- Movie Rating -

Double Team (1997)

| April 4, 1997

I know almost nothing about the making of Double Team but it is easy to tell that once NBA superstar Dennis Rodman came onboard, all creativity stopped.  This is a movie made up of fragmented shards of what might have made at least six other movies but they’re all glued together into one big mess that places Jean Claude Van Damme and Rodman into the same place.  The results are less than stellar.

The first question you may ask: Can Rodman act?  The answer: No, not at all.  He has a nice screen presence but he delivers every line as if it were handed to him just before he delivered it.  How bad is he?  I’ve seen children at a first-grade play that have a better command of dialogue than Rodman.  What’s worse, most of his dialogue consists of basketball references, and the character has nothing to do with basketball.

I should say that Van Damme was never really much of an actor either.  His acting styles exist in posturing, particularly that thing he does with where he parts his legs to polar opposite positions – ow!  He can be good – I liked him in his early film Bloodsport, but since then he’s been repeating the same movie over and over.

The story, as I say, exists in pieces.  Van Damme plays a counter-terrorism officer named Jack Quinn who is on his last assignment – to take out a sadistic terrorist named Stavros (Mickey Rourke), but he misses the mark.  As punishment, he is sent to an island . . . resort?  Prison?  Purgatory?  It appears to be a tropical island where former agents have been declared dead and are too valuable to kill but are too dangerous to be left in the field.  The actual logic of this set-up is not really explored.  We know that Van Damme and the other occupants have to respond to a thumbprint call box by a certain time or they actually will die which is a contradiction give the rule that they are too valuable to kill.  This movie keeps forgetting its own logic.

Anyway, a large chunk of the movie is given over to Quinn training his mind and his body for the moment when he will escape from the island, which includes training himself to hold his breath underwater, and slicing off the skin on his thumb to trick the callbox.  But why was all of this necessary?  Why did we need to contradictory rules of the island in the first place?  When the movie is over it doesn’t have a payoff.  The only thing that I can figure is so that we can get endless montages of Van Damme doing his strange training techniques.  You’ve seen it before.

Anyway, the back half of the movie involves Quinn and Yazz (Rodman) headed for a violent showdown with Stavros which, I have to say, is probably the most ridiculous thing that I’ve seen in recent memory.  Stavros takes Quinn’s infant son and puts him dead center of the Roman Colosseum surrounded by landmines marked with little crosses AND a ferocious tiger prowling around.  Why the crosses?  Why the tiger?  Why landmines?  Why the Colosseum?  Stavros has been established as one of the most dangerous people in the world.  Why is he wasting his time on this set up?  More to the point, why would he challenge Quinn to a fight in the middle of the minefield where he can easily trap himself?  This is like logic out of a bad video game.

Double Team is just barely a movie.  Again, once the producers signed up Rodman, they seem to feel that they don’t really have to do much except offer up a lot of firepower and explosions and a bunch of basketball references even though the movie has no connection to the sport at all.  Rodman, despite is inability to deliver a single line of convincing dialogue is having a good time.  That’s good.  He’s having a better time than I did.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1997) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized