For many film fans, Scott Adkins is the Jean-Claude Van Damme of a new generation. He is the undisputed king of the B-movie action genre and has delivered an array of new franchises such as Ninja and The Accident Man. The comparisons between him and the Muscles from Brussels are particularly strong since Adkins appeared in Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (alongside Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren) and Hard Target 2 (the sequel to the popular ’90s action flick where a mullet-adorning JCVD punched a snake for daring to hiss at him).
While Adkins has gone on record to admit he’s a big fan of Van Damme’s body of work, he also has no intention of retracing the actor’s steps and becoming a second-rate copy. In fact, he shot down the idea of starring in a reboot that JCVD himself suggested. Adkins’ viewpoint is understandable; however, that doesn’t mean it would be the worst idea in the world.
Working with Jean-Claude Van Damme
While the ’80s and ’90s were littered with action stars trying to imitate each other, it isn’t something that Scott Adkins is trying to do. Speaking to Screen Rant, Scott Adkins explained how he loved Jean-Claude Van Damme’s movies when he was growing up and looked up to him as an idol of sorts. In addition, he revealed it was a privilege to have the opportunity to star alongside him in several films. Still, he was hesitant to do too much with him because of perception.
“There have been times where I’ve wrestled with whether I should or shouldn’t do a movie because I didn’t want it to seem like I was riding on his coattails or trying to do so, but I just kept getting offered stuff that was with Jean-Claude,” Adkins said. “There’s stuff that I’ve been offered since that I’ve turned down for that very reason.”
It’s clear that while JCVD shaped Adkins’ decision to go into the world of action cinema, he also wants to be his own man and not be in his shadow.
On Scott Adkins’ official website, he used to answer fan questions in the early days. One commentator asked him if he would be interested in remaking Bloodsport at any point. Adkins explained how Undisputed is already a lot like Bloodsport in a major way before revealing another tantalising bit of trivia. “I wouldn’t want to follow so closely in Van Damme’s footsteps because there are so many comparisons to him already,” he wrote. “The first time I met with Jean-Claude he was talking about me doing a Kickboxer TV series, I said no because I thought it was dangerous to be a carbon copy of him but I was honoured that he thought of me for that.”
The news of the Kickboxer series is interesting since there were rumours of it flying around in the 2010s. Ultimately, a reboot of the franchise did happen, but as a new film series starring Alain Moussi as Kurt Sloane. Van Damme also rocked up in these movies, playing the role of Master Durand.
That being said, one can’t help but wonder how a Kickboxer TV series starring Scott Adkins as Kurt Sloane would have fared. The British martial artist has the necessary action credentials and acting ability for a high-profile gig like this, and he would have certainly made it his own. Although, it’s evident he would rather make his own characters rather than recreate JCVD’s career.