The only acting award Jean-Claude Van Damme has ever won is a Razzie and the reviews of his movies have been mediocre at best. Until now. “Epic” and “mind-blowing” are the words being used to describe a video in which the Belgian-born action star does the splits between two Volvo trucks in a new ad that went up on YouTube and was viewed more than 6 million times in two days. “I’ve had my ups and downs. My fair share of bumpy roads and heavy winds. That’s what made me what I am today,” says Van Damme, 53, in a voice-over at the start of the video. “Now I stand here before you.
What you see is a body crafted to perfection.” As the camera pulls back, Van Damme is seen standing on the rear-view mirrors of two side-by-side trucks. The trucks are moving backward on an empty chunk of highway. Van Damme says he has “a pair of legs engineered to defy the laws of physics, and a mind-set to master the most epic of splits.” And then the two trucks slowly move apart as they travel in reverse, with Van Damme’s legs spreading with them. This continues until Van Damme is in a complete split. The film was designed to show the stability of Volvo steering, explains Jan-Inge Svensson, the engineer behind the development of the system’s software at Volvo Trucks, on the Volvo website. “The stability and control are so good that you can reverse a truck over a long distance with very high precision, which is exactly what we’ve
had to do in this film. It had to be perfect — right down to the last centimeter.”