Double TeamApril 4, 1997
Counter-terrorist Jack Quinn misses his target, Stavros, on the eve of his final mission. From there…
Release Year: 1997
Rating: 4.2/10 (13,385 voted)
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman, Mickey Rourke
Counter-terrorist Jack Quinn misses his target, Stavros, on the eve of his final mission. From there, he is sent to "The Colony", a rebirth for presumed-dead assassins. He breaks free from there, and seeks the aid of Yaz, a weapons dealer, for his final battle with Stavros.
Writers: Don Jakoby, Don Jakoby
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Dr. Maria Trifioli
You're either on their side…or in their way.
Release Date: 4 April 1997
Filming Locations: Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $5,034,914
(6 April 1997)
Did You Know?
Sammo Hung Kam-Bo was brought in as Special Action Choreographer to help with the fight scenes.
Early in the film Jack ignores a Stavros decoy because "Stavros is a lefty". Yet Stavros is shown firing guns and throwing grenades with both hands and he smokes with his right hand.
Oops. Air ball.
Entertainingly overblown action marred by slapdash storytelling
The script for Double Team was originally called "The Colony" and by
accounts, it was actually quite good. Apparently, it went through many
alterations on its way to production until the final product bore little
resemblance in tone and quality to the original script. Does this mean
Double Team is a disaster? Not really, but its clear all the changes
On the one hand, you have the participation of famed Hong Kong director
Hark and world-class cinematographer Peter Pau. They manage to create some
of the coolest, trippiest, most fantastical visuals this side of a MTV
and better still, do so without the excessively choppy editing that usually
accompanies "MTV-style" films. You actually get to appreciate the
luxuriously-shot images, though the film is by no means slow-paced. Better
still, it's one of the few Van Damme movies that realizes the best Van
movies are the ones which absolutely never rely on Van Damme's acting (or
anyone else's for that matter) to carry the film along. It's all action,
goofily entertaining plot twists, and sweet visuals. As an action-packed,
overblown, eye-candy fantasy, Double Team works very well.
On the other hand, it's painfully obvious that Double Team used to have a
smarter script which called for a far more subtle and serious approach. Had
these "intelligent" elements been completely erased or dumbed-down for the
final product, this wouldn't have been a problem. However, it seems that
some of the more subtle plot developments were left in and they do NOT mesh
well with Tsui's and the rest of the final script's "jackhammer" approach
the story. For example, at one point a prescription label left on the wall
is supposed to be noticed by Van Damme's character who then uses the name
the doctor on the label as a clue. However, unless you're paying very very
close attention you'd never know that. It's so small on screen, the label
may as well have been blank. And the shot where the label is taken off the
prescription bottle is far too quick and unclear. A single extra shot
showing a closeup of the label would've cleared things up immensely. But it
never happens. The film contains several instances like this where a single
clarifying shot or an extra line of explanatory dialogue would've made
things much clearer. The result is that what seem like glaring plot holes
(even for this kind of movie) are in fact due to badly explained plot
points. Such an obscure presentation might have worked on a quieter, more
"intelligent" spy film where the audience knows they aren't going to be
spoon-fed the plot. But after 40 minutes of terrible one-liners and
ridiculous action, the last thing that should be required of Double Team's
audience is to suddenly pay close attention to what's happening.
I don't know whether Tsui Hark was trying to keep in some subtle elements
while reconciling it with the rapid-fire approach, or whether he just
care about such details and wanted to keep things moving (Probably the
latter, as his subsequent movie, Knock Off, experimented with this
to-hell-with-storytelling visual approach to the nth degree). Whatever the
case, the result is a pretty wild but somewhat confusing action movie that
could've been much better with minor changes.