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Double Team is a 1997 film directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark (in his American directorial debut) and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman and Mickey Rourke. Van Damme plays counter-terrorist agent Jack Quinn, who is assigned to bring an elusive terrorist known as Stavros (Mickey Rourke) to justice. Things become personal when Stavros kidnaps Quinn's pregnant wife after his own lover and child were killed in an assassination attempt that went awry. Aiding Quinn in his rescue is his flamboyant weapons dealer Yaz (Dennis Rodman).

A critical and commercial failure, the film was also nominated for and "won" three Golden Raspberry Awards: Worst Supporting Actor (Rodman), Worst New Star (also Rodman) and Worst Screen Couple (Rodman and Van Damme).

Plot

Having successfully completed his final mission three years prior, which was to retrieve a truck load of plutonium stolen from a US military base in Croatiamarker by freelance international terrorist Stavros (Mickey Rourke), government anti-terrorist agent Jack Paul Quinn (Jean Claude Van Damme) is relaxing by his pool in South France with Kathryn, his pregnant wife.

Quinn is approached by a government representative who tells him that Stavros, Quinn’s nemesis, has become active again and tries to convince Quinn to come out of retirement telling Quinn that he ‘can’t retire until he [Stavros] does’. Quinn is reluctant to return to duty but agrees after the same representative is killed by Stavros shortly after the meeting with Quinn.

Acting on intelligence received, Quinn travels to Antwerpmarker, Belgiummarker where he meets up with quirky arms dealer Yaz, played by Dennis Rodman, who equips Quinn with weaponry and then proceeds to meet the Delta team put together to capture Stavros.

Stavros has been tracked to an amusement park but Quinn hesitates to give the order to shoot Stavros when it becomes apparent that Stavros is meeting with his six year old son.

Stavros exploits Quinn’s hesitation and a shootout ensues in which Stavros’ son is killed and Stavros is able to escape into a hospital, pursued by Quinn. Stavros and Quinn fight in the hospital’s maternity ward with Stavros getting away after knocking Quinn unconscious in an explosion.

Quinn wakes up on ‘The Colony’, an inescapable, invisible penal institution island for secret agents reminiscent of The Village from The Prisoner.

Quinn learns that he has been sent to the Colony due to his failure to capture Stavros, that his family has been told he was killed and that only agents considered ‘too valuable to kill but too dangerous to set free’ are committed to the institution. The occupants of the Colony are expected to help analyse terrorist threats and have to register themselves present every day using a fingerprint scanner.

Meanwhile, Kathryn receives a call from an art gallery in Romemarker telling her that they would like to display her sculptures and that they will fly her out immediately. When she arrives, Stavros kidnaps her.

Whilst analysing information received from a terrorist bombing, Quinn picks up a message from Stavros telling him that Stavros has captured Kathryn and so Quinn realises he must escape the Colony if he is to save her. Quinn devises a system to fool the fingerprint scanner and is able to leave the island by attaching himself to cargo due to be extracted from the island from the air.

Quinn goes to Yaz, the only man who can help him, pleading for assistance in return for access to CIA bank accounts. Yaz agrees to help and the two go to Quinn’s house where they are ambushed by Stavros’ men. After fighting the men off, Quinn receives a message from Stavros telling him that he must go to Rome for his baby’s sake.

When they arrive in Rome, Yaz learns that Quinn’s wife is pregnant after Stavros delivers a sonogram of the baby to the given rendezvous. Quinn emails Stavros encouraging him to meet in a town square, knowing that Stavros will have to take the bait.

At the meeting point, Quinn catches sight of Kathryn in a car but is intercepted by Stavros before he can reach her and a shootout occurs as Kathryn is driven away. Quinn tracks Stavros’ henchmen down to the hotel suite where Kathryn was being held and finds a clue to her whereabouts - a prescription bottle label.

Meanwhile, Kathryn is transported to hospital where she gives birth.

Using the prescription bottle and with Yaz’s help, Quinn is able to track down the hospital where he finds Kathryn but discovers that Stavros has taken his son.

Thanks to assistance from a nurse, Quinn locates Stavros and the baby in an explosives-rigged Roman amphitheater. Stavros leaves Quinn in the middle of a minefield with his son and then unleashes a tiger.

Thankfully Yaz arrives on a motorbike and is able to snatch the baby, leaving Quinn to escape from the tiger and go after Stravros. Quinn and Stavros fight in the minefield until Stavros steps on a mine (after Yaz moved the markers) and is left stranded. Quinn, his son and Yaz run as Stavros is charged by the tiger and takes his foot off the mine, a chain reaction rips the amphitheater apart and Quinn is able to shield his friends from the ensuing blast by sheltering under a Coke dispenser. Stavros is killed by the blast.

Cast

  • Jean Claude Van Damme as Jack Paul Quinn: A government counter-terrorist agent, forced out of retirement by the kidnap of his pregnant wife, Kathryn, by Stavros.


  • Dennis Rodman as Yaz: An eccentric arms dealer. Yaz is based in or near Antwerp, Belgium, and boasts that he stocks military hardware so new that even he does not know he has it. Yaz initially agrees to help Quinn defeat Stavros after being offered access to CIA bank accounts but commits himself freely after discovering Catherine is pregnant.


  • Mickey Rourke as Stavros: An international terrorist. Stavros works freelance for any government willing to offer him sufficient financial incentive. At the start of the film he is implicated in the theft of plutonium from a US military base with the suggestion being that he intended to sell it to Iraqmarker. He undertakes a personal vendetta against Quinn, blaming Quinn for the death of his son.


  • Natacha Lindinger as Kathryn Quinn: Jack's wife and a sculptor by trade, Kathryn and her then unborn son are kidnapped by Stavros


  • Paul Freeman as Alex Goldsmythe: A friend with whom Jack Quinn is reunited after arriving at the Colony and who Jack had previously thought dead, Alex is Jack's 'guardian'. Jack's welfare and performance is Alex's responsibility and Alex is involved with tracking Jack once he escapes the island.


Production

Filming

Double Team was filmed on location in Antwerpenmarker, Belgiummarker, Nicemarker and Arlesmarker, Francemarker and in Romemarker, Italymarker. Whilst the film implies that the climatic fight between Quinn and Stavros takes place in Rome's Colosseummarker, the scenes were actually filmed in and around the Arles Amphitheatermarker in Southern France.

Score

Original music for Double Team was composed by Gary Chang who had previously worked on films including The Breakfast Club and The Color of Money. The soundtrack includes songs by Joey Schwartz, Leareo Gianferrari and Crystal Waters featuring Dennis Rodman.

Reception

Critical Reception

"More than just another action director, Tsui Hark is one of world cinema's great fantasists, with The Butterfly Murders and Once Upon a Time in China among his many credits. But this is rubbish: an incoherent James Bond-ish yarn distinguished only by its formal decadence and the presence of basketball's Dennis Rodman."
—TCh of Time Out London.
Double Team attracted generally negative reviews, holding a current score of 11% on review aggregation site, Rotten Tomatoes. Rodman's contribution as Yaz attracted particular criticism with attention being brought to the character's esoteric fashion sense, one reviewer pointing out that "his hair covers all known hues of the spectrum" and another remarking that Rodman "sticks out like a sore thumb throughout the picture". In addition, the film's plot and production was attacked by several reviewers for being unimaginative and impassive, The New York Times being especially savage writing that Double Team's 'sets are impersonal. Actors sleepwalk. Scenes don't end, they just stop'.

Criticism was not, however, universally negative. Notably, the Los Angeles Times referred to Double Team as "one of Van Damme's best" and continued to praise both Rodman's and Rourke's performances. In addition, the film was awarded four stars out of five by boxoffice.com in a retrospective review written in 2008.

Awards and Nominations

Organizations

Award Category Winner/Nominee Result
Razzie Awards Worst New Star Dennis Rodman Won
Worst Screen Couple Jean Claude Van Damme / Dennis Rodman Won
Worst Supporting Actor Dennis Rodman Won


Notes

  1. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119013/locations Double Team on IMDB
  2. http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1800283275/details Double Team on Yahoo! Movies
  3. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005999/ Gary Chang on IMDB
  4. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119013/soundtrack Double Team Soundtrack at IMDB
  5. http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/65707/double_team.html Time Out London's Double Team Review
  6. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119013/ Double Team on Rotten Tomatoes
  7. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/review97/doubleteamhowe.htm Washington Post's Double Team Review
  8. http://www.all-reviews.com/videos-2/double-team.htm all-reviews.com's Double Team Review
  9. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9402E0D8153DF937A35757C0A961958260 The New York Times's Double Team Review
  10. http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/reviews/cl-movie970404-2,0,4629882.story Los Angeles Times' Double Team Review
  11. http://boxoffice.com/reviews/2008/08/double-team.php Boxoffice.com's Double Team Review


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