Jean-Claude Van Damme, the action movie star known for acrobatic splits, performed perhaps his greatest stunt yet in a viral ad for Volvo trucks.
"The Muscles from Brussels" displays impressive flexibility when he stands between two moving trucks in the spot. It opens with a close-up of Van Damme, with his eyes closed and arms folded. With one foot on each side mirror, the 53-year-old slowly does a split as the vehicles gradually drift apart while moving in reverse.
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He stoically maintains his stance for the duration of the drive. The commercial lasts one minute, 17 seconds.
"I've had my ups and downs, my fair share of bumpy roads and heavy winds," Van Damme's voiceover begins, as Enya's "Only Time" plays in the background. “That’s what made me what I am today. Now I stand here before you, what you see is a body crafted to perfection, a pair of legs engineered to defy the laws of physiques and a mindset to master the most epic of splits."
The commercial has aired on TV overseas, and is meant to show Volvo's Dynamic Steering feature. Van Damme and the Swedish carmaker said in a statement
Thursday that the stunt was real.
"It's going to be quite unusual, and the first time we'll ever see anything like it — in a movie or a commercial," Van Damme said in the statement, according to multiple news outlets. "Before doing the split between the trucks, I saw the storyboard and thought it looked amazing. It's very majestic and very powerful."
The commercial ends with the message that the feat was executed by "trained professionals in a closed-off area."
Van Damme became an action star in films like "Bloodsport," "Sudden Death," "Double Impact" and "Time Cop." He also recently played the villain in 2012's "The Expendables 2," alongside Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, and Bruce Willis.
Throughout a career that has spanned two decades, he has performed countless splits on film. Just never quite like this.
"Compared with the previous Volvo Trucks' films, which have a documentary style, we wanted to make something more poetic," Andreas Nilsson, the director behind 'The Epic Split,' said in the statement. "The film is very clean and simple — there isn't a lot of information and we just let the stunt illustrate what the trucks can do. It's like a slow-moving, carefully choreographed modern dance."
The Van Damme spot follows other Volvo viral commercials for their trucks, including "The Chase," "The Hamster Stunt," "The Hook" and "The Ballerina Stunt."
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