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Action
 

A famous action hero/martial arts star comes out of retirement to assume an alter ego as undercover private contractor

 
Episode Title: Pilot
Airs: 2016-08-19 at
  • Melanie McFarland

    In celebrating who Van Damme was at the peak of his career and who he is after his long fall from grace, about which the actor has been brutally honest, Callaham and Van Damme grant this series a balance of absurdity and gentle earnestness, even allowing it to end on a warm existential note.

    Salon Full Review
  • Allison Keene

    While the emu farm itself is funny (because emus), the story takes something of a deeper turn towards the end of the season, as an emotionally beleaguered JCVD learns to love and accept himself first. It’s what makes Jean-Claude Van Johnson something beyond one long SNL spoof; but having said that, the joy of Jean-Claude Van Johnson is how breezy and silly it can be.

    Collider Full Review
  • Rob Lowman

    The series has something of a “True Lies” feel, with its plot winking at itself. There is plenty of action and suspense and even a “Timecop” twist. J-C, though, is a different sort of action-figure, filled with more self-doubt and regret then you usually see in the movies. But even with that, the series smartly never takes itself too seriously.

    Los Angeles Daily News Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    All the elements work well together, but Van Damme owns the show’s six episodes. Even when he’s dead serious playing himself, he has an almost Buster Keaton-like skill at deadpan humor.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Michael Haigis

    The overarching parody of the series becomes repetitive when an already implausible plot literally doubles down on the absurd. ... The entire enterprise is undergirded only by Van Damme's performance; his athleticism lends itself to physical humor that the actor amplifies with surprising comedic timing.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    Van Damme--older, wiser and slower, also wrinkled, hunched and melancholy--salvages an otherwise fascinating, uneven mess.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Ben Travers

    JCVJ does a better job of playfully incorporating its homages, but they still don’t build to anything more meaningful. Van Damme himself has a bit of fun playing another character, but exhibits little enthusiasm as “himself.” All in all, it’s a rather forgettable, and even if “JCVJ” finds an audience, this diversion could’ve resonated with a wider niche.

    Indiewire Full Review
  • Richard Brody

    The full series, run by Dave Callaham and directed by Peter Atencio, is a weird ride, living in an uneasy space of parody, satire, homage, and straight-ahead drama.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    Jean-Claude Van Johnson is just okay most of the time, occasionally verging on a mess. ... Still, Van Damme’s alternately bemused and haunting visage makes it worth a look.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    The whole international-spy thing gets repetitive fast. Kat Foster is awfully appealing as her own sort of intelligence agent whose cover is that she’s Van Damme’s hairdresser--it’s easy to see why the action hero still pines for her. That on-again, off-again romance isn’t very sustaining, however. The show is likable--no more, no less.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Dan Fienberg

    Directing all six installments, Atencio maintains high production values and when there's an action sequence opportunity--a fight-to-the-death in front of the Huck green screens or some of the climactic battles in the finale--he makes the most of it. It feels like more of a writing problem that whole episodes go by without anything amusing or memorable transpiring.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    To be fair, the idea underlying the show isn't a bad one. It's just in the execution where it would help if the star really could turn back time.

    CNN Full Review
  • Josh Bell

    The six-episode season gets increasingly outlandish, eventually including time travel, doppelgangers and a machine that controls the weather. It’s not quite enough to transcend the mediocre comedy, thin characters and rote fight scenes, but at least it’s more entertaining than another assembly-line D-level action movie.

    Las Vegas Weekly Full Review
  • Mike Hale

    Although occasionally funny, Jean-Claude Van Johnson sits in an odd no-man’s-land between clever self-parody and aggrieved vanity project.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Nick Allen

    Though clearly inspired, the overlapping cartoonish approach to this promising "return" proves to come from creativity that is clearly limited, instead of liberated.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review

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