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JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME & MICHAEL ROOKER IN 'REPLICANT'

Year: 2001 Director: Ringo Lam Rating: ***1/2
title: Replicant aka Le clone 
cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michael Rooker

Here’s a really cool action movie that might distract or detract certain viewers because of Jean-Claude Van Damme, known for starring in banal and/or intentionally simplistic kung fu flicks – and at this point, 2001, his star was beginning to fade. But he’s great in a duel-role as a stone cold serial killer (with an INXS hairdo) and a Replicant of that psychopath created by the government to give tough cop, and the true main character, Michael Rooker clues on catching the real thing. The OF MICE AND MEN like chemistry works great between the two leads, reminiscent of CAGE where Reb Brown babysits a brain-damaged Lou Ferrigno: Rooker balancing anger and patience while the initially childlike double becomes more in tune with the situation at hand... as memories return of the previous murders... but the psychopath gets inside his vulnerable mind: turning him, and all his primal strength, to the dark side. Sounds complicated but it isn’t – and with Asian icon (and one of Quentin Tarantino’s main influences) Ringo Lam behind the camera, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is an action film that could have wallowed in your typical macho simplicity, but keeps an intriguing and involving aura from start to finish.
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