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3.2 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 5, 2011
Knock Off(Sept/98)is an above average Van Damme flick co starring SNL alumni Rob Schneider and Paul Sorvino.The action and laughs are plentiful in this romp in Van Damme's old stomping grounds of Hong Kong.
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.After a few tense moments where Marcus has the two hanging precariously over the edge top of a building,the truth is revealed to him.It seems Tommy,his partner for four years now,is a CIA operative and is working with his cohorts Marcus has come upon,to crack the knock off/Russian connection.They are taken to the Tian Tan or Big Buddha,that sits overlooking Hong Kong(then only about 4 years old) where the CIA base of operation,led by Harry Johanssan(Sorvino),is.When the two leave there is a huge explosion and the CIA operatives are seemingly no more.
However not all is as it seems.As the movie progresses we find not only is Johanssan very much alive and working WITH the Russians,but V-6 jeans rep Karen Lee is ALSO a CIA agent.She has been working undercover,farther obviously than Tommy,in trying to crack the ring and now all three are working together.After alot of chases the final showdown comes at the Hong Kong docks where a large shipment of bomb laden material is heading out to the U.S.Tommy,Lela and Marcus battle the bad guys to the bitter end to finally foil all concerned.
This is a typical Van Damme movie full of great fight scenes and lots of action.Schneider comes off quite well as a kind of foil and sidekick for Van Damme,never getting too silly.Van Damme surrounds himself with some solid acting and stunt talent to enhance the proceedings.There are also quite a few humorous moments.A good example would be the scene during the rickshaw race where Van Damme pulls Schneider vicariously through the streets of Hong Kong.Of course there are alot of mishaps,drivers colliding and general chicanery in order for some to win the race.During the race through a narrow street Van Damme/Schneider knock a fish vendor into his trough but Schneider ends up with a large eel in his hand.There is a shot of Van Damme's butt and you know what Schneider is thinking.Van Damme gets his butt slapped a few times,like a horse from a rider,and his reactions are priceless.The film was directed by Tsui Hark and like many Hong Kong directors they are not one for explanatory pauses.That is,take a scene where Van Damme is chased through the streets after his friend is killed.At one point he comes upon a moped.There is a shot of Van Damme looking down at it.Next shot has the motor revving and he is whisking his way down the street on it.Not that this is a bad thing,in fact it moves the film along.I'm just saying,it,and other such moments,can be a bit disconcerting or confusing to those not used to these types of films.The continuity is another issue that didn't get the attention it needed sometimes.For example,watch for the final fight at the docks.In one shot it is dull but dry,in the next there is a downpour,in the next it is wet but not raining.To add to this is actor Paul Sorvino(playing Johanssan)and his apparent nine lives,as in a cat.We see the Buddha get blown up that he was inside of which,somehow he miraculously survived.But most notably at the end of the film during the dock fights we see agent Karen Lee throw some button bombs near Sorvino,just as he presses a detonator and the ship he's on blow up in a green fireball.We see the green on his face as the flames surround it.Note that detonator because at the end of the film Van Damme has the charred relic in his hand and for fun presses it.And who is a street away putting mini bombs into a toy dinosaur....Sorvino!!!??? That's a head scratcher for sure,don't you think?
Technically,and NOTE,this DVd is in a FULL SCREEN a/r,and NOT the w/s a/r that is promoted on Amazon's web page.I don't know why that is.Nor in the w/s ratio it was originally SHOT in!Extras include the trailer and it is in Dolby 5.1 sound if wanted.The film is grainy at times,other imes pretty good but could use a good remastering when all is said and done.
All in all a half decent Van Damme entry sure to please his fans out there.Don't look too closely at the continuity but concentrate on the action and the fun Van Damme and company bring to the table.
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on January 7, 2001
"Knock Off" is set in Hong Kong and Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as a fashion designer who is unwillingly selling knock off clothes which easily tear. Van Damme and his sidekick (Rob Schneider) are up against enemy marketeers who are trying to cause a worldwide catastrophe by using tiny explosive devices in items such as jeans and toys and then shipping them all over the world.
"Knock Off" definitely proved that Van Damme is a better fighter than ever and that he can still make exciting movies. This movie has the best special effects, action sequences, and even the best fighting out of all of Van Damme's movies so far, and that's saying a lot because Van Damme has made many great fighting and action movies such as "Hard Target," "Bloodsport," "Sudden Death," and many others. I didn't like the movie's plot or story that much, but the action and fighting sequences are GREAT! If you like exciting fighting movies and if you like some of the other Van Damme movies, I recommend getting "Knock Off."
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on March 18, 2001
"Knock Off" seems to be Too Hong Kong-ised for English Speaking Audiences, but not for me. Van Damme's somewhat Comical Performance is a Breath of fresh air, and his Jackie Chan-ish flare for dangerous escapes makes this a must for his fans, he really is trying to stretch himself here.. well.. as much stretching as he (and we) can handle.
Rob Schneider gives more Professional Comic Relief as Van Dame's Wimpy Offsider. Paul Sorvino also has a small role as a Shady Government Official.
Tsui Hark's Direction is up there with John Woo's. His Visual flare is Revolutionary. The Final Action Set Piece is Jaw Dropping, I was "Oooohhh"ing and "Aaaahhh"ing like a kid seeing fireworks for the first time.
"Knock Off" is a Hong Kong flick in an American flicks body. Real Action fans and Real Van Damme Fans should love it.
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on March 18, 2000
And cheesy special effects! But this movie held my attention throughout! Van Damme, playing a fashion tycoon's right hand man, helps the CIA track Russian terrorists who are using counterfiet goods to smuggle explosives(nano-bombs according to the script) to the US to cause a massive terrorist bomb plot. And the action comes thick and fast, including a rickshaw race, a van demolishing a supermarket and a great fight scene in a cargo ship. Van Damme displays his martial arts skills well, but this isn't his finest moment(that's reserved for SUDDEN DEATH and KICKBOXER!). Overall, well worth seeing, especially for tha cinematography.
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on December 14, 2003
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.I think this movie will go in the top 10 of Van Damnes best movie but not the top 5. Im gonna name the top 5 Van Damnes best movies. Kickboxer, Bloodsport,Lionheart,Desert Heat,Hard Target.Im like the biggest Van Damne fan,and this one is worth watching.It deserves****A very good movie.
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on April 14, 2004
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. I find amazing how this film, Leigonaire, and Universal Soldier:The Return all did not revive his career. It is a total mind F*** to figure this out. The plot was a little confusing at first but if you really pay attention you will get the idea of the movie.
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on August 19, 1999
The best thing about this film is the cinematics. Being a student filmmaker, I was awe struck by the action scenes and how the camera never stopped moving. The camera operator must have gotten hurt from all that stuff flying all over the place! I recommend this movie to any other student filmmaker. That's it.
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on May 14, 1999
There are so many interesting items in this movie. ricksha-race, tiny microbombs, fighting on a huge ship. After DOUBLE TEAM, famous hongkong director Tsui Hark created a great movie again. You can also enjoy the scenes of hongkong transition.
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on March 18, 1999
Van Damme plays as a jeans dealer. JCVD joins up with the cia to take on terrorists
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on September 22, 2014
middle class at best, more action should be included
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