Best movie: Bloodsport (1988)
At this point it’s painfully clear that Jean-Claude Van Damme will never have the title “Academy Award winner” attached to his name—not unless there is a category for getting down with Kylie Minogue. But the man certainly knows his Ninjutsu. In Bloodsport, Van Damme got to show off his physical prowess for the world in a film that has become an absolute cult phenomenon.
The movie deals with Van Damme competing in an underground fighting tournament in order to honor his mentor. The less you try to think about the plot the better because the real highlight here is the raw physicality Van Damme brings to every frame of this film. In the history of cinema, no other movie has done such a good job of making everyone who watches it feel like a fat slob. But intense jealously aside, it’s still a thrill to watch Van Damme do his thing on the silver screen.
Runner-up: Hard Target (1993)
Notable for being the first American film directed by John Woo, Hard Target brings some class action scenes to the screen, but it also features a shoddy story and stiff acting from Van Damme. However, the kicking, punching, and explosions are legit enough to make Hard Target the second-best action flick on Van Damme’s resume. Sure, we’ve seen better acting in grammar school productions of Othello, but you can't ignore the mayhem that Woo and Van Damme put onto the screen together.