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Review Knock Off (1998): One of the better ones Van Damme has been in!

genre: action, crime, martial arts







One thing you have to understand about this film that it's a Tsui Hark vehicle more than it is a Jean-Claude Van Damme one. If you never seen a Tsui Hark film then there is a good chance you might get a little overwhelmed by his zaniness. However it's the good kind so you will find yourself liking it more than disliking it.

In general Tsui Hark isn't bothered by lack of plot or characterization. He basically will move you from one scene to the next packed with a lot of energy and style. Especially the action is exciting. Rarely does he let up and are you given a chance to think about what is happening. You aren't supposed to. Most of the cast have very little dialogue and might come across as juvenile and weird. It really doesn't matter because you will get the gist of it just fine. Strangely enough other characters get to shine next to Jean-Claude Van Damme and for the Van Damme fans that might seem a little odd. Lela Rochon, Michael Wong and Rob Schneider of all people also get the chance to beat up bad guys. Michael Wong doesn't even get introduced properly. He is just there without actually telling the other characters who he is and what he is doing there. If I never had seen a Tsui Hark film before that might have bothered me. But since I have it's just one of those things you will have to accept. I still am not quite sure why he is given so much work in Hong Kong as he has. He seems like a nice guy but he often is playing the same role over and over again without actually making his character interesting. That in itself is quite an accomplishment but maybe someone can explain it to me. Perhaps I am missing something. That being said, it does look like he gave it his all stunt wise and for that he should be commended. Apparently Lela Rochon also did a whole lot more stunt wise. It was pretty impressive and I would have liked to see her pursue more of those kinds of roles. The odd duck in the film is Paul Sorvino. He doesn't belong here and he knows it. But instead of looking annoyed like Bruce Willis would he let himself succumb to Tsui Hark's craziness with much comedic effect.

Van Damme himself seems to be in a constant state of euphoria and joy. I read that he was coked up throughout the film and that explains a lot. Well whatever the reason for his state it helped sell his character because he he is very different from how he normally acts. It's fun and refreshing.

Knock Off might not be Tsui Hark's best but it is one of the better films Van Damme has been in.






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