TV Party Tonight! #69

TV Party Tonight! #69

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Friday, 07 June 2019
COLUMN

Double Team – Retro VHS Look
[Blu-ray]

I have a soft spot for Jean Claude Van Damme, or JCVD for short. Ever since I was a little kid I had admiration for him and his action movies. Sure, I was fully on board with the Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis, Van Damme quartet of action stars, but something about JCDV always stood out for me. Partly because he was an actual martial arts expert, partly because he starred in Street Fighter and I thought that made him the coolest, and partly because he never fought Arabs in his movies. Also, I thought his special move “The Splits” was the epitome of physical superiority. How could it not be? And sure, his career has taken a turn for the weirder over the past several decades, with highs like the JCVD movie and Jean-Claude van Johnson and lows like with everything else, but the man is devoted to the craft and wants to entertain more than else, still out there gettin’ it done!

In his catalog probably nothing is more 90s than Double Team. It’s the perfect example of things that were done in the 90s just because they could do them. This movie teams JCVD up with Dennis Rodman. Remember him from basketball and weirdness? The dynamic between the two is equally weird as both superstars are being combined to who knows what end. Was Rodman supposed to fuel Van Damme’s slowly fading career? Was Van Damme supposed to help introduce Rodman to the world of action movies? Had Mickey Rourke’s career reached such a low point that these were the scraps he was clinging to? The whole thing is a gorgeous mess that you can’t take your eyes off of. Why is so much of the dialogue ADR’ed? Why all the basketball puns? Could they have conceived of a better way to hide the obvious product placements? With each rewatch, more questions arise. It’s truly a bonkers movie in the best way possible. Even though it wasn’t a hit at the time, making just $11 million with a $30 million budget, Double Team has since been resurrected as one of these movies that’s so bad it’s good. And I’ll admit that I loved it for all the wrong reasons when I was a kid (need I add that I was a giant Chicago Bulls fan as well?) and revisiting these old memories was an additional blast.

Mill Creek has given this release a perfect 90s release, with its Retro VHS series. The contents are pretty basic, with no extra features at all except for a menu (why even have this?). The cover is a replica of the VHS tape of its time, including a recreation of the wacky green cassette that accompanied this release. Get it? This VHS is AS CRAZY as Rodman’s hair.

Double Team is just a very fun movie and can be considered one of the great action flicks of the 90s and an unexpected highlight in JCVD’s career.

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