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The Last Mercenary - What We Know So Far

Jean-Claude Van Damme rose to prominence throughout the 1980s and '90s with a string of action classics in the form of "Kickboxer," "Bloodsport," "Hard Target," and "Universal Soldier." As Mental Floss notes, Van Damme is considered the graceful alternative to the hulking brute action icons of that era — Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, et al — due to his ballet-esque fighting style and sheer unpredictability. Unfortunately, movies in the spirit of Van Damme's beloved gems from yesteryear aren't box office attractions for general audiences these days. That being said, the Muscles from Brussels has continued to thrive in the world of DTV action fare doing what he does best, and he's also taken a few creative gambles in his time.

Van Damme is no one-trick pony. While most of his movies have him performing a roundhouse kick or two, he's proven time and time again that he's interested in incorporating fresh elements into his arsenal. Self-parodying movies and shows like "JCVD" and "Jean-Claude Van Johnson" are proof that he can make audiences change their perception of him whenever a shake-up is needed. That's the mentality that he's taking into "The Last Mercenary," which will see him try to solidify himself as a comedy star (according to Deadline). Here's what we know about the movie so far.

When will The Last Mercenary be released?

A new Jean-Claude Van Damme movie is always exciting for fans of the Belgian martial artist, but it risks being overshadowed by other releases this year. According to Deadline, "The Last Mercenary" is one of many titles that will come out as part of Netflix's exciting — and stacked — 2021 release slate. The action-comedy will hit the streaming platform on July 30. Add the date to your calendar and get ready for what promises to be a thrill ride with plenty of heart.

"The Last Mercenary" will be part of Netflix's ongoing efforts to bring top-quality action fare to the library. Following the success of last year's "Extraction," the streamer is placing more focus on big-budget genre projects, and they're sparing no expense in the A-lister department. "Army of the Dead" recently dropped and was met with positive reviews, and Dwayne Johnson's "Red Notice" will be available to view in the coming months.

Who's in The Last Mercenary?

Obviously, Jean-Claude Van Damme will be the star of the show in "The Last Mercenary." He's the guy playing the eponymous mercenary, tasked with completing a dangerous high-stakes mission. However, the movie also boasts a supporting cast made up of European talent who haven't cropped up in many Hollywood films in the past. Comedian Eric Judor — who is one-half of the popular French duo Eric and Ramzy — has the opportunity to expand his profile to a global audience with his appearance in "The Last Mercenary."

Elsewhere, Miou-Miou will make an appearance, marking a change from her typical drama-focused outings. According to IMDB, she's a 10-time Cesar Award nominee who once refused to accept the prize because she's against the belief that actors should compete against each other. It remains to be seen if her character will engage in competitive combat in this movie, though.

Rounding out the main cast are Valerie Kaprisky, Alban Ivanov, Samir Decazza, Assa Sylla, Nassim Lyes, and Mike Gassaway, the latter of whom will portray a character named Chief Sanders. At the time of this writing, Gassaway is one of the only performers listed on IMDB whose character has an actual name. Some action aficionados will also be familiar with the actor due to his stunt work on "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum," and he's also lent his talents to the upcoming "Top Gun: Maverick."

What's The Last Mercenary all about?

Directed by David Charhon from a script he co-wrote with Ismaël Sy Savané, "The Last Mercenary" sees Van Damme play a secret service agent who must return to France and save his son from a predicament. The agent's offspring finds himself entangled in a situation that involves drug trafficking, arms dealing, the mafia, and government officials, so expect there to be some predicaments that result in some carnage. However, while that seems like a generic action-thriller plot, "The Last Mercenary" supposedly has a mushy center.

According to Van Damme (per Deadline), his character is in the same vein as those played by the legendary Jean-Paul Belmondo back in the day, and he hopes to put his own stamp on this type of action-driven comedy moving forward. He also described the movie as a "beautiful story with emotion, a lot of action and a lot of humor." For Charhon, meanwhile, "The Last Mercenary" will be a throwback to the stunt-driven action movies of the genre's golden age, and he chose Van Damme for the part because the Muscles from Brussels embodies that era of filmmaking more than most performers.