Jean-Claude Van Damme has had a weird career. He’s been a huge star, been the butt of jokes, resurrected and reinvented himself a handful of times in a variety of ways (think both JCVD and Jean-Claude Van Johnson among others). He’s dabbled in directing, most notably with 1996’s The Quest (where the goal is to acquire a big, gold dragon that has no name beyond the “big, gold dragon). His only other turn at the helm is something of an oddity, languishing on the shelf for years, though it’s finally seeing the light of day under the moniker Full Love, and there’s a new trailer for you to check out.
A lot of you probably watched this trailer and cringed. Admittedly, it doesn’t look like one of his best, and falls right in line with some of JCVD’s recent, less-than-optimal direct-to-video work. But the saga of Full Love is a tale worth telling.
If you look up Van Damme’s directing credits on IMDb, you’ll see three titles: The Quest, Soldiers, and Full Love. And I know now you’re yelling at me via computer for not fact checking and being a hack and hoping my family dies and all the usual fun things people yell on the internet.
But when you compare Soldiers (2010) with Full Love (2014), it quickly becomes apparent they’re the same movie. Both share the logline: “A military veteran and former mercenary named Frenchy is haunted by his childhood, as well as his past in the military.” Van Damme does indeed play a character named Frenchy in both; he wrote the script for both; both co-star Claudia Bassols, John Colton, Josef Cannon, and JCVD’s kids Bianca Brigitte VanDamme nee Bree and Kris Van Damme nee Van Varenberg. So yeah, Soldiers and Full Love are a single film. It also went under the banner The Eagle Path for a time.
This has become a kind of myth for Van Damme-a-philes; their great white whale. Shot almost a decade ago, it bounced around playing festivals, including at Cannes in 2010, but was never fully released. At least until now.
Apparently much of Full Love has been reshot and tinkered with over the years, but the exciting part is that it’s pure, unadulterated JCVD. He wrote, directed, stars in, and apparently financed much of it out of his own pocket. This is a passion project, a glimpse into his psyche over a period of years. Hell, even if it sucks, this should make for a fascinating watch.
What does "Coming Soon" mean? I have no idea, but I hope it actually means soon in a dictionary definition way.