And it’s a Van Damme Shame Too.
Less than a month after being released by Amazon Studios, Jean Claude Van Johnson has been abruptly cancelled before any considerations for a second season could conceivably begin. The show, which starred Jean Claude Van Damme as a tongue-in-cheek version of himself who lives a double life as part-time action movie star, part-time international secret agent, received mixed (if not above average) reviews while holding a 64% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Self Aware Action Comedy
While Amazon Prime doesn’t release its numbers, it’s safe to assume that from a cost-analysis perspective, Van Johnson was not hitting its marks from the get-go to warrant such a quick dismal. (Note: being cancelled does not mean you still can’t watch the show on Amazon Prime.) Created by veteran screenwriter David Callaham (who has his own solid, but convoluted, background in action movies having purportedly written the script which The Expendables is based on), the show mixed classic action movie tropes with the light-hearted self-aware comedy of director Peter Atencio (who directed all of the successful comedy franchise Key & Peele and their action-comedy feature Keanu).
Was it UAMC Worthy?
It’s a shame that Van Johnson isn’t going to another season. It wasn’t the greatest show, and a far cry from the ultimate action movies Van Damme starred in the 80s and 90s which cemented his legacy. It also seemed to skip over Van Damme’s kickboxing roots while making it seem like he only starred in over-the-top sci-fi flicks like Time Cop and Universal Soldier while ignoring his martial arts tournament-style classics like Bloodsport and Kickboxer. (And the movie-in-the-show which they’re filming is such a joke that it feels almost mean-spirited in its awfulness.) But, it did have its moments and gave Van Damme a great deal of opportunity to poke fun at himself as a dually capable action and comedy actor.
However, as it is with any action star, Van Damme always had a talent to make even his movies which were considered flops at the time (like Double Team and Street Fighter) memorable and awesome, hopefully Jean Claude Van Johnson will find a spot for JCVD fans to enjoy six episodes of him performing an odd parody of himself that involves some truly stupid and wacky disguises, performances and fight scenes. If not, let it quickly fade from memory and fire up your VCR to pop in your copy of Bloodsport for the 700th time!
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