"Don't call it a comeback!"
Previously languishing in straight-to-video obscurity, Jean-Claude Van Damme returns with JCVD, a shaggy, hilarious, and winning portrait-of-an-artist-as-an-aging-action-star. Beginning in an unusually autobiographical vein, wherein the titular "Muscles from Brussles" fights for custody of his daughter in court and struggles to land a credible movie role, it veers into nominal Van Damme-territory as the washed-up icon finds himself in the middle of a dangerously real bank heist. From there, the movie begins to double back on itself, cooking up an off-kilter mixture of genre play, movie-movie self-reflexivity, and thrilling fight scenes (shades of Irma Vep?). It's the first great WTF? movie of the year, and after a wearying season of self-important, risk-free Oscar contenders, it's a welcome one.