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Knock Off

59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rob Schneider, Lela Rochon, Paul Sorvino, Carman Lee
  • Directors: Hark Tsui
  • Writers: Steven E. de Souza
  • Producers: Ken Wu, Moshe Diamant, Nansun Shi, Peter Nelson, Peter W. Nelson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 29, 1998
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767821548
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,156 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Knock Off" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Varnau on October 2, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
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 it nonetheless. It takes place in Hong Kong, where the market for "knock offs," or imitations of an original product, is blossoming. Van Damme and Rob Schneider play two business partners who are caught up in a nasty circle with the Chinese mafia, renegade CIA agents, and big bad guys. The action and direction from Tsui Hark is awesome, especially a scene where Van Damme slides around on a boat while beating up bad guys. Rob Schneider is not too annoying in this film, which is a good thing. The bad guy, however, was a bit underwhelming, but his demise works. Van Damme films are never any cinematic accomplishment by any means, but they can be, and usually are, plenty of fun. This is no exception.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jean-Francois Virey on October 29, 2000
Format: DVD
"Great film. Lots of action... Lots of... what else?" - Jean-Claude Van Damme
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This was one of the worst Jean-Claude Van Damme mavies I have ever seen. The camera angles look good at first but get very annoying right away. Van Damme seems real out of it and is possibly never going to recover from this horrible let down of a film. If you are a Van Damme fan, I recomend that you see it to see how bad he has gotten. If you are not a fan of him then don't waste your time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chad Roberts on July 17, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First saw this movie on HBO in the late '90's and as a connoisseur of "le bad cinema" I knew I'd found something special. My theory is that when a film is made there are roughly 3 million decision points, encompassing everything like dialog, blocking, acting, lighting, editing, make-up, etc.

A near perfect film (like 'Saving Private Ryan') has made roughly 2.85 million of these decisions correctly, but if you look at this from the other side, then a wonderfully awful film like 'Knock Off' got about 2.85 million of these decisions wrong.

That's what makes truly horrible films so good, you can't intentionally make a film like this (you couldn't consciously make that many decisions incorrect).

So if you appreciate a movie with bad special effects, nonsensical plotting, a character who seems to die 3 different times but keeps coming back with no explanation at all, random zooms that convey no information or emotion...oh and a rickshaw race featuring a pair of imploding shoes, and of course the Laurence Olivier like acting of Jean-Claude Van Damme (he's just too van-damme good) then this is a movie for you.
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Format: DVD
This is my all time favorite in the Van Damme library. The first time I saw it in the theater I wasn't really into it. But it wasn't because the movie was poor. My tastes simply hadn't evolved to the point where I could truly appreciate what this film is (I'm serious).

This is a great role for the man. Finally he gets to play against type and do a cocky, fun-loving, anti-hero. His character kinda makes me feel like this is what it would be like to hang with the guy in real life.

Tsui Hark brings a new visual dynamic to a VD movie that wasn't there in previous VD films. Hark is so good that he makes me cool with Rob Schneider, whom I have never been able to stand with the exception of some SNL skits. That right there makes it solid.

Hark also pushed Van Damme to expand into some more physical action, not just punching and kicking. You really only see him do this in Hard Target and Double Team (of course, a Woo film and another Hark film). HK director's know how to make the stars get physical outside the realm of just taking swings at other guys.

VD is cool and confident in this role. He pushes his action in a much more physical and stylized direction. The story is a fun little journey with a few twists and turns to keep it interesting. It's a good movie.

If you think VD is just cheesy and you've never liked him, this probably won't change your mind. If you're on the fence or are a fan, this is one of his best (my personal favorite). But it's VD with a HK sensibility and style here. My guess is that this will appeal more to VD fans than to HK action buffs. Some HK fanboys will call this film sacrilege. It really is the kind of movie that only a small handful of people will really enjoy.
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