As of a few years I'm a pretty well rounded Jean Claude Van Damme fan,
but not all of his movies are watchable, some are cheesy, some are cheesy but have a good plot, some are downright dumb, and then comes along one simplistic one that really shines (in the midst of jump kicks and gunfire of course)!
Here are my favorite Van Damme movies.
Uni-Sol Regeneration isn't Van Damme's BEST movie, but he seems in his element. The apparent lack of humor that usually plauges Van Damme's movies, helps with believability and pacing. The action is fast and brutal. Very brutal. I loved this movie, it was short and VERY sweet. And for those Uni-Sol fans will be delighted to see lundgren and van damme together again!
Bloodsport is a good movie. Possibly Van Damme's best, he is after all a KICKBOXER! So when you see this movie you're really seeing what he IS good at, any schmuck can fire a gun, but to kick like that? that takes SKILL.
Hard Target is good for John Woo, and fun for Van Damme, but overall its simply a shoot-em up with a good plot. BUT its my favorite Van Damme shooter, the stunts are unbelievable, the creativity and fluidity in the shoot outs in this movie rival that of Hard Boiled, also a beautiful Woo directed movie. Plus the added bonus of Lance Henriksen and Arnold Vosloo as the bad guys make it all worthwhile.
As a prison movie, Death Warrant is good, as a Van Damme prison movie you know its gonna be unorthodox, and it was. I liked it alot, i was entertained for an hour and a half and liked what I saw.
As prison movies go, this is generally lighthearted, i was suprised how intricate the plot was, (not that it was Bourne or anything... it was decent.) and the fighting was very well coreographed! See it. Its very enjoyable!
Universal Soldier. Incredibly entertaining. From the director of ID4 and Godzilla comes this heavy hitting romp across a wicked stretch of land with guns, explosions, more guns, car chases, and BIGGER explosions. Van Damme and Lundgren play two soldiers killed in the gulf war, brought back to life in the present (1993 approx) as programmable soldiers, impervious to pain, mercy, and disobedience. However one of the Universal Soldiers (Lundgren) snaps and goes psychotic, he goes on a killing rampage killing anyone he thinks is a traitor to his country, which includes Van Damme. But as the psychosis rages and Van Damme is running for his life while protecting a innocent reporter, loyalties blur, priorities change, and the truth must be found out before even more innocents are murdered at the hands of a mad man. Only Van Damme can save the day.
Double Impact is a strange and fun/functional movie. Van Damme plays both roles as twins separated at birth by hong kong mobsters who took over their parents legacy and now are reaping the substantial dollar value.
As men they are brought together by a common friend and pitted against a crime syndicate with corrupt roots all over hong kong. Fun... but thats all it is.
Thats all ALL Van Damme movies are, FUN...
and honestly what are action movies for besides having a good time?