Knock Off (1998) starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rob Schneider, Lela Rochon, Paul Sorvino directed by Hark Tsui Movie Review

Knock Off (1998)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jean-Claude Van Damme and Rob Schneider in Knock Off (1998)

Cheap & Cheerful

Marcus Ray (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Tommy Hendricks (Rob Schneider) work in the rag trade in China for an American company called "V-Six Jeans". But not only are they both wheeler dealers handling knock off clothes they find themselves looking at trouble when Karen Leigh (Lela Rochon), their boss from America, shows up and says there are financial irregularities going on and they are in trouble. What Ray doesn't know is that Leigh is CIA and when he meets Harry Johanson (Paul Sorvino) who happens to be a dirty CIA chief he begins to doubt who Tommy really is as it appears that his friend is CIA as well. But with the Russians planting tiny bombs inside lots of knock of goods things are going to get wild for Marcus as he gets chased and shot at as he becomes reluctantly involved in the CIA operations.

That synopsis for "Knock Off" doesn't really make much sense but then the movie itself doesn't make a huge amount of sense either. But making sense of "Knock Off" is not really that important as this is simply comedy and action with a convoluted storyline featuring the CIA, the Russians and the knock off trade in China. And most shockingly it is all surprisingly entertaining with Van Damme delivering plenty of humour but also the action which what you expect. In fact whilst some might think oh no Van Damme is trying to do a Stallone or Schwarzenegger with an action comedy it has more in common with Jackie Chan's action comedies with some nice visual gags such as one scene involving a rickshaw race and running along the side of a camper van.

The thing about "Knock Off" is that if you concentrate on it too much it becomes hard work as it is a movie which in the blink of an eye can suddenly change the rules if you know what I mean. It means it is simply a movie for those who don't want to concentrate and just want to watch some fast paced, nicely edited action combined with various jokes. On the subject of which you have Rob Schneider who delivers the majority of the humour in a typical comedy sidekick type performances but Van Damme delivers his fair share to with an entertaining opening which not only sees him singing in the car but shortly after features that rickshaw race and a gag about his knock off Pumma trainers falling to bits whilst he runs.

What this all boils down to is that "Knock Off" is one of those action movies which is entertaining enough but also is so contrived and convoluted that you stop paying attention to the story and just watch for the blend of action and comedy which is more in tune with the action comedies of Jackie Chan than say Stallone or Schwarzenegger.