TV REVIEW: Jean-Claude Van Damme Behind Closed Doors
March 23, 2011
Quiet everyone, it's time for Jean-Claude Van Damme's big scene. He's on his knees in a car park in his Belgian home town. Here, right here, (well, a little over there to be exact) is where it happened – his childhood epiphany.
He'd woken in the night, he remembers, his voice creaking with emotion, and he walked to church in the snow.
When he got there, he prayed. For the world. For nature. For the animals. (He loves animals. Particularly worm-ridden dogs). And to become a movie star.
"Everything I asked for myself, God gave it to me," he says. "But he didn't give me the solution of saving the world."
With that, Van Damme weeps. At least, I think he does. It's a little hard to tell. And I think his tears are genuine, but again, that's a bit unclear too. Are they the forced sobs of an artless actor or a burst of emotion from a chap who, generally speaking, is happier kicking baddies in the kidneys? Dunno.
Uncertainty is a theme of Jean-Claude Van Damme Behind Closed Doors (9pm, ITV4). Is it real? Or a spoof? Haven't got a clue. Is it brilliant? Or rubbish? Not sure. A bit of both, perhaps: Brubbish.
It's a love letter to himself, though. That much I know.
Jean-Claude Van Damme visits his mum. She measures his head. Don't ask. He flies to Romania to make a film. He hangs around with his pal, the Belgian version of Jimmy Five Bellies.
He rescues stray dogs. He pays for them to be wormed. He kicks at the screen in his pants.
It's hugely watchable. And utterly bonkers.
That film, by the way, is called Weapon. It's a pleasingly concise name for a Van Damme film, but he can do better still. Nrrgg, maybe. Or Ow!
*Burned beyond recognition in an acid attack, Katie Piper has faced unfathomable adversity with such dignity, spirit, purpose and poise it's possible to be pulled along in her slipstream, to fleetingly forget her troubles.
That's not the case with Chantelle Richardson, the 20-something she met on Katie: My Beautiful Friends (9pm, Channel 4).
Chantelle has an extreme facial deformity and shies away from life.
It's not hard to see why. When she was a child, other girls would crowd round her, jostling to be the meanest. And the torment hasn't ended in adulthood. The week before she met Katie she was attacked in a pub.
Yet the saddest thing of all wasn't the casual cruelty of schoolkids and drunks but seeing her marriage buckle and break down.
I'd assumed it was something to do with her condition. I was wrong. He wanted kids, she didn't. There's more to people than meets the eye.