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Who Can Save Us From The Government? Van Damme and Lundgren, That’s Who

Bros before sinister government plots.
Universal Soldier Van Damme Screencap
TriStar Pictures
By  · Published on January 6th, 2017

Action mainstays Jean Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren will co-star in an upcoming project, reports THR, and for the first time in their checkered, baby-oiled careers, they’ll be fighting for the same team.

The film in question is called Black Water, and the script comes care of prolific B-Movie action vet Chad Law (6 Bullets, Hero Wanted, The Hit List). Van Damme will play a deep cover operative who wakes up imprisoned in a CIA black site, which is located on a submarine because shut up of course it is. Now if you’re like me, your brain is full with the kickdrums from the Bloodsport OST and you don’t have a super clear idea of what a black site is. Fear not, I looked it up: it’s an undisclosed location where projects unacknowledged by the government take place, ergo the film’s delightfully humdrum tagline: “some secrets never surface.” What shady shit is happening on this submarine, and Van Damme’s connection to it, remains to be seen. Maybe they’re trying to weaponize his splits, who knows.

There’s no word yet regarding Lundgren’s character, but I’d venture a guess he’ll be there to punch baddies in the name of FRIENDSHIP, and doggie paddle Van Damme the heck out of that submarine. What good buds, right? Right.

But this wasn’t always this way.

Until Black Water, Van Damme and Lundgren’s streak of cinematic animosity was uncontested; a constant like Tom Cruise running, or Brad Pitt eating. Sure, both can throw (and take) a punch, so it’s only natural to want them to square off. But the trend is bucked! And if there were ever a time to commemorate this ceasefire with a look back at the times these two have spent punching each other, it’s now.

Without further adieu:

Universal Soldier (1992)

The feud: Two soldiers kill each other in Vietnam, only to be reanimated by a government army project to join a super soldier counter-terrorism unit. An unfortunate side effect is the amplification of the subject’s last living moments: Van Damme wants to go home and see his folks, and the unstable Lundgren wants to kill Van Damme for being an insurgent.

Who wins: Van Damme, by impaling Lundgren on a hay harvester, as one does.

Memorable quip: Lundgren: Say good night, asshole. / Van Damme: Good night asshole.

Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009)

The feud: Continuing from the plot of the original, supersoldier Van Damme is pulled from rehabilitation to save the Ukrainian PM’s children, who are being held hostage by terrorists and, eventually, a cloned version of Lundgren.

Who wins: Van Damme, by impaling Lundgren’s forehead with a lead pipe and firing a shotgun through it, as one does.

Memorable quip: Lundgren: “We’ve been over this all before.” (YES, YES WE HAVE)

Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012)

The feud: From what I can piece together (no seriously, this movie’s plot is like an impenetrable B-Movie swamp and was never meant to be coherently described) ‐ Van Damme has become a cult leader, and has found a way to mind control other supersoldiers, which is what he’s doing with a Lundgren clone. Presumably the only thing keeping Lundgren’s “Kill Van Damme” urge at bay is the fact that they don’t share any scenes together.

Who wins: Nobody. Nobody wins with this movie. It is a curse.

Memorable quip: Me watching this movie/Van Damme: [Accepting defeat] “There is no end.”

The Expendables 2 (2012)

The feud: Lundgren is the ironically volatile chemist of the Expendables, everyone’s favorite mercenary group of aging action heroes. Van Damme is the super creatively named Jean Vilain, the international criminal and arms dealer baddie Lundgren and friends must stop.

Who wins: The Expendables, and by extension, Lundgren.

Memorable quip: Stallone: [pulling Van Damme’s head out of a bag] “Heads up!”

Black Water is rumored for a 2018 release.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).