ripe with explosions , mass death and really weird hairdos , tsui hark's " double team " must be the result of a tipsy hollywood power lunch that decided jean-claude van damme needs another notch on his bad movie-bedpost and nba superstar dennis rodman should have an acting career .
actually , in " double team , " neither's performance is all that bad .
i've always been the one critic to defend van damme -- he possesses a high charisma level that some genre stars ( namely steven seagal ) never aim for ; it's just that he's never made a movie so exuberantly witty since 1994's " timecop . "
and rodman . . .
well , he's pretty much rodman .
he's extremely colorful , and therefore he pretty much fits his role to a t , even if the role is that of an ex-cia weapons expert .
it's the story that needs some major work .
van damme plays counter-terrorist operative jack quinn , who teams up with arms dealer yaz ( rodman ) to rub out deadly gangster stavros ( mickey rourke , all beefy and weird-looking ) in an antwerp amusement park . the job is botched when stavros' son gets killed in the gunfire , and quinn is taken off to an island known as " the colony " -- a think tank for soldiers " too valuable to kill " but " too dangerous to set free . "
quinn escapes and tries to make it back home to his pregnant wife ( natacha lindinger ) , but stavros is out for revenge and kidnaps her .
so , what's a kickboxing mercenary to do ?
quinn looks up yaz and the two travel to rome so they can rescue the woman , kill stavros , save the world and do whatever else the screenplay requires them to do .
with crazy , often eye-popping camera work by peter pau and rodman's lite brite locks , " double team " should be a mildly enjoyable guilty pleasure .
but too much tries to happen in each frame , and the result is a movie that leaves you exhausted rather than exhilarated .
the numerous action scenes are loud and headache-inducing and the frenetic pacing never slows down enough for us to care about what's going on in the movie .
and much of what's going on is just wacky .
there's a whole segment devoted to net-surfing monks that i have yet to figure out .
and the climax finds quinn going head-to-head with a tiger in the roman coliseum while yaz circles them on a motorcycle , trying to avoid running over land mines and hold on to quinn's baby boy ( who's in a bomb equipped basket ) -- all this while stavros watches shirtless from the bleachers .
did i mention " double team " is strange ?
when it all comes down , this is just another rarely entertaining formula killathon , albeit one that feels no need to indulge in gratuitous profanity .
rodman juices things up with his blatantly vibrant screen persona , though , leading up to a stunt where he kicks an opponent between the legs .
but we didn't need " double team " to tell us he could do that , did we ?