If the Beatles and the Rolling Stones spawned their own dueling fan bases, connoisseurs of late 1980s and early ’90s action flicks often have their own disagreements about the merits and appeal of Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme. While the former generally smashed heads and cracked skulls with the disposition of a sullen ox, the latter had a more compact frame, and a kind of balletic karate skill set to match a slightly more engaging personality. Known as “The Muscles From Brussels,” the Belgian-born Van Damme would put his stamp on the action genre with a string of increasingly profitable hits like Death Warrant, Double Impact, Universal Soldier and Timecop, the latter two of which were $100 worldwide smashes.
Changing tastes and struggles with drug addiction would combine to derail the genre actor, but Van Damme turned heads with 2008’s JCVD, in which he played a sad-sack version of himself, and he’s been acting again (and even directing) with regularity. In his new movie, Assassination Games, Van Damme portrays a contract killer who reluctantly teams up with a man (Scott Adkins) driven by vengeance after his most recent hit goes sideways. I had a chance to recently submit some questions by email to Van Damme, about Assassination Games, the arc of his career, the upcoming sequel to The Expendables and more. The intriguing answers, inclusive of his Facebook updates and love of dogs, are available over at ShockYa.