Monday, 15 July 2013

Knock Off

Two sales representatives for “V SIX JEANS” Marcus Ray (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Tommy Hendricks (Rob Schneider) are about to be arrested for unintentionally selling low quality and cheaply made counterfeit jeans. Now to prove their innocents they have to convince their American contact employer Karen Leigh (Lela Rochon) that they are also victims to the counterfeit jeans. If they cannot convince Karen and prove their innocents they will be charged for counterfeiting a branded label causing damages up to millions of dollars.

From the director of the 1997 Double Impact Tsui Hark and staring Belgium Kickboxer champion Jean Claude Van Damme. The two collaborate once again for Knock Off. Jean Claude Van Damme and Rob Schneider are sales representatives for a high class blue jeans company called “V SIX”. Set during the British handover of Hong Kong the odd pair get into big trouble when they realise they have been selling counterfeit jeans. In the midst of all this legal trouble that is ahead of them Jean Claude and Schneider somehow get caught up in the middle of a terrorist scheme involving nanobombs.

With a straightforward and easy to follow story it is not surprising that Tsui Hark's Knock Off is a conventional action film. Explosions, shootouts and massive trucks driving through the city of Hong Kong causing utter chaos. What else is expected when Jean Claude is the action hero? Apart from Jean Claude spectacular martial art skills there are some pretty intense parkour skills. So much so that it seems like you’re watching a Jackie Chan movie; jumping off moving trucks, using the environment to get out tight situations and mastering the art of using any object as a weapon, in Jean Claude’s case a scooter. One of the most amusing and wacky scenes was the beginning race scene with Van Damme and Rob Schneider on the rickshaw.

Tsui Hark's directing toward the camerawork and editing was at times erratic. The extreme close ups and zooming in and out was very confusing and at times 180-degree rule was clearly broken. The characters would randomly switch sides on the screen and often you had no idea when and where the characters walked in. I understand that Hark's wanted Knock Off to be a fast pace action film but he definitely needed to slow down the pace at times. This made the relationship between the audience and characters hard to connect and even harder to fall deep into the story. None the less the Hark’s fast pace editing and camera framing did give loads of energy to the film during action the scenes.

As with any Jean Claude Van Damme film the fighting scenes are always a big plus. Although in most Jean Claude movies we get his signature 360 roundhouse kick, it seems he never got the chance in Knock Off. None the less we do get some pretty epic fight scenes on top of a moving truck and a cargo ship.

For its time Knock Off has some pretty fancy special effects and the action sequence are pretty much the same as any other Jean Claude movie. Knock Off is jam packed with spectacular parkour stunts from the Muscle from Brussels himself. Just like the other Jean Claude films like “Hard Target” or “Double Impact” Knock Off does have the epic shootout scenes and the thrilling fight sequences.  

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