Jean Claude Van Damme, now a star of a viral Volvo ad, was once one of the top action movie stars, back in the day of the martial arts master turned actor. The martial arts movie star has moved into the realm of niche as Bruce Lee passed away, Jackie Chan got older, Steven Seagal apparently realized he wasn’t going to top Under Siege (which, probably doesn’t hold up, but rocked my world when I was about twelve), and Arnold Schwarzenegger became Governor of California (and yes, I know Ahnold was a body builder, not a martial arts star).
Van Damme has moved into the realm of self-parody (a la Chuck Norris), but it’s the parody of Turquoise Jeep or Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (which I do want to see again because I’m convinced it was brilliant and not just me)—it never winks at the camera, and in Van Damme’s case, one can enjoy the product as simple beauty.
What in the world am I talking about? The Honda ad above. We see Van Damme standing, stone-faced with one foot each on the side view mirrors of two identical trucks, driving very evenly alongside each other. Then, slowly, the trucks drift apart. Van Damme’s expression does not change. His arms remain folded across his chest. He does a perfect split between the two trucks, which continue to drive alongside each other (all this is to show “the precision of Volvo Dynamic Steering”).
Also, Volvo, brilliant touch on the ethereal music of Enya, backing up the steely gave of Jean-Claude Van Damme.