Jean-Claude Van Damme is best known for two things: being an action star and his ability to perform the splits. The Belgian actor rose to prominence in the 1980s, starring in the likes of Bloodsport and Kickboxer. Of course, back then he was a spry 20 to 30-something year-old. Kicking, punching, and contorting his body was no big deal. At 53, such physically demanding stunts are harder to pull off. But as this new ad proves, Van Damme still has it.
In an advertisement for Volvo trucks, we see JCVD performing his signature splits between two moving vehicles…driving backwards. Using the stunt “to demonstrate the stability and precision of Volvo Dynamic Steering,” the ad really proves Van Damme is in ridiculously good shape. Or, as he says: “What you see before you is a body crafted to perfection.”
While his body is perfect, Van Damme’s life has not always been. In the 1990s, he suffered from a cocaine addiction, went through a vicious divorce, and was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For a period, he was also stuck doing direct-to-DVD releases and it seemed as though his career was all but finished. Van Damme alludes to his rough past in the ad, saying: “I’ve had my ups and downs. My fair share of bumpy roads and heavy winds.” However, the mood does not remain dour. Set to Enya’s “Only Time,” Van Damme then proclaims these trials are what made him the man his is today – a man who can perform “the most epic of splits.” Van Damme, we are not worthy.