Listeners of See You Next Wednesday will remember that in the formative year of the podcast’s life, one of our first segments was the Hero Swap. Initially it consisted of taking an action star (like Axel Foley of Beverly Hills Cop) and considering how he’d fare in another character’s film and location (Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard). Soon after, the segment morphed into Hero Swap: Cage Match and action stars were pitted in a fight to the death in order to find out who would reign supreme. In this case, it turned out to be The Bride from Kill Bill.

As it turns out, over the next few months at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto there will be a fight of a similar kind. That’s right, TIFF is pitting two of action’s top stars in a programming-based fight to the death with their Versus: Van Damme vs. Seagal series. Whether you’ve been dying to see Kickboxer on the big-screen again, or you just legitimately love how awesome Above The Law is, these are must-see screenings for any action fan!

Check out more information on the series below, and don’t forget to snag your tickets!

In TIFF’s new ongoing seasonal series, Versus, audiences cast their vote to celebrate what film culture is all about: bloody, glorious victory and pathetic, ignominious defeat. In each edition, we pit two cinematic rivals against each other, screening a selections of films from each to give both of them a chance to show their mettle. After each screening, audiences vote for the combatant of their choice—at the end of the season, the ballots are counted and a winner proclaimed, with a triumphant showing of one of their previously unscreened classics.

To inaugurate this arena of cinematic combat, we present a knock-down, drag-out, no-holds-barred contest between two heavyweights of the action genre: Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal. Get ready for some high kicks, snapped forearms, and groin-punishing splits as we trace these twin icons’ two-decade journey from hard-bodied to haggard in which we show four classic titles from each of these legends of silver screen. Local film critics Andrew Parker and Calum Marsh will debate the merits of each star at the first screening of the series Bloodsport (1988), as well as introduce each title to offer deeper understanding of Van Damme and Seagal’s respective artistry.

Screenings and Dates:

Above the Law – Tuesday, November 18 at 9.30 p.m.
dir. Andrew Davis | USA | 1988 | 99 min. | R | 35mm

Universal Soldier – Tuesday, December 2 at 9 p.m.
dir. Roland Emmerich | USA | 1992 | 103 min. | R | 35mm

Hard to Kill – Tuesday, December 9 at 9.30 p.m.
dir. Bruce Malmuth | USA | 1990 | 96 min. | 14A | 35mm

Hard Target
– Tuesday, December 16 at 9 p.m.
dir. John Woo | USA | 1993 | 97 min. | R | 35mm

Out for Justice – Tuesday, December 23 at 9 p.m.
dir. John Flynn | USA | 1991 | 91 min. | 35mm

JCVD – Tuesday, December 30 at 9:30 p.m.
dir. Mabrouk El Mechri | Belgium/France/Luxembourg | 2008 | 96 min. | 14A | 35mm

Under Siege – Tuesday, January 6 at 9 p.m.
dir. Andrew Davis | USA | 1992 | 103 min. | 14A | Digital

Finally, on Tuesday, January 13 at 9 p.m., the victor of the vote and their triumphant final screening will take place at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Dan Gorman