Just two weeks ago after I saw The Avengers, I walked out of the theatre thinking, “Could there be any worse film than this?” After seeing Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Knock Off, a little voice in the back of my head is screaming “Yes!”
The opening to the film is a mish-mash of non-adrenaline-pumping action. It introduces us to the slim story line of the film There are bad guys, Russians of course, who have miniaturized explosives to the point that they are the size of watch batteries. The bad guys plan to put these mini-bombs into everything, including pants, dolls, and radios. The bad guys want to blow up the world unless the world is willing to pay to live.
The reason I went to see Knock Off was not for Van Damme, who is a complete dolt, but because of the director Tsui Hark. Hark, who worked with John Woo in Hong Kong, is the epitome of a Woo-knock-off. I wanted to see if Hark’s work has gotten any better than some of the stuff he’s been putting out in Hong Kong and his debut American film, Double Team. Has he gotten any better? No. Hark continues to be a sub-par Woo-wannabe. And with this second American film he still has one big thing working against him The Jean-Claude Van Damme Curse.
I don’t understand why some of the big Hong Kong directors making their move to America have to be cursed with making their debut film with this dolt Van Damme. First, John Woo made the mediocre Hard Target with Van Damme. Then Ringo Lam made Maximum Risk. Now it’s Tsui Hark, who didn’t learn with Double Team, trying again with Knock Off. Woo got off OK, but he had to work hard to regain his status as a master filmmaker (following Hard Target were the better Broken Arrow and Face/Off). Lam made a good effort with Maximum Risk and has yet to come out with another film. What Hark lacks, that both Woo and Lam have, is talent. Hark’s direction in Knock Off is hideous.
I would write about acting but there is none to be seen in Knock Off. Van Damme can’t and will probably never learn how to act. Van Damme makes me miss Steven Seagal. Who surprised me in Knock Off was Paul Sorvino. What’s an actor like Sorvino doing in a movie like Knock Off? I guess every actor has bills to pay. Rob Schneider is biting-aluminum-annoying in Knock Off. Every time he was onscreen, I wanted a bad guy to take out Schneider’s character.
Knock Off shows that an action picture can be boring. I was constantly looking at my watch during the film and felt sleepy 20 minutes into the film. Call the ambulance; I think this film is dead. If you take anything away from reading this review, take this message Skip Knock Off! Skip Knock Off!
Edited by Cher Johnson.