‘Jean-Claude Van Johnson’ Splits the Difference Between Action and Comedy in a Hilarious Pilot

GameStop, Inc.


For most faded stars there comes a point where they take a role that acknowledges their own mortality and propels them, even if ever so briefly, back into the public eye. Jean-Claude Van Damme has already lampooned himself once before in JVCD, but with Jean-Claude Van Johnson the muscles from Brussels has placed himself in one of the best meta commentaries on the action genre since Last Action Hero. Directed by Peter Atencio, the director of many Key & Peele sketches as well as Keanu, Jean-Claude Van Johnson is absolute riot that features moments of impeccably crafted action cinema. If there’s not another episode of this show, the crime will be marked down in the annals of wasted opportunities. (Like The Tick, you can vote to get these shows full season orders by voting here.)

These days, Jean-Claude Van Damme is living in the shadow of his former glory. He lives in a beautiful, expansive mansion all alone, with the exception of the occasional one-night stand. When Jean-Claude goes out to eat, he’s mistake for other action stars of the ‘80s. It’s impossible not to notice just how bad of a malaise he’s in as rides a Segway to pick up his newspaper with a grabbing stick. Jean-Claude starts to snap out of his funk when he runs into Vanessa (Kat Foster), a former lover and co-worker that has long since left him behind. Vanessa tells him she’s leaving Los Angeles to work in Bulgaria, and that prompts Jean-Claude to see his agent Jane (Phylicia Rashad) and demand that she get him the job in Bulgaria. At first, she thinks she’s getting him work as Jean-Claude Van Damme, the action star. He’s quick to clarify that he wants to work as Jean-Claude Van Johnson, the superspy who uses his movie stardom as his cover. He’s quickly shuffled to Bulgaria where he begins production on a low budget action film before sneaking off to fight Bulgarian bad guys as part of his black ops mission.

Jean-Claude Van Johnson is a great pilot, one that entertains and establishes the absurd premise of what could be a legitimately great series and the best work that Jean-Claude Van Damme has ever done. Once again, Peter Atencio is able to showcase his ability to visually work in different genres while seamlessly incorporating their visual style. One such highlight is when we’re presented the scene from the movie that Jean-Claude is filming in Bulgaria. In this dark and rainy fight scene, Atencio presents a segment that could’ve been pulled from countless low budget productions out of Bulgaria with an extra kick of visual style.

The script for the pilot by Dave Callaham is wonderful mixture of commentary on the action genre and parody of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s onscreen persona. During the episode’s climactic fight, the leader of the bad guys instructs his men to attack Jean-Claude one at a time, referencing the way that bad guys are evenly distributed in such fight scenes. Numerous jokes are made about Timecop and other classic in the oeuvre of Jean-Claude Van Damme, each joke is effective without needing to lean solely on the reference alone.

I laughed and laughed throughout the 30-minute pilot for Jean-Claude Van Johnson. It’s an absolute delight in its crazed mixture of action and comedy, and definitely lays the foundation for a series that should appeal to comedy fans and action fans alike. Jean-Claude Van Johnson is an effective piece of commentary on the genre of action filmmaking while its star has no problem using the show as a means to make an entertaining look at his own fallen star and advancing age. For just a pilot, Jean-Claude Van Johnson has some incredible laughs and strong action. I just hope the rest of the voters over at Amazon can see the brilliance on display. There needs to be more adventures for Jean-Claude Van Johnson.

Jean-Claude Van Johnson
  • Overall Score


A brilliant comedy-action hybrid from director Peter Atencio, Jean-Claude Van Johnson works as dual commentary on the action genre and the aging of the action star Jean-Claude Van Damme in a hilarious pilot for Amazon.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Paul Crowder and ‘Boss’ Wooldridge Talk ‘The Blue Angels’ Doc – Interview

Director, Paul Crowder and Flying Ace, Greg “Boss” Woolridge talk about...

Eric Bana Talks ‘Force of Nature: The Dry 2’ – Interview

Eric Bana Returns for the sequel to ‘The Dry‘ in ‘Force...

Letitia Wright’s Talks about her Latest Film ‘Aisha’ – Interview

Letitia Wright’s latest film, ‘Aisha‘, a story about immigration, resilience, friendship...

Event News Event Reviews
Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Takes You to A Whole New World at Segerstrom – Review

Disney’s Aladdin takes the audience on a thrilling chase and a wonderous place...

Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach on The Queen Mary this Halloween

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach for the...

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice’ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the Arts – Review

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice‘ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part something: Hermione and the Mini-gun pt 2

Have a lead salad instead!

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part ?: Hermione and the mini-gun pt 1

It can't fire more than 6,000 per minute!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse: Kurt v Sid – HASTA!

Hasta La Vista Baby!

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...