Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Knock Off (1998) * * *

Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rob Schneider, Paul Sorvino, Lela Rochon, Michael Wong

Directed by Tsui Hark

Jean-Claude stars as a fashion designer and jeans manufacturer who finds himself in the middle of a scheme to smuggle bombs in his company product’s jeans, while his business partner and CIA flunkie Rob Scheider find themselves the target of Russian mobsters, Triads and disgruntled CIA agents. Knock Off is one of those movies that goes in the camp files. Jean-Claude Van Damme a typically decent action star is completely hopeless in his Jackie Chan attempt at humor. Indeed Jean-Claude reminds one more of a kung fu expert Jerry Lewis and the result is a mess, but a compulsively watchable one mind you. Rob Schneider is also completely miscast as an undercover CIA agent, while even heavyweight talent Paul Sorvino fails to do much with his role. Then again this movie is essentially a James Bond Movie meets Halloween III, with some jaw dropping ludicrous directing touches such as Jean-Claude’s foot going into a sock, dubbing so out of synch it’s beyond surreal and of missiles propelling a guy against a wall before finally exploding. Knock Off of course is a camp classic due to its sheer nutty chaos, something that is better appreciated now better than when it came out. From a technical standpoint the movie just doesn’t make any sense and to this day I have no idea how to explain what took place. Yet Knock Off remains relatively fascinating to watch throughout

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