If the world seems like an all around better place of late, it’s because last week a new Jean-Claude Van Damme film, Welcome to the Jungle, was released on DVD. Yes, the sultan of splits is crescent-kicking back into our hearts with a new cinematic treasure, this time a comedy. (We hope that the inevitable Van Damme musical isn’t that far behind.) In celebration of this release, those of us in the Van Damme Nation proudly bring you Jean-Claude Van Damme’s finest musical moments.
See also: Six Reasons Employers Should Hire Touring Musicians
Breakin’ , 1984
Martial-artist. Actor. Hero. These are words we’re used to seeing describe Jean-Claude Van Damme, but did you know he was an early proponent of the hip-hop culture as well? As seen in one of his earliest roles, 1984’s classic Breakin’, Van Damme plays a gentleman so enthused by breakdancing that his energetic glee almost steals the scene. One look at that clapping and you can tell he was a future icon of the action genre.
It would take another five years before we would see Van Damme’s dancing in full effect, but did the bar scene in Kickboxer ever deliver! After his trainer gets him fully intoxicated, he’s then placed into the ultimate test of one’s fighting ability: a Tai Pei barfight. Things begin innocently enough with Van Damme working the Van Charm on the ladies when SPOILER ALERT a fight breaks out that he has to kickbox his way out of. This scene is notable for one of the two moments in Van Damme’s entire filmography where his doing the splits seems both logical and practical. The other being, of course, in Timecop.
Double Impact, 1991
Jean-Claude Van Damme has starred in no less than five movies where he’s played more than one role. He’s starred in even more movies with an incredible synth-based score. The Van Damme Venn Diagram collides here to give us the finest theme, Double Impact’s “Feel the Impact.” The idea of identical twins being separated as infants and maturing into very different adults half a world away after their parents are murdered seems like the type of tale outlaw country was made for, but lucky for us with get a synth-based early 90s rap masterpiece!
Street Fighter 1994
In what has to be the most ’90s clip ever recorded, here’s a music video for a song that football/baseball great Deion Sanders recorded with MC Hammer that features Jean-Claude Van Damme. It’s from the soundtrack to a movie based on the video game Street Fighter. It’s comforting to know that in the 10 years following Breakin’, Van Damme stayed true to his hip-hop roots. We would like to take this time to remind you that you’re not having a fever dream, this clip really exists.
Bob Sinclar – “Kiss My Eyes” 2003
In 2003, French house music artist Bob Sinclar realized the untapped goldmine that was Jean-Claude Van Damme dancing. As a result, we were given the sheer gift that is his music video “Kiss My Eyes.” Sleek, slick, sophisticated and violent, it’s everything one could want in a Van Damme film condensed into one easy-to-watch music video. Your move, Christopher Walken.
Andy’s Sudden Death Song From “Parks and Recreation” 2014
Something’s also got to be said for how many great musical moments Van Damme has inspired by merely existing. The most memorable has probably been rap duo Black Sheep incorporated slyly uttering “Van Damme!” into hip-hop slang. There’s also been Van Damme singing games, Christmas songs and even the infamous Van Damme splits Volvo commercial driving Enya back into Billboard’s Hot 100. Our favorite is this outtake from a recent episode of “Parks and Recreation” where Chris Pratt improvises a stellar tribute to Van Damme’s action-hockey classic, 1996’s Sudden Death.
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