Rob Schneider (Saturday Night Live, Men Behaving Badly)
is supposed to add the comic element and Paul Sorvino is supposed to be
a bad guy, but both fail. One can't really blame them, considering the script
and direction they're getting, but the question is why get involved in the
first place? Did their agents actually think this would be a good
thing on their resumés?
The story involves the vast proliferation of counterfeit merchandise
produced in Hong Kong for sale on the world market. Cheaply made goods are
passed off as the real thing fake brand-name toys, fake running shoes,
fake designer label clothing, etc. The V-Six blue jeans company has recently
discovered that its label is being pirated and used on inferior jeans made
in HK. So CIA agent Tommy Hendricks (Schneider) is assigned to investigate,
posing as a friend to retired knock-off artist Marcus Ray (Van Damme) in
order to get information. The woman who pretends to be from the V-Six company
is Karan Leigh (Lela Rochon), who at first thinks that Hendricks and Ray
are the perpetrators. But she turns out to be another CIA agent, and they
all soon learn that Harry Johannson (Sorvino) is behind it all--and with
much more sinister motives than selling bogus jeans.
The badness of this movie belongs in some sort of Hall of Fame. The entire
soundtrack seems to have been overdubbed, even for the American actors,
so no one's lips move in synch with his words, like those old Godzilla
movies. What's more, the Asians sound like Americans and the Americans sound
like Asians. There are sections where an actor's mouth is intentionally
obscured by the camera angle, so as to minimize the obvious sound discrepancy.
The acting is so much like the old Speed Racer cartoons that I expected
everyone in the room to blink at the same time. Apparently, the filming
was done with the intention of overdubbing Chinese, and then overdubbed
back into English as an afterthought. Or something.
The acting is cartoon, the action scenes are cartoon, the effects are cartoon. And cartoons are okay, if they're done by people who know how to do them. But that's not the case here. Even as a cartoon, Knock Off is a knock-off. *
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