[[quoteright:240:[[Film/StreetFighter http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vandamn_9754.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:240:[-[[OhCrap Prepare yourself for a]] {{groin attack}}.-] ]]

->''"I love challenges. If you don't have any and can do whatever you want, then it's probably time to die."''

Jean-Claude Van Damme (born Jean-Claude [[EmbarrassingMiddleName Camille]] François Van Varenberg, born 18 October 1960) is a Belgian martial artist, best known for his ActionHero films. Nicknamed "The Muscles from Brussels," he was a hot darling during the advent of 80s and early 90's SummerBlockbuster action films, before Creator/JackieChan and Creator/JetLi took center stage in America.

Before venturing into films, he had a career in the martial arts competitions. He also did some bodybuilding and studied ballet for five years.

Starting with couple minor roles in ''Film/{{Breakin}}'', ''Monaco Forever'' and ''Street of the Damned'', his first major role in movies was Ivan, the champion of the villains in ''Film/NoRetreatNoSurrender''. He later found his StarMakingRole in ''Film/{{Bloodsport}}'', which highlighted his legitimate martial arts skills along with his flexibility (a man being able to do full leg splits is fairly rare).

His early films tended to recycle certain plot elements, like his character unknowingly having a twin brother or attending a martial arts competition for the sake of a fallen friend.

He's the father of three children: Kristopher (born 1987), Bianca (1990) and their half-brother, Nicholas (1995).
!!Van Damme's partial filmography:
* ''Film/NoRetreatNoSurrender'' (1986) -- As Ivan Kraschinsky, an intimidating Russian martial artist and the main antagonist of the film. It was Van Damme's first major role in America.
* ''Film/{{Bloodsport}}'' (1988) -- As Frank Dux, who is compelled to enter an underground fighting tournament after the death of his sensei.
* ''Film/{{Kickboxer}}'' (1989) - As Kurt Sloane, who seeks revenge against a brutal kickboxer who paralyzed his brother from the waist down.
* ''Film/{{Cyborg|1989}}'' (1989) -- Jean-Claude Van Damme being awesome on a post-apocalyptic future. One of director Albert Pyun's most commercially successful films.
* ''Film/{{Lionheart}}'' (1990) -- As Lyon, who enters American underground fighting circuit after the death of his brother to help his family.
* ''Film/{{Death Warrant}}'' (1990) -- As Louis Burke, a homicide cop sent to prison undercover to investigate a series of murders. Seen today, the film has quite a lot of [[NarmCharm Narm Charm]]
* ''Film/DoubleImpact'' (1991) -- Van Damme's characters find out that they are twin brothers and must avenge the death of their parents.
* ''Film/UniversalSoldier'' (1992) -- He is pitted against Creator/DolphLundgren. And it's awesome.
* ''Film/NowhereToRun'' (1993) -- As Sam Gillen, an escaped convict who protects a family from an evil developer who wants their land for his own.
* ''Film/HardTarget'' (1993) -- Jean-Claude is [[HuntingTheMostDangerousGame the Most Dangerous game]] for the villains. Creator/JohnWoo's first English-language film.
* ''Film/StreetFighter'' (1994) -- As Guile. Casting a man with thick Franco-Belgian accent as a very American character is only one of the film's SoBadItsGood highlights.
* ''Film/TimeCop'' (1994) -- Van Damme's most commercially successful film.
* ''Film/SuddenDeath'' (1995) -- [[DieHardOnAnX Die Hard in a hockey stadium]], notable for being filmed almost entirely within the Pittsburgh Civic Arena (with the building's huge retractable dome used as part of a plot point), as well as being the debut of the Pittsburgh Penguins' mascot, Iceburgh. Takes place during [[AlternateTimeline game 7 of the 1995 National Hockey League Stanley Cup Finals between the Pens and Chicago Blackhawks]].
* ''Film/TheQuest'' (1996) -- He also directed it. The movie wasn't a hit and didn't get very good reviews but it was praised for featuring actual martial artists and (more or less realistic) fighting styles across the world.
* ''Film/MaximumRisk'' (1996) -- Van Damme's character finds out that he had a twin brother and must avenge his death.
* ''Film/DoubleTeam'' (1997) -- An anti-terrorist agent must un-retire to stop a terrorist alongside Dennis Rodman.
* ''Film/KnockOff'' (1998) -- As Marcus Ray, a fashion designer who must join forces with a CIA agent to stop a terrorist plot.
* ''Film/{{Legionaire}}'' (1998) -- In 1924, a boxer pisses off a French mob boss and has to join the Foreign Legion to get away. [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits He and his fellow Legionaires]] end up fighting bedouins in the ass end of the Algerian desert. Notable for its [[CoolGuns well-researched weapons]], [[HeReallyCanAct remarkably good performance by JCVD]], and complete lack of spin-kicks and/or men doing the splits. Also notable for Jean-Claude [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome holding the fort gates alone with a Lewis Gun]].
* ''Film/UniversalSoldierTheReturn'' (1999) -- Van Damme is once again Deveraux, who oversees an updated [=UniSol=] project that inevitably goes haywire.
* ''Film/DesertHeat'' (1999) -- An ex-soldier off to visit a friend gets shot by bad guys and his bike stolen. He survives. The bad guys don't.
* ''Film/{{Replicant}}'': (2001) -- A cop uses the clone of a serial killer to track him down.
* ''Film/InHell'' (2003) -- An American gets sent to a Russian prison for killing his wife's murderer. Directed by Hong Kong director Ringo Lam, it's one of the few films where Van Damme's fight scenes are few but also actually quite realistic.
* ''Wake Of Death'' (2004) -- An ex-cop takes on the [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Triads]] after his wife is brutally murdered.
* ''Second In Command'' (2006) -- A Navy SEAL commander battles communist insurgents in Moldova.
* ''Until Death'' (2007) -- A drug-addicted cop falls into a coma after a gunfight and upon his recovery decides to use his second chance at life. A nice departure from Van Damme's usual ActionHero roles.
* ''Film/{{JCVD}}'' (2007) -- A [[SelfDeprecation self-deprecating parody]]. His most critically praised film.
* ''Film/UniversalSoldierRegeneration'' (2009)
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'' (2011) -- He is the voice of Master Croc. [[AwesomenessIsVolatile Feel free to explode if you want to]]. Master Croc does a split kick, naturally.
* ''Film/AssassinationGames'' (2011) -- He's a professional killer who clashes with another killer on the same job.
* ''Film/UniversalSoldierDayOfReckoning'' (2012)
* ''Film/TheExpendables2'' (2012) -- [[AllStarCast Of course]]. He's playing the villain, [[PlayingAgainstType in a departure from the norm]].
* ''Film/WelcomeToTheJungle'' (2013) -- Another parody, with him playing a [[spoiler:fake]] "military man" with a length special ops background who now runs weekend teambuilding survival sessions for corporations.
* ''Series/JeanClaudeVanJohnson'' (2016) -- Another parody show similar to JCVD. This time, he's a retired black ops agent turned actor trying to get back into the spy game.
!!Tropes applicable to the man:
* AdamWesting:
** He plays himself in an episode of ''Series/LasVegas''... and gets KilledOffForReal!
** ''Film/{{JCVD}}'' is a feature-length version of the trope.
** And the ''Series/{{Friends}}'' episode "The One After The Superbowl Part 2".
-->'''Van Damme:''' By the way, Drew has some ground rules...
** Then there's his Coors Light adverts, where he's himself played [[UpToEleven up to about 86]].
* AmazonChaser: As mentioned below, his third (and current) wife is a former bodybuilder.
* AmicableExes: He and his ex-wife remain close best friends, and he has promised that if she ever needs him, he'll be there to protect her. Aww...
* ArchEnemy: Reputedly had a feud with Creator/StevenSeagal, which came to a head when Seagal (falsely) claimed Van Damme had lied about his achievements in martial arts. According to Creator/SylvesterStallone, this came to a head at a party at his Miami home in 1997, when Van Damme offered to fight Seagal, who fled to a nightclub, and then fled again when Jean-Claude chased him to the local trying to end the thing.
* BadassGrandpa: Even in his fifties, Van Damme can still pull off [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7FIvfx5J10 something like this]]
* UsefulNotes/BipolarDisorder: Was diagnosed in 1998.
* CaptainErsatz: Johnny Cage from ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' games is modeled after him.
* CloudCuckooLander
* CunningLinguist: In addition to French and English, he also speaks German and Spanish.
* DivorceIsTemporary: He remarried his third wife, former [[UsefulNotes/{{Bodybuilding}} bodybuilder]] Gladys Portugues, after a divorce which lasted 7 years (during which he married and divorced his fourth wife). The couple had another divorce in 2015 which lasted about 2 months. [[note]] started March 18, following an 11-day-long separation, canceled in May.[[/note]]
* DumbMuscle: How popular media likes to stereotype him as.
* EmbarrassingNickName: Reportedly does not like being called "The Muscles from Brussels."
* ExtremityExtremist: His fighting style is usually focused on kicks.
* GenderBlenderName: Camille is a unisex name in the French language, although it does tend to be more frequently used on men in somewhat traditional social circles. He himself finds it feels "''old-fashioned'', like the smell of a piece of Provence furniture."
* GratuitousEnglish: Particularly prone to this trope in his French-language interviews due to his propensity for [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codeswitching codeswitching]], which only compounds his CloudCuckoolander reputation among French people, who primarily know him as "that funny Belgian martial artist who delivers {{Ice Cream Koan}}s in Frenglish". Most famously, using the word "[[MemeticMutation Aware]]" to convey the idea of self-awareness (maybe).
--> "Tu regardes à l'intérieur de toi et tu deviens[[note]]you look inside of yourself and you become[[/note]] ''aware of your own body''!"
--> "Manger des cacahuètes[[note]]Eating salted peanuts[[/note]], ''it's a really strong feeling''."
--> "J'ai perdu le ''touch'', j'avais plus le ''feeling'' de la vie... [...]La drogue, c'est comme quand tu ''close your eyes'' et que tu traverses la rue..."[[note]]"I lost touch, I no longer had a feel for life. Drugs are like when you close your eyes and cross the road." A lot of his quotes can evoke DudeNotFunny when rendered coherently in a single language.[[/note]]
* ItRunsInTheFamily: He nominated his daughter Bianca for the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. In the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j26Zbuhsqfk video]], Bianca shows off what her father ''and'' mother (Portugues) were famous for.
* MrFanservice: Guaranteed to show off his perfect ass in ''most'' films he stars in.
** Of his own admission, he may be perfectly comfortable with showing off his ass but full frontal is a whole different story, quote, "I wouldn't want to lose all my fans."
* NiceGuy: By all accounts in RealLife, apparently.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent:
** Much like Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger, he is also fairly well known for his thick Belgian accent.
** [[Film/StreetFighter Coll eet ay]] ''[[MemeticMutation waikako]]''.
** [[Film/DoubleTeam Benkakan nahmburz.]]
* RealMenWearPink: He once took {{Ballet}} classes (and attests to how brutally difficult it truly is).
* SelfDeprecatingHumor: Zigzagged; at the height of his fame and success he developed a bit of a reputation for humorless pomposity and taking himself overly seriously, but particularly in many of his later roles (such as ''Film/{{JCVD}}'', ''Film/WelcomeToTheJungle'' and ''Series/JeanClaudeVanJohnson'') he has displayed more of a willingness to poke fun at himself and the type of roles he takes.
* SerialSpouse: Married 5 times to four women, although he was married to his third (and current) wife for more than 15 years in total.
* ShirtlessScene: Nearly every movie features him ''at least'' shirtless a minimum of once. Several movies have shown him completely nude. It helps that he has a very nice body.
* YourCheatingHeart: Cheated on his third wife with a lady who eventually became his fourth wife. He then cheated on his fourth wife with Music/KylieMinogue, his ''StreetFighter'' co-star. His fourth wife was then pregnant AND had a cameo in the same movie.