Jean Claude Van Damme was an action movie star who for some reason insisted on doing splits in all of his movies. Now he's a coked out philanthropist who presumably insists on doing splits at all public appearances.
Jean Claude Van Damme was born on October 18, 1960. His given name was Jean Claude Camille Francois Delano Jacob Jingleheimer Dayspring Askani'son Van Vaerenbergh, which he immediately shortened to Jean Claude Van Damme because most people only got half of the references. As a child he showed interest in the martial arts. At age 10, his father enrolled him in Shotokan classes. He later moved on to study kickboxing, Muay Thai and tae kwan do before obtaining his black belt in karate, probably because he got sick of Americans pretty much all just calling what he did karate anyways.
At the ripe old age of 16, Van Damme began a reign of terror on competitive European karate never before seen. He did this without once having to sweep the leg or team up with the loser kid from Sea Quest, Jonathan Brandis. In his first match he was staggered by a round house kick but knocked his opponent out moments later. After a couple of early career losses (in decisions) to a teammate, he trained for several months that passed in three minutes thanks to a well choreographed montage. When he re-entered competition he tallied an 18-1 record with all of his wins coming via Knockout or Technical Knockout. In the only match where he was EVER KNOCKED DOWN, presumably because he slipped in a puddle of his opponents dripping fear and adulation, he got back up and knocked his opponent out only 59 seconds into the match, let's see Steven Seagal do that without writing shitty music and putting on 30 pounds. He was labeled an upcoming prospect by Professional Karate Magazine which promptly caused him to quit competing and fail at becoming an actor while still starring in a ton of movies.
From his first appearances, in Monaco Fever as "Gay Karate Man" and a spectator in the first dance sequence of the epic blockbuster Breakin', he displayed a talent the likes of which the world had never seen. His first major role was in No Retreat, No Surrender. In this movie he played the villain and lost in the final fight scene to a guy who would go on to a lifetime of making Lifetime movies and working on Daytime Soap Operas. This was admittedly a low point for Van Damme, losing to a soap star in a movie is the career equivalent of tossing Bill O'Reilly's salad and reading about how poor it was via a post on fml.com.
Not to be dismayed, Van Damme next starred in Kickboxer. Now let's get something our of the way, in the 80s and 90s it didn't matter how many paper bags you couldn't act your way out of. So long as you could kick someone in the face a lot, preferably after getting kicked in the face a lot while an unknown 80s band sings a song of triumph, we would gladly fork over our parents' money to see it. Kickboxer also gave us the most inspirational training montage of the 80s (and therefore of all time). For a brief period of time in 1987, Van Damme was cast as The Predator in the movie of the same name. Issues arose on set when he defeated and killed the heroes in under 45 seconds, therefore ruining the movie.
The 90s rolled in and JCVD turned it up to 11 by starring a movie (Double Impact) with himself, and fighting himself. He followed this up with the commerically successful Universal Soldier, beginning a series of events that would eventually make Bill Goldberg think that he could act. Van Damme was among a group of reanimated soldiers programmed to kill the shit out of America's enemies. After this information was leaked to the public, the government hastily covered it up by making it the plot of a movie. Up next were Nowhere To Run and Hard Target, the latter of which was notable for the scene where JCVD punches a rattlesnake in the face and knocks it the fuck out.
Jean-Claude's biggest movie came in the form of 1994's Time Cop, where he played a time traveling police officer trying to stop a corrupt time traveling police officer while making sure he doesn't save his wife's life. His first assignment in the movie is to assassinate Doctor Emmit Brown, but he is defeated by the untimely arrival of Libyans in a VW Bus and Michael J Fox's dreamy eyes. This failure led to a future where this movie somehow grossed over 100 million dollars worldwide, where we have yet to develop the three seashell system for bathrooms, where we've failed to learn the ways of The Force, and in which Jean Claude Van Damme, a man from Belgium with an accent thicker than the average Twilight fan's waist line, gets cast as Colonel William F. Guile, bad ass American Icon in Street Fighter. This movie was so bad that it gave Raul Julia cancer. Fact! Following this clusterfuck of wasted celluloid, Van Damme's career began a death-spiral it has yet to recover from, and deservedly so.
After making what has proven to be the worst movie in history that doesn't have Nicolas Cage in it, Van Damme decided to direct the next movie he starred in, The Quest. While the movie was unsuccessful, to say the least, he did categorically prove Heisenberg's lesser known Certainty Principle, which explicitly states: "If you a motherfucker that be good at karate, don't direct movies, you'll be fucking shitty at it". After several more failed movies, including a Universal Soldier sequel and a buddy flick with Dennis Rodman. (We here at Cracked would like to apologizing for reminding everyone of this and recommend all medical costs accrued as a result be billed directly to Dennis Rodman). A succession of straight-to-dvd releases followed until the 2008 film JCVD, which saw a limited release.
In JCVD, Van Damme plays an alternate version of himself who gets caught up in a hostage situation that he gets blamed for by the crack detectives of the Brussels Police Force, known worldwide for their Batmanesque detectiving and use of the "Jump to Conclusions" mat. This movie was essentially a ploy to further Van Damme's plans to make the world aware by saying the word aware a lot. What he wants us to be aware about? God only knows, no one here speaks French because we're all a bunch of Internet commenters and took l33t in high school.