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KRISTEN D. EATS THE WORLD: KNOCK OFF (1998)

Hello and welcome to another heaping helping of Kristen D. Eats The World. I just want to say I love Jean-Claude Van Damme. I will freely admit that, I have since I was a child.  He’s an action star yeah, but the guy’s also got some range. He played two different personalities (twins) in Double Impact and I think he did a damn good job. He showed that he could be half decent at drama in Nowhere To Run, a movie that had two fight scenes at most and was still entertaining.

It showed a softer side of Van Damme that we never really had a chance to see up until that point. He also proved this in the USA original flick In Hell, though it wasn’t anywhere as good as Nowhere To Run. Hell even Street Fighter, being the complete and utter mess that it is, still happens to be one of my favorite movies mainly because of his hilarious miscasting as Guile. Of course Van Damme’s never going to win a Oscar, but he’s got a thick accent, good looks and he can fight. What’s not to love?

I’m also probably the only person besides Adam Sandler who thinks Rob Schneider is funny at this point. I paid to see Deuce Bigalow in theaters, found it hilarious and own it on DVD. I even thought The Hot Chick was passable. I tend to defend him every time there’s a groan when his name is brought up. But there are just some movies that are so bad I can’t defend them. Case in point:

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An Article by Kristen Dowd

This movie is so stupid. Not even the usual mindless entertainment we’re used to Van Damme turning in. It’s just bad. Van Damme plays fashion designer Marcus Ray and that’s my first problem. Van Damme as a FASHION DESIGNER is just silly. It’s not believable in the least and I’m suspending as much as I can to begin with.  He even has a Caesar cut, a hairstyle that was extremely popular amongst actors in the late 90’s for whatever reason. I came to see ass kickings people! This was my first indication that this was going to be a big bag of ‘meh’.

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No es Bueno

Schneider plays Tommy Hendricks, Van Damme’s business partner and an annoying little cretin who you want to punch in the face. I normally don’t see why people are annoyed by Schneider’s shtick and I find it funny. But here? I think can understand. I want to strangle him within 10 seconds of appearing on screen. His character is VERY grating, but I guess they wanted to contrast Van Damme’s suave character. That’s fine and all, but they could have toned it down just a TAD. You’re probably wondering what the fuck kind of title Knock Off is, I’ll try to explain. See Van Damme’s character is a fashion designer/con artist who sells bunk shit to high paying companies. See? Now the title’s clever! He also is a runner in some kind of human chariot race and Skinny (Glen Chin) the fat, big spending brother of a mobster Van Damme fucked over is betting on him to win. I guess jeans are Serious Business to the mob in Hong Kong.

Here we meet Van Damme’s running rival and old friend, Eddie Wang (Wyman Wong). It’s about here when I notice there is something off about this movie. What is–oh I see. It was HEAVILY dubbed in post. It’s filmed in Hong Kong so that isn’t a gigantic surprise. It’s just that it’s BADLY dubbed. The sound quality changes way too much to not notice. They may as well have just done the whole thing in post if they were going to go that far. The voice acting its self is borderline atrocious. Half the time it sounds like Van Damme’s voice isn’t his. It’s too high pitched. The other non American dubs sound so out of place it isn’t even funny. Eddie’s voice actor sounds like he wasn’t taking this seriously at all. It’s almost as bad as Zombi 7′s dub for the fat scientist, but at least that was assuming. At one point a female cop starts speaking in a Jamaican accent and she’s Chinese. How did no one notice that in post?! But on a positive note, the guy doing Skinny’s voice sounds like Patton Oswalt so that kept me happy.

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Not the standard Van Damme ass shot I’m used to but it will do

During the race Eddie is kidnapped, leaving Van Damme and Schneider to start their wacky adventure. Here’s where things start to get a little silly, well, even more so. Van Damme finds out that Schneider works undercover for the CIA and is more than happy to throw him off a building for lying to him for years, but Schneider’s boss Johanson (Paul Sorvino), threatens to pop a cap in that toned ass of his if he doesn’t bring Schneider back up. Sorvino feels out of place here as well. It’s almost like he’s from another movie all together and they copied/pasted him into this one. Honestly he’s just there most of the time until he makes a heel turn later. The role could have been played by anyone else and you wouldn’t have noticed the difference.

The CIA had Hendricks planted to get closer to Eddie, who they believe is wrapped up in something far more sinister than stocking shelves with Pumma sneakers. They go to stop a weapons trade and this is when the action stuff really takes off. There is a scene where Van Damme is on the back of the bad guy’s van and he’s flinging people off into poles and shit. I have to say, that was pretty badass. But for every awesome moment like that, there are 50 not so awesome ones. There is this overuse of slo-mo during fight scenes and it gets old REALLY fast. Every time Van Dame makes a move, he’s in slo-mo. He takes a piss, he’s in slo-mo. It’s like he’s on some terrible drug and it’s making him unstable. Ok, there was no slo-mo of him pissing but you get my point.

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Thank you for flying InstaDeath Airlines, Mr. Wang

Van Damme eventually finds Eddie hiding out and confronts him. The shipment Eddie signed for was full of nano bombs, each about equal to a half a stick of dynamite. They were planted in radios, toys, various shit that normal people would buy. For what reason, I’m not really sure. That was never really explained. So I just chocked it up to bad guys being bad guys. The death scenes are over the top, even for a Van Damme movie. Eddie bites it via a fucking MISSILE set up in a safe (pictured above). A dude gets his head ripped off and then smashed by a crate. Then again, that was his own fault. If 500 guys with MACHINE GUNS can’t take out Van Damme, what do you think is going to happen when you run at him with your bare hands?

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You get crushed to death? Fuck sake Van Damme, that was a little harsh, no?

Oh yeah, and Sorvino was behind everything because money, power, blah blah blah. He gets off’d and that’s the movie!

Overall it’s not the worst flick in the world, it’s better than fucking Shrooms. But I expected more from a Van Damme movie. From way too many characters and bad dubbing to unnecessary slo-mo every three seconds, predictable, boring villains and just plain annoying twits, this movie is the definition of meh-sauce. I barely recommend it as background noise. You want some REAL Van Damme action? Go check out Bloodsport, you’ll get a two-fer of badassness with Van Damme and Bolo Yeung.

About The Author
Kristen D.
Kristen D.
Kristen D. is a writer and aspiring filmmaker originally from Brooklyn, NY. She loves a ton of different things including movies, T.V shows, videogames, music, cooking and cosplay. She covers most of those subjects and anything else she's interested in on her series Kristen D. Eats The World.

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