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Jean-Claude Van Damme stars in an explosive thriller set in Hong Kong's shady manufacturing scene during the 1997 handover to China! When a shipment of jeans to the U.S. proves counterfeit, Marcus Ray, the "King of The Knock-Offs" (Van Damme) finds himself at the center of a Russian Mafia plot to hold the United States security for ransom. Thousands of tiny micro-bombs, disguised within other manufactured goods, are scheduled for departure from Hong Kong to America. When Ray's company's jeans are found to be the housing for the explosives, he's the one man the CIA can count on to prevent certain disaster! In a territory where loyalty can change hands overnight, Marcus Ray's survival will depend on him knowing the fakes from the real thing.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
The plot involves one Marcus Ray(Van Damme)who manufactures and sells V-6 jeans along with partner Tommy Hendricks(Schneider);set behind the take over of Hong Kong by China from Britain(about 2 years ahead of the actual event).The two have gotten themselves involved along the way in selling knock offs,clothes and items like the real thing,but not.One of Marcus' closest friends gets kidnapped during a rickshaw race in the streets.To add to this chaos,the Russians come into the picture and are into the miniaturization of bombs made to look like buttons or watch batteries.They are planting these items in various knock offs leaving Hong Kong and Marcus and Tommy are the front dupes for it,but do not know it.It seems Marcus's close friend twigged onto what was happening and that is why he was taken away.
However the Police become VERY interested in the knock off trade and the two are hauled in for questioning.They haven't even got off the floor yet when they are stopped and interrogated by V-6 jeans American contact in Hong Kong,Karen Lee(Lela Rochon).She is onto the knock off scheme and warns about the trouble they are in and face.Both set about to clear themselves,and eventually they come across Marcus' kidnapped friend in a squalid section of town.When he opens the safe to give Marcus the proof of what the Russian' are up to an explosive rocket hurtles out and kills him.The locals think the two have just killed him and Tommy and Marcus flee for their lives. They get separated and Marcus comes upon Tommy talking to someone about their operation and thinks Tommy is part of the set up.Read more ›
So many problems witht this movie. Let's start with the small things. It is horrribly done. The camerwork is horrendous and the special effects are extremely cheesy and pointless. Those of you who may think that Rob Schneider is going to help this film on many levels...sorry, you're wrong. He's a very funny guy and, unfortunately, he got this horrribly written part. Van Damme, he's just awful!
The worst part of this piece... is the story! WHAT THE HELL? That's what I was saying the whole time I was watching this bomb! Something about selling products that are knock offs and Van Damme is a big cheat or something. Suddenly, there is all sorts of action and baddies and it turns out that everyone that Van Damme thought he could trust...he can't. WHO CARES? So Van Damme starts runnning around town, fighting people for no reason and screaming lines like "YOU LIED TO ME!" in that horrid French accent of his.
So, to finish up, Knock Off is an awful film. Don't pick this up. Please listen to me, I'm trying to save you here. We only live once, so don't spend any of that precious time on this! Knock Off makes Batllefield Earth look FANTASTIC! Van Damme, you have got to stop making movies!
Hong Kong movies often have impressive stunts and fighting scenes, and the better sort (e.g. Jackie Chan's *Rumble in the Bronx*) sometimes even have good camerawork and photography. What they almost never have, however, is a really good script.
*Knock Off* is precisely the opposite: it was written by one of Hollywood's best action screenwriters, Steven E. de Souza, the author of the first two *Die Hard*, among other classics. De Souza knows what drama is about, and if you try to abstract from what you see to what the original script must originally have looked like, you'll realize that behind *Knock Off* is a really good story involving fake designer jeans, Russian nanobombs, a CIA traitor, Hong Kong cops and enough twists and turns to make a highly entertaining story, livened up by a wacky, tongue-in-cheek attitude reminiscent of the author's *Hudson Hawk*.
However, seeing that might require much more effort than the ordinary movie-goer is capable of, for visually, the movie is completely spoiled by its director, Tsui Hark, who had done a much more decent job on the *Once Upon a Time in China* series. In the making of, actor Michael Fitzgerald Wong says of Tsui Hark that he "loves chaos". As for Tsui Hark himself, he explains he "tried to make the camera as free as possible", so as to give the impression of a "lunatic rushing through everything". This gives you an idea of his style, which is so epileptic and full of mannerisms that the action often becomes virtually incomprehensible, and that it is sometimes hard to understand who is doing what to whom where.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
fun fun fun. Van Damme has never disappointing me. his movies are fun and exciting. Great movie, Great action a Great film.Published on March 2 2014 by David
This was a really cool movie with great stunts, great comedy, and great camera views. This was plain and simply one of the best JCVD movies ever. Read morePublished on April 14 2004 by Carlos Haran
I rented this movie on video like 4 years ago,my whole family watched it and we were all pleased.And like a year ago i saw it on DVD and i loved watching it again. Read morePublished on Dec 14 2003 by Chase
this is one of my favourite van-damme movies and its definatly his funniest!, his opening scene was classic!. Read morePublished on Dec 7 2003
purely for fans of crappy Van Damme movies again like I says. really corny from beginning to end. Paul Sorvino is totally and utterly fat and moronic in this one. Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2003 by Michael Bolts
Jean-Claude Van Damme is one of those actors you either are a fan of or you despise. Me? I'm a big fan, so that makes me a little less qualified to rate this film, but I'll review... Read morePublished on Oct. 2 2002 by L. Varnau
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