Director: Mabrouk El Mechri
Year Released: 2008
Rating: 2.0

"Muscles from Brussels" Jean-Claude Van Damme plays "J.C.V.D." - a semi-fictionalized version of himself - who returns home to Belgium depressed and broke only to get involved in a post office/bank robbery when trying to make a withdrawal (prompting fan support and media coverage). I'm actually quite glad a lot of people have taken to this movie, because as a kid I was a big fan of Van Damme's, and the story of what happens when someone famous loses his/her fame and fortune (because of mistakes and ever-shifting popular interest) and has to continue with his/her life (which is a topic rarely - if ever - addressed). But did El Mechri have to go all Film School on this thing? He breaks out all the Tricks Learned by Watching Others: the fractured timeline, the Steadicam and long takes and severely tinted (arguably too dark) lenses, the meta-tactics (JCVD offering a nice soliloquy to the camera, 'rewinding' the film) - for all the wizardry, the central conflict - the bank robbery - is weak. But in case you were wondering, the answer is: Maximum Risk. Never ask.