Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rob Schneider, Lela Rochon, Paul Sorvino, Carman Lee
Genre: Action, Comedy, Thriller
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 91 minutes
Having based so much of his career on the films from the region, Jean Claude Van Damme heads to Hong Kong itself for Knock Off. Set in the 72 hours running up to the British handover to China (and released a mere year after the actual event), the film's action centers around the colony's thriving bootleg business, tied in with a rather convoluted plot concerning the CIA, Russian Mafia, and an attempt to hold the United States ransom through covert attacks. The opening section unwisely tries Van Damme's hand at knockabout humor with partner Rob Schneider but merely proves that the star is severely lacking the sort of humorous touch that Arnold Schwarzenegger has so successfully utilized. Once Knock Off descends into more familiar Van Damme territory, the film--and its leading man--are on surer ground. There are a good deal of spectacular fight sequences, some amazing stunts, and a feisty female sparring partner in the form of Lela Rochen. Even the always-reliable Paul Sorvino pops up. Director Tsui Hark hits upon some interesting and initially invigorating visual effects but soon overdoes them, actually highlighting the lack of decent story rather than enhancing it. There is an incredible film to be made about this period in history but this isn't it. Knock Off is merely another undemanding, high-kicking, high-octane vehicle for Van Damme. --Phil Udell
I sign things too. In private.
Oh, things like that falsified document?
Oh, no, no, no! Ray signs all the false documents.
Oh, I agree. And I think you two have spent your time in Hong Kong getting drunk, chasing ass and getting massages in stead of taking care of company's business.
Look, the massage industry in Hong Kong is going through a really tough time right now. I'm just trying to help out the local college girls!