary Nor is it without references to Van Damme’s work from the 80s, blatantly referencing Blood sport in a fight scene where Brumere hits an opponent in the groin. Of course, to fully enjoy the cinematic experience of Van Damme, a 180 degree separation is necessary, which The last mercenary Stuns early on when Brumere places his feet in a split position between two stone columns in a ceiling while hiding from enemies, in a face-down position he probably couldn’t maintain, and the movie also riffs on the famous dance sequence in Kickboxer. As with all references to the start of Van Damme’s career in The last mercenary, it’s all just a comedic embellishment of the image he built for himself in the ’90s, ranging from stunning displays of flexibility to hairstyles that don’t always stand the test of time.
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