If what you do mostly involves winning death match tournaments to save the life of your reporter love interest or portraying a good cop who gets the job done, but plays by his own rules, there is probably a lot of repetition. It’s one of the perks of being an action star sometimes.
You get so good at one thing that you don’t really need to do anything else. However, this repetition can often be disconcerting. At a certain point in every action star’s life, usually around the four thousandth roundhouse kick or the two millionth burst of machine gun fire, they ask themselves “IS THIS ALL I’M WORTH?”Based on the musical endeavors of everyone on this list, the answer is mostly a “Maybe….”
Jean-Claude Van Damme: Bob Sinclair’s “Kiss My Eyes” Music Video
Depending on whether or not you have actual taste in cinema, Van Damme’s dancing scene in Kickboxer is either the best scene in the movie or the best scene in movie history. When The Academy inevitably creates the award for “Best Dance Scene By Boyish Martial Artist Inserted Into A Film For No Real Reason”, they’ll retroactively give it to Kickboxer, and Van Damme will finally receive at least half of the recognition he deserves, the other half coming with “Best Kickboxer”, also going to his performance in Kickboxer.
Whether or not Van Damme is a good dancer is a null question, because no one has ever had as much fun as Van Damme seems to be having in this video. With the help of his beautiful lady friend, Van Damme hurricanes his way through a hotel suite, eventually managing to break enough objects to turn the woman on. Van Damme is completely unable to keep a straight face throughout the entire thing, meaning that kicking a room’s door open and subsequently ruining every piece of furniture inside is ALWAYS Van Damme’s idea of foreplay. He cracks a smile with every move, and he would probably have burst into hysterics if the director had let him do a split and punch the fireplace in the nuts.
Dolph Lundgren: “A Little Less Conversation”
Dolph Lundgren learned to speak the same way that the Frankenstein monster did, huddled inside a small stable outside of a poor family’s cabin. There, he learned how to read and pronounce words, until he was discovered and was forced to break the entire family. Hearing Dolph Lundgren use the English language often seems like a “fish riding a bike” metaphor, except that if you called out said fish on his inability to ride the bike, the only difference between your head and Dolph’s collection of basketballs would be that Dolph’s collection didn’t plead for their lives as they were prepared for shelf storage.
I don’t exactly know the context for this video, but Dolph doesn’t half-ass his performance. If Elvis was eight inches taller and had a constant murderer’s gleam in his eye, then Dolph is the best fucking impersonator of The King since The King’s 70’s comeback tour. Lundgren manages to make it his own, even if that means turning the song into something that sounds like an erotic audio book for wolves.
Steven Seagal: “Songs From The Crystal Cave”, “Mojo Priest”
A lot of times people do things that you don’t expect. I imagine that the producer that Steven Seagal first approached to help with the recording of “Songs From The Crystal Cave” thought that this album was just an elaborate ploy to eventually have his wrists broken. And it might have been, honestly. If you shake Seagal’s hand and come away with no bones protruding through your skin, then your next move is to wake Seagal up.
I don’t hate Seagal as an actor, but I expected something a little different from what I got with his two forays into the Blues. I wanted something akin to Tom Waits, substituting Wait’s themes of love lost and misery with the theme of how it feels to ruin a Jamaican gangster’s secret dreams of being a hand model. However, Seagal writes songs about what you’d expect any Blues artist to write about. It doesn’t even sound that bad, but if you’re looking for the musical equivalent of Into The Sun, you’d be better off just putting in Into The Sun, pulling out the Video cord and only listening to the TV.
Bruce Willis: “Under The Boardwalk”
When you combine two things that don’t necessarily mix on paper, you sometimes get extraordinary results. It’s this theory that makes clowns the best serial killers and MTV Friendzone the best show in the world. Bruce Willis’ cover of “Under The Boardwalk” is an experiment that’s neither good nor bad, but you get the feeling that, since Mr. Yippee Ki Yay, Motherfucker himself has contributed to pop music, he’s the honorary Greatest Pop Musician of All Time. That’s just how science works, guys.
John Cena: “You Can’t See Me”
You can tell how popular a wrestler is by what they do when they’re not pinning other people. Usually, that popularity is proven when they appear in films, but in the case of John Cena, it was proven when he got his own rap album. Before his character was “Nothing in particular”, he had the persona of a white guy rapper, and it was only logica to translate the cheers he got into fans actually thirsting for multiple tracks featuring Cena as the main performer. It’s using this brand of interpretation that makes me propose to every waitress and every time someone opens the door for me, I have to check to see if it’s my birthday again.
“You Can’t See Me” is music, sort of. Cena isn’t completely terrible at what he does, but you get the sense that it isn’t really a passion project for him. He brings the same emotional intensity to each track, but when your day job is pretending that you hate other men enough to knock them off of ladders, that’s not a very laudable feat. He also raps what would become his own theme song, “My Time Is Now”, and even that one doesn’t stand out. I wouldn’t call “You Can’t See Me” boring, but Cena couldn’t recite the Gettysburg Address without challenging Lincoln to a Wrestlemania match.