Forgotten Action Cinema: Double Team

Double Team (1997) Movie PosterYou might be wondering, “Why is the hell is Todd covering a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie for his Forgotten Action Cinema column? After all, everyone’s painfully familiar with this one.” And, for the most part, your snarky assessment is correct. Director Tsui Hark’s ludicrously entertaining 1997 action adventure “Double Team” isn’t exactly obscure, but, from where I’m sitting, it might as well be. Nobody I know seems to likes it, and, truth be told, I can’t really blame them. The entire premise is beyond insane, and Hark’s direction only enhances the picture’s complete disregard for logic and common sense. Van Damme stars as a former intentional spy who must rescue his pregnant wife from the evil clutches of his arch enemy (Mickey Rourke), a man blames our hero for the death of his child. Along the way, Van Damme hooks up with basketball star Dennis Rodman, who is, essentially, playing Dennis Rodman. Except, you know, a lot more annoying. There are basketball references galore, as well as several references to Rodman’s outrageous appearance and his notoriously foul behavior. It’s a terrible formula for an action movie, and there’s not a single moment that works. Be that as it may, the flick is endlessly amusing, particularly when Rodman and Van Damme shield themselves from a rather hefty explosion using an ordinary, everyday Coca Cola machine. God bless Tsui Hark. “Double Team” is a wonderful excursion into cinematic absurdity, and actually gets even more confusing upon repeat viewings. If you’re low on spare time, at least watch the final scene. It’s the best minute you’ll experience all day.