"Kenner, just in case we get killed, I wanted to tell you - you have the biggest dick I've ever seen on a man."
"Thanks. I don't know what to say."
Yes - this exchange happens right before a major gunfight. And what a great exchange it is... A perfect blend of homoerotic undertone, blatant lead actor ego-boosting and total irrelevance to the plot or action.
Welcome to the world of the B-grade action superstars!
Thanks to the valiant efforts of big hitters like Stallone and Schwarzenegger in The Expendables films, we have seen the big screen return of Lundgren, Van Damme, Snipes, Norris - some of the most notorious secondary action stars of the 80s and 90s. But back in their testosterone-induced Alpha male heyday, while Sly and Arnie were gunning down swathes of Soviet army scum and intergalactic human-hunters in droves, these were the "Other Guys"; the lower budget action heroes that mainly focused on taking on drug dealers, foreign gangsters and corrupt cops. The violence was at times more brutal and bone-crunching, and martial arts were always the main weapons of choice.
In one way I always felt sorry for them. These guys rarely had the budgets or the (try not to laugh) writing to fully support their endeavors in the quest for Box Office domination. The standards set by the Big Two left a high watermark in audience expectation that these boys would struggle to match. But what they may lack in scale, they more than made up for with fury ... These boys didn't need anti-tank missiles and four-way rocket launchers - they had their fists! These guys could take out the entire Mafia with just one roundhouse kick! Danny Glover would have to register them ALL as lethal weapons!
And I could not think of a better way to spend this wet and miserable Bank Holiday than by indulging in my favourite 3 Killing Machines - Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal and Dolph Lundgren. I have picked two movies from each of these demi-gods of kill - two movies that I believe reflect the very best of their low-grade genius and charisma. These will never be on anyone's Must See movie list, but to ignore them would be to miss out on something special.
It is a real shame that these boys have been largely consigned to the small screen. Yes, The Expendables may have given these DTV superstars a trip back to the big screen, but they are largely just extended cameos. And yes, their movies are poor in terms of writing, character development and structure - sticking to pre-conscribed motives and methods. But they are GLORIOUSLY bad movies, with no hint of irony or wit and yet they can be the funniest things you will ever see! So I suggest you grab your nearest four-pack of beer, send the lady off to the mall and I invite you to re-assess your prejudices and give these boys another shake of the action stick!
First up, we have Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg. He is the Muscles From Brussels himself...
JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME.