When “Vegas,” that insipid NBC show, ran promos that played up an appearance by Jean-Claude Van Damme, I was hooked and knew I would have to watch. It wasn’t because I like him or the show. It was because he played himself and would die.
Hell, I’d pay to see that.
I know a lot of you are thinking that he is too easy a target for me to pick on. It’s like throwing baseballs at a paralyzed blind man. I disagree. Why? Because there are about five people out there who still like the guy and his work. They are the same five people who enjoyed “Speed 2: Cruise Control.” I know they won’t admit that, but it’s true.
I don’t like the idiot from Brussels for about fifty thousand different reasons, but his lack of acting ability and career stagnation are two of the biggest blows he has against him. Creepy facial features is another. He’s also a less funny Seagal. A more mediocre Diesel. A less talented Stallone.
And I so wish that “Vegas” was a reality television show.
If you watched that episode, you know that Van Damme died when a stunt went awry. People then mourned for one of Hollywood’s “biggest” actors and set up a less-than-stunning memorial to the man. (When was that episode filmed anyway? During a one-week period in August of 1991?) Fans placed flowers around the memorial and openly wept while people like myself laughed and cracked open that special bottle of wine.
With Van Damme dead on the show, I tried to imagine life without him in the real world. Would flowers seem more colorful? Would the songs of birds be a little clearer? Would the air be cleaner? Would gas prices drop?
Yes to all of the above.
I realized that a world without Van Damme would be much like a world without Hitler, Dahmer and Cheney. It was then that Van Damme died for real in my world. He really did perish when he plunged off the roof of a casino on a motorcycle (instead of being stabbed to death by a transsexual hooker, as I had once placed a bet on). And his movies are now painful reminders of what used to be. I will chalk up any future films he may happen to be in to be mere CGI effects used by the director in an attempt to resurrect a “star” who never really deserved to be on film in the first place.
Van Damme is dead. He died in Vegas when a stunt went wrong (or right, depending on your view). Because of this, the world is a much better place. Now I just have to convince ABC to book Keanu Reeves for a special guest appearance on “According to Jim” where he chokes to death on a pretzel. Oh, that would be sweet.
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Posted on July 28, 2004 in Features by Doug Brunell
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