Top critical review
on 18 November 2015
I recall watching this puppy in a cinema - yeah, this played theatrical back in the '90s and thank goodness I was around to see it. Sure, its as mad as a box of badgers and features our favourite Belgian bruiser in a Hong Kong set tale about exploding denim jeans - but that's not where the fun stops. This one is a bizarro joy from start to finish.
Fashion designer Marcus Ray (a camp but pumped Jean-Claude Van Damme in career meltdown) has been selling knockoff jeans in Hong Kong and living the high life with partner Tommy (Rob Schneider). However, things get complicated when Marcus discovers 'ol Tommy is not all that he seems.... Thrown into the mix are Marcus' boss, Karen (Lela Rochon) who is threatening to tear him a new one too if he doesn't go straight. However, this is just the beginning of a topsy-turvy ride that has Russian double agents, rickshaw wrangling and all manner of bad acting rolled out infront of your very eyes. Suffice to say, sparks are gonna fly and bad guys will have a full roundhouse kick to the head in no time at all... aah, thank the lord for Jean Claude!
To begin with, this movie is mental. Not 'pretend crazy', I mean full on looney tunes. Director Tsui Hark (he of the awesome 'The Blade' and previous JC [masterpiece] 'Double Team') has somehow managed to convince a major Hollyweird studio to fund a movie about bombs being hidden within counterfeit jeans in an effort to threaten the entire world. Yeah, that's the story. Thank my lucky stars for whoever greenlit this baby must have been stoned into next week and I applaud you. Thankfully, even though the screenplay is 100% bonkers - the action certainly isn't. Hark gets to ply his trademark visuals accentuating Van Dammage's physicality to great lengths and we are treated to some wondrous feats of adrenaline pumped choreography.
Columbia Tri-Stars DVD release sports a solid transfer with fine audio, although no extras which is a shame. All in all, the movie is very slight taken on its own terms - but if in the right mood, the sheer lunacy and devil may care attitude of the filmmakers ensure this is a B-movie delight: Van Damme is on fine form (even though it seems this was sadly the end of his mainstream career) and even Schneider looks like he's game for a laugh, too. Don't go in expecting 'Bloodsport' and you will be rewarded with a visually exciting and totally off the cuff actioner that delivers the goods. Recommended.