Yes! This is more like it! Guns, kicks, punches, bombs and there’s even something for the ladies as the plot centres around the pointless world of fashion, and of course Van Damme spends most of the film naked. This time he teams up with NFL star Dennis Rodman to take on some evil fashion designers who have been weaving their clothes from hemp. Once worn, these clothes will instantly intoxicate the wearer, send them into fits of laughter, make them hallucinate and ‘trip’, and eventually descend into a spiral of addiction, crime, and murder that every drug user ever has suffered.
Van Damme is a former model turned super cop and decides he is the best man to infiltrate the group, kick them in the face, destroy the clothes, and save the world. Unfortunately, his boss decides to send a more flamboyant character along as a more modern partner. So they go undercover (sometimes literally!) as a gay couple pretending to want to buy a large shipment of these wonderful summer outfits. This leads to some jolly moments as Van Damme and Rodman attempt to ‘out camp’ each other with scenes reminiscent of the parties Oscar Wilder and Noel Cowardly used to hold for each other. Rodman keeps wearing shorter and shorter skirts, while Van Damme tucks his socks into his shoes and ends every sentence with the word ‘sailor’. “The only thing worse than not having any clothes is having too many” says Van Damme. “The only thing worse than having no clothes is yo momma'” replies Rodney.
Of course the main focus of the film is the fighting and we are not disappointed. Famous Japanese director Sue Hark shows her trademark style with flashy camera movement, bullet tracking shots, cameras attached to Van Damme’s sandals so that we can see a foot eye view of someone on the other end of The Mussels From Belgium’s brutal attack. It is truly rewarding, as rewarding as throwing a dart into Jim Bowen’s left cheek. Dennis Rocksmarth’s moves are OK. Being a big lad, we assume he can look after himself and he throws a few left hoops and upperclamps. His attempts at kicking are hideous and made my cat cry – I’ve seen better kicking from Peter in Dawn Of The Dead.
Sue goes one further though with her interpretation of what would happen if you wore a cardigan of drugs. One character begins to giggle and roll about the floor, and we see what they see; we move to split screen a le Mario Kart. The top half is normal colour vision but spinning around 350 degrees, while the bottom half becomes black and white with blasts of neon colours. This eventually blurs into one and the character enters a world full of spinning knives and shoes being thrown from room to room. It reminded me of playing Doom naked with a live mouse and synthesiser instead of the usual keyboard/mouse combination. The floors and walls are melting and being sculpted by invisible artists into bewildering phrases such as ‘Burt’s Beans are Number 1!’, ‘If you sit in my kitchen you will become a-‘, ‘Jacob the Chicken knows more than your Spleen ever will’, and of course ‘Carry your Turnip with Pride, Brain’. None of this makes much sense and it got a bit irritating after 7 minutes. Eventually the character reaches a help desk made of fire (which itself is made of water) and asks the Sheep in a Tux what is going on. ‘Baaaa’ replies the sheep. ‘Well, that’s what I though but I sought clarification’. As she turns away a large bubble engulfs her in slime and pops loudly. We cut to a wide shot of the women splatting against the ground and realise she has thrown herself off a building.
In the end the co-stars work well together and would go on to star in several more films together, including a theatre version of this film. I haven’t seen it but if it’s half as good as this it’ll be average. If it’s the same quality it’ll be great!
Best Scene: When VD and the DR are lying in bed together and Rodman feels something prodding him. ‘Those aren’t pillows you’re hands are between!’