Jean-Claude Van Damme Is Returning To Action Movies, Set To Star

Jean-Claude Van Damme is headed to the jungle for his next action flick, Silent Kill.

By Vic Medina | Published

The Muscles from Brussels is back in action, according to a report by Movieweb. Action movie legend Jean-Claude Van Damme is prepping to star in Silent Kill, which will see the Universal Soldier actor leading a group of mercenaries into the jungle in a battle over buried treasure. The film is expected to go into production early next year, and is written and directed by Anthony Hickox (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, Last Run).

The film’s plot appears to play out a bit like the Humphrey Bogart classic Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Jean-Claude Van Damme plays one of four mercenaries who find a hidden treasure in the wilds of the Congo, who agree to bury it and return in three years to split it equally. Of course, greed and backstabbing ensues when the time comes to actually split it. Among the other cast members are former NFL star Vernon Davis, Rafael Amaya (Queen of the South) and Madalina Anea (Watcher).

The film does not yet have a studio distributor, but will be shopped at the American Film Market, an annual event where studios purchase films from production companies for distribution and production. The American Film Market will be held this week in Santa Monica, California, and with a marketable name like Jean-Claude Van Damme attached to the film, a production deal will likely be struck and announced this week.

During the late 1980s and the 1990s, the 62-year-old Belgian was one of the world’s biggest action stars, whose athletic prowess and signature “splits” move stood out against other bulked-up action heroes. He rose to prominence in films like Bloodsport, Kickboxer (which is now getting its own reboot series), and Lionheart. His 1992 blockbuster Universal Soldier (from Independence Day director Roland Emmerich) launched an action film franchise.

Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean-Claude Van Damme in The Last Mercenary

Early in his career, Van Damme was doing stunt work, including a short stint in which he played the Predator in the original 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger classic. When the film initially started shooting, the Predator was supposed to be a bug-like creature, and Jean-Claude Van Damme was hired to wear a ridiculous-looking creature suit. He was fired because he could not move or breathe in the suit, which was replaced by a revamped creature (designed by Terminator director James Cameron) and played by Kevin Peter Hall.

His career took a downturn in the late 1990s, but after his 2008 film JCVD earned solid reviews from critics and Sylvester Stallone cast him as the villain in 2012’s The Expendables 2, his career saw a rebirth of sorts. In recent years, Van Damme made appearances in new Universal Soldier and Kickboxer films, as well as Netflix’s The Last Mercenary, the animated sequel Minions: The Rise of Gru, and the TV mini series Jean-Claude Van Johnson. His next film, before Silent Kill, is Frenchy, a film he wrote and dirercted himself.

He has already announced that his final action film will be titled What’s My Name, in which he will fight all of his past movie foes, as well as a fictionalized version of himself. That film has not yet set a start date for production.