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Review Double Team (1997): Worse than I remember but action wise it rocks!

genre: action, science fiction

Dennis Rodman is an acquired taste. For some Jean-Claude Van Damme is as well. But whoever thought it was wise to team these two up deserves to be shot.

If Rodman wasn't in this film it would have increased the entertainment value tenfold. His attempt at comedy and trying to be a genuine action star is awful.  And the constant referencing to him being a basketball player just isn't funny. His weirdness should have worked with Tsui Hark's style of direction. Turns out that Rodman is even too weird for Tsui Hark. Let that sink in for a minute. Tsui Hark is easily one of the wackiest and strangest film makers in the world.

Van Damme however is perfectly solid as the lead. He doesn't kick and punch as much as you would expect him too nevertheless he does kick ass in major ways. Only using guns and acrobatics instead. The energetic and hyper kinetic style of Tsui Hark blends real well with the way he moves. And it's something he would continue in Knock Off (also directed by Tsui Hark) and already started doing in John Woo's Hard Target and in Maximum Risk (directed by Ringo Lam). Naturally in some scenes it's obvious that it's not Van Damme himself doing the stunts. But that doesn't matter in the slightest since the stunt people did a very good job of making look everything look good and spectaculair. 

Mickey Rourke might not have a super big role he still makes his presence count whenever he is on the screen. The emphasis is now more on his physique and boxing than his acting chops but I have to admit that Mickey in this film looked great. In hindsight it does look like there seemed to be more plot concerning him that was cut for some reason. If not then that should have been the story. Rourke as a not entirely bad antagonist who wants revenge for his son should have had more importance than the whole Colony (think tank) thing. Although even that seemed like something that had more significance initially. It's not uncommon for Hark to lose focus or forget about complete plot lines in favour of the spectacle. I am fine with that.

Double Team is slick, stylish and action packed. There are moments that can be highly entertaining and there are moments that are incredibly cheesy and bad. But overall it's quite entertaining if you don't get bogged down by Dennis Rodman and his antics.

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