Formulas are good. Be it the DIE HARD clone, or the buddy-picture. Action formulas win. It's got to be by the book. Or it dies.Action movie directors rarely break the mould. Instead the mould breaks them. Ringo Lam and John Woo both came to the US when the Hong Kong action style was in vogue. But action movies need more talk and less action to satisfy American audiences. So in trying to replicate THE KILLER, they make a mess like REPLACEMENT KILLERS.Until now that is. KNOCK OFF got abysmal reviews and audiences hated it. I don't dig that many action movies. And I loved it. Director <more>
TSUI HARK injects such enthusiasm into things it is almost impossible not to enjoy.Hark treats us to an unrivalled, and insane array of camera tricks to liven up proceedings. Entirely unpretentious, it is action to the power of ten. Bad guys defy gravity and inertia, and the same hooded goons get beaten up time after time. There is even one character who dies, and returns inexplicably not once but twice.Ridiculous? Yeah. But gloriously unapologetic. KNOCK OFF promises action and delivers. If you want to take it seriously then do so, vent your rage and kill it on the sliding scale. The joke is on you. KNOCK OFF invites ridicule. It also defies it. For that reason I'll give it a ten.
Now I 'm sure there are some naysayers out there, but this film is total genius. It is one of my favorites from the 1990's. There is such mastery and control here, that though the line readings are sometimes awful the film's surreal nature saves that from being a flaw, and turns it into an asset. The chaos of the film is mirrored in the chaos of the story, and Van Damme our cipher, stuck in the middle with no one to trust. Chance is more likely to solve problems than force is, and the film is dizzying in it's sense of spacial relations. From the foot car races to the end this <more>
film never stops. More so than The Matrix, this is the future of film making.
Really fun action movie gets no respect! (by flipdangelo)
I can understand why people would like to knock Knock-Off but as an action film it is brilliant. There are some really well planned out shots and the fight scenes were top notch as well. The movie starts at a fast pace and keeps it up for the whole picture. The supporting cast is wonderful here the movie actually has some good character development. I like the fact that Van Damme isn't the only hero here. Rob Schneider is very funny plays the part well as does Lela Rochon, Paul Sorvino, and Michael Wong. That's a good cast right there! The movie is also a good take on the ever-present <more>
knock-off artists that flood Hong Kong, as well as most big cities with cheap brand name crap."Lets put bombs in the knock-offs so we can threaten the entire world!" Not a bad idea for an action movie. I thought that the Russian bad guys were aptly stereotypical and I especially liked the "Coughing Guy" character.Visually, the movie is crazy. There are some innovative shots here, like the inside the shoe shot, the inside the gun shot, and my favorite, the what's inside of the box shot. It makes me love this movie even more! So don't knock down Knock Off until you give it a chance. See it for the humor and the wacky plot, appreciate it for the cinematography and fight scenes, and enjoy it for all it's worth. There's a lot going on in this movie. Tsui Hark's direction is always fresh and fast paced, so if you liked any of his other movies, you'll appreciate this offering. One of my all time favorites.
Needs to be taken in context to be appreciated (by simon_booth)
Tsui Hark's career took a serious down turn when he decided to try his chances in Hollywood. To be fair though, this seems to be true of pretty much everybody that decides to try a career in Hollywood. Tsui got off to a bad start when he was teamed up with Jean Claude Van Damme an indignity every HK director seems to have to suffer on arrival in the US to make the movie DOUBLE TEAM. I haven't seen DT, but it seems to be universally despised. However, so is KNOCK OFF for the most part, which I find to be very unfair as it has a lot to offer.To properly appreciate the film, however, <more>
one has to take it in the proper context. One has to realise that Tsui Hark realised he was not going to be taken seriously in Hollywood, and would probably be consigned to cheesy action B-movies for ever if he stayed. I have no doubt he already planned to return to Hong Kong when he made KNOCK OFF, and decided to have a little fun first - and channel a lot of Hollywood money into Hong Kong hands at the same time. Keeping this in mind whilst watching the film reveals a whole level to it that I suspect most viewers do not appreciate.It's clear that the script for the movie is rather absurd, but quite cleverly so. The concept of the Russians trying to take over the world by fitting miniature bombs in knock off children's toys is not one that was ever meant to be taken very seriously. Having the Russians as the main villlains is a quaintly out-dated set up, but the real interest is in the backdrop, where Tsui shows a little love for the people of Hong Kong and worries about the hand over to China in 1997.He also decides to have a little fun at the expense of Van Damme, who is given a rather ridiculous role that makes fun of his usual image perhaps this is why Van Damme fans don't like the movie? Though VD himself seems quite a willing participant in the fun-poking .Rob Schneider is quite amusing but dangerously annoying as the comedy side kick, whilst Lela Rochon is particularly attractive as the primary glamour interest who also kicks no small amount of ass . Few woman sharing a movie with Carmen Lee could come away looking good, but she manages it. The rest of the cast are an assortment of anonymous alleged russians and CIA agents, and some familiar Hong Kong faces round out most of the rest of the cast.Tsui Hark handles the script tightly, sticking close to its B-movie heart but using it to set up some fun and playful scenes. It should all be taken a little tongue in cheek - those that have seen Tsui Hark's better works should appreciate that straight away.As well as fun with the script and with JCVD, Tsui Hark also decides to have a *lot* of fun with his camera. Hyperkinetic camera work has always been his trademark, and here he decides to hold nothing back. There are some amazingly sophisticated and inventive shots and movements, giving the film a unique visual style that Tsui revisited and expanded on when he returned to Hong Kong and made TIME AND TIME . It is for the visionary camerawork that the movie should really be seen.There's also some pretty good action though, well above the average for Jean Claude Van Damme - thanks to Sammo Hung and Yuen Bun's involvement as the 2nd unit crew, no doubt. JCVD is usually something of a one-trick pony, and has barely a 10th of the physical agility and skill of his Asian contemporaries. The action directors manage to use him well here though, and the camerawork makes him look far better than he's ever done before.It's a sad fact that most of the people that watch KNOCK OFF will probably be Jean Claude Van Damme fans, because to be honest anybody that thinks JCVD is a good martial artist probably doesn't have the experience to appreciate a Tsui Hark film. On the other hand, many Tsui Hark fans will avoid KNOCK OFF because of the presence of Jean Claude Van Damme. This is a shame, as it's really more a Tsui Hark film than a Van Damme film.Whilst it may be Van Damme's best movie, few would dream of arguing that it's Tsui Hark's best, despite his inventiveness being in pretty good shape. It's still broadly bound by the limits of a Hollywood action movie, though, and no match for works like ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA or THE BLADE. It would be nice to imagine that his time in Hollywood would lead to more Americans appreciating his groundbreaking Hong Kong movies, but I doubt that it has.Still, the movie is recommended for Tsui Hark fans. Not his best, but delivers plenty of entertainment none-the-less.
The first Hong Kong action-movie to be made in Hollywood (by SUTTER CANE)
John Woo failed, so did Ringo Lam, but Tsui Hark did it. He made a movie in Hollywood, as good as his previous Hong Kong-movies. This is easily the best Van Damme movie to date. The story is actually pretty good and funny , the acting is great and the action kicks ass. Very stylishly directed by Hark, this is an outstanding effort from the Van Damme/Hark-team who also worked together on Double Team . I can´t understand why so many people is putting this movie down. I think it is a very enjoyable action movie, and for Van Damme-fans, this is a must-see. I give it 9 out of 10
Genuine Hong Kong action from Hollywood! (by doktor-3)
Sure it's bad. If you aren't expecting a bad film, then you really don't like HK action films, do you? Tsui Hark is the only HK action director I've seen to get a Hollywood cast to perform action sequences with a real HK sensibility! John Woo's Hollywood films are trying too hard to be good, and the action suffers. With Knock Off, Tsui Hark delivers just the sort of dizzying, senseless, impeccably-timed, and frenetically-paced action we've come to expect from Hong Kong directors.
Excellent Van Damme film! (by action-6)
Knock off is Van Damme`s second movie to be directed by Hong-Kong director Tsui Hark. The story and acting of this movie is not important at all, because it focuses mainly on its many actionsequences. Van Damme is good as always, and the movie contains many well-directed actionscenes. Don`t watch it if you prefer quality acting, realistic characters and stunning special-effects, because this movie is a low-budget action-flick made for the fans of Van Damme. 8/10
PERFECT movie if you are looking for goofy entertainment. (by elsmacko)
Most importantly, Knock Off is unlike any other Van Damme movie. It is much more like your Hong Kong action movie, and is actually quite better in the action respect than any of his other movies. Rob Schneider is really funny, and the acting even from Van Damme is pretty good. Probably the best thing about this movie is it's cinematography, which has such great shots as the foot-cam, the shoe-cam, and the box-cam, in which a little window opens up so you can see Jean-Claude's hand as it's reaches into a box! This movie is great for one goofy laugh after another, while not beeing <more>
too bad to watch. If you see it, rent it! If you like it, buy it!
I still don't understand that most people think that this is a bad movie. Up to now I think this is Jean Claude his best. The action is much faster thanks to Sammo Hung en Tsui Hark , and he's van Damme finally making fun of himself. Ok, the special effects are pretty bad and cheap, but inventive. The humor is kind of slapstick humor sometimes, but what do you expect in a Hong Kong movie ? I rated it 8/10. When you like Jeane Claude van Damme, but think he's too slow, then watch this movie!