'Double Team' is wretched, ridiculous, incoherent

April 04, 1997|By Chris Kridler | Chris Kridler,SUN STAFF

Hoops star Dennis Rodman is not an actor. But Jean-Claude Van Damme makes Dennis Rodman look like Laurence Olivier.

Most ridiculous of all, Mickey Rourke is billed below these two in "Double Team," a wretched action flick that's about as coherent as the U.S. tax code. If you're wondering how far Rourke can fall, this movie is your answer.

Van Damme plays a counter-terrorist who comes out of retirement to chase down Rourke's bad guy, who has inscrutable reasons for blowing things up. Their confrontation goes badly, and Van Damme wakes up in a prison that's a direct rip-off of The Village in the TV series "The Prisoner." "The Colony" is an island to which spies are forcibly retired, a think-tank with a lot of overdesigned high-tech gizmos.

When Van Damme realizes that Rourke, whose own kid was killed in their earlier fight, is holding Van Damme's pregnant wife in Rome, Van Damme contrives to escape. He finally hooks up with arms-dealer Rodman so they can chase Rourke down and blow up a lot more stuff. The Eternal City has never been so abused.

All of the guys take off their shirts at one point or another, for no obvious reason, unless it's some kind of homoerotic thing I just ZTC didn't get. Rourke is all pumped up like the Michelin man. There are lots of bombs and mines, a tiger, incompetent spies, even silly cybermonks.

Oddly, for such a terrible movie, it looks fabulous. Veteran Hong Kong director Tsui Hark has a hip, intense style. What he doesn't have is a script or actors. Except for a snazzy hotel-room fight with stoic Jean-Claude and a couple of laughs from Rodman, "Double Team" is a disaster.

'Double Team'

Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman

Directed by Tsui Hark

Released by Columbia Pictures

Rated R (violence, endangered babies)

Sun score: 0 stars

Pub Date: 4/04/97

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