Top critical review
An average slam dunk for Van Damme
on January 26, 2012
Double Team(released April/97)stars Jean Claude Van Damme as a secret counter terrorist expert Jack Quinn,Dennis Rodman as an Antwerp arms dealer called Yaz,and Mickey Rourke as their nemesis,a terrorist named Stavros.Rodman was the one colourful member of the Chicago Bulls three-star unbeatable scoring line,along with Scotty Pippen and the legendary Michael Jordan.Rodman was frequently in the news for his bad boy behaviour and flamboyant dress,the latter much in view in this movie.During his recent dedication into the Basketball Hall of Fame,Rodman,tearfully looking back on his career,said that his outside persona was,for the most part,only a front.This movie has many,many references to his ball playing days and were much more relevant to viewing audiences back when this film was released,but they haven't worn well with age,especially to a newer generation that may not be as familiar with The Bulls and Rodman as others may be.And unfortunately his lines,along with Rodman's stiffness in the acting department,doesn't enhance the movie along one bit.Rourke pulls in a good,dark and moody performance as Stavros and works well off of Van Damme.
The opening finds Jack Quinn,a member of a secretive counter terrorist outfit,having to steal a shipment of plutonium bound for Iraq from some Romanians.Three years later he is living the good life with his wife in a beautiful villa when the organization,that he apparently had walked away from three years prior,comes a-calling again.This time it is personal as his old nemesis Stavros is back and they have the perfect plan to take him down,for the perfect man to do it.Quinn reluctantly agrees to the job which is to ambush Stavros at a carnival.Before the take down Quinn visits an arms dealer in Antwerp by the name of Yaz,who fulfills his need for some serious weaponry.
The situation at the carnival turns south fairly quickly and in the melee' Stavros' only son is accidentally shot.Well now it is extra personal between Stavros and Quinn.Stavros gets away and Quinn,seriously injured including a broken leg,loses his man.
Next day Quinn wakes up on an island.It seems the organization he works for does not take to failure too kindly and all who do end up there either work for them as consultants,or dead if they do not agree to stay.While there Quinn meets both friend and foe from his past,all supposed to be dead,and almost from the get go he is determined to escape no matter what the consequences.He trains for months in secret,building his strength and endurance back up,and finally the day comes of his escape and he still has to get past the tight security and the tightly timed lasers set up in the water into which he must dive into.There are no room for errors as he just barely manages to grab onto a skid of material being picked up from the water by plane.Into the air he goes and through perseverance manages to board the plane and hi-jack it.
His first stop is Antwerp and Yaz agrees to help Quinn get to Stavros and his wife,who is pregnant and a captive of Stavros.He tracks Stavros down to an old amphitheater in Rome whose field has been laid with mines.Before he confronts Stavros,Quinn must escape from a roaming tiger which he does by leading said cat to one of Stavros's men.Meanwhile Yaz has Quinns baby and he stashes it in a safe place and heads into the field to help Quinn.Stavros and Quinn are duking and kicking it out as he flies into the situation on a bike.All three consequently end up stepping onto trip mines,with Yaz being able to disarm his.Quinn soon finds he has stepped on nothing and it is Stavros who is on the real mine.It seems Yaz had been there previously and uprooted and replanted some stakes designating where the mines actually were.Yaz and Quinn flee the area as the tiger enters the arena and confronts Stavros,who now is resigned to his death.As the cat pounces he releases his foot setting off a huge explosion.Outside Quinn is confronted by a member of the organization from the island.Each member had a guardian assigned to them,and if one strayed or tried to escape the guardian,they would pursue to kill.However Yaz intervenes with a toss of his lucky coin,which produces an instant cloud whose cover Quinn uses to escape with his son.
This movie really moves but it practically races over the little nuances that tie many meaningful parts of the plot together.That is why on first viewing one may lose track of why Quinn is doing a certain thing at a certain time and why he is at where he is.It is only with repeated viewings that I able to pick things up that I had missed the first time.It's major failing,when all is said and done,is it tries hard to do too much,and not very well.The script is also second rate stuff,with,as noted above,Rodman looking a little out of his league.Van Damme and Rourke play well off of each other and both really worked hard to get into shape for this film.Director Hark Tsui must have thought he was smart interjecting the tiger into the film twice in key parts.The first time it was the tiger that swiped Stavros`s wife into the path of the bullets which ultimately killed her and their son.The second time was the chase through the amphitheater.The reason for its`appearances may have had more to do with just impressing the films makers Mandalay films,whose logo is the tiger(seen in the pre-credits),than an actual plot device.
Technically speaking the film is in its original a/r of 2:35:1 and generally looks clear and crisp,but at times is slightly grainy and could use a good remastering.It is also in 5.1 Dolby stereo and surround sound.The only extra is the trailer.
In conclusion,just an average Van Damme entry,hampered by a poor script,too fast a pace in crucial moments and basketball star Dennis Rodman`s stiff thespian skills.The latter`s appearance was a blatant move to cash in on his then substantial fame and to boost the film`s cred;it did neither.