Knock Off (1998)

Knock Off (1998) is a Hong Kong style American action, comedy, crime thriller. It is directed by Hark Tsui with second unit and action direction by Sammo Hung. Bun Yuen was stunt coordinator, and Mars assistant stunt coordinator. Arthur Wong was cinematographer for the film.

Knock Off (1998) stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and comedian Rob Schneider, who have the chemistry you would expect in a buddy film. Veteran Hong Kong actor Michael Wong, who, by the way, is not a martial artist, also stars with well known gangster star, Paul Sorvino.

The title of the film, “Knock Off” is meant to be understood in two different ways. In familiar conversation the term refers to “knocked off” goods, but it also refers to “knock off” or kill a someone.

Knock Off (1998) takes place in the few days before Hong Kong is to be returned to China by the British. Marcus Ray (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and his partner, Tommy (Rob Schneider) are sales reps for “V SIX” jeans, and the two are alleged to be selling knockoff jeans in Hong Kong. It is discovered that the knock off shipments contain nanobombs developed by Russian KGB operatives who are in league with international terrorists scheming to bring the technology to the black market so they can extort $100,000,000.00 in monthly payments from world super powers.

The film was released in the United States on September 4, 1998. Reviews of the film by critics were not as favorable as expected, but the action and comedy is truly Hong Kong style and the script, by Steven E. de Souza, is written to carry the action and the comedy. Knock Off (1998) stays true to Hark Tsui filming style with his fast edits, slo mo and his trademark close ups, and Jean Claude’s character is completely at ease with the fast paced fighting style and acrobatics that many have grown to expect from Hark Tsui films.

This was the second, and last, American film Hark Tsui directed. Dissatisfied with his work in the United States, he return to Hong Kong to work. His first American film was another action comedy, Double Team (1997) written by Don Jakoby. It also stared Jean Claude Van Damme, along with pro basketball player Dennis Rodman and Mickey Rourke.

Knock Off (1998) is one of the last films in the world to feature Kai Tak Airport as the airport closed in 1998.