Jake and the Replicant
As an actor Jean-Claude Van Damme has his limits and I can't say I have never seen him give a great acting performance but placed in the right movie he is more than capable of being entertaining. "Replicant" is one of those movies as it doesn't demand a huge amount from Van Damme in a double role as good guy and bad guy but puts the acting work on Michael Rooker's shoulders. Not that there is a great deal of acting for Rooker to do either because the storyline is not so great although still entertaining in a b-movie sort of way.
Having retired from the police force whilst on the case of a serial killer Det. Jake Riley (Michael Rooker - The 6th Day) plans to start a new life, that is until he is approached by a Government agency who believe they can help each other. The agency have created a genetically identical replicant (Jean-Claude Van Damme - Inferno) of the serial killer and want Jake to partner up with him in order to catch the killer. The trouble is that the replicant might look like a man and have some deep telepathic connection to the killer but he has no life experience and doesn't know how to act like a human.
There are basically three things going on in "Replicant" and the most obvious one is of course being a Van Damme movie there is action. Now with Van Damme playing both the killer and the Replicant when they fight there is of course the use of a double but I expect there was quite a bit more body double action going. I say this because the Replicant has gymnastic abilities and whenever we see him swinging on a bar it is a distant shot before then cutting to a close up of Van Damme just after landing. That isn't to say there isn't some Van Damme action as there is but it isn't up to his usual standards.
Then there is the comedy side of things as we have Jake dragging around the Replicant like a puppy that needs to be trained. Most of it is pretty dumb and unimaginative but the simple things such as the Replicant copying Jake giving someone the bird is amusing. And in fairness Van Damme sells it all quite well from looks of fear to the whole inappropriate action when he ends up in the red light district.
Then there is the actual storyline of Jake using the Replicant to try and track down the serial killer. It's not by any means great but it is interesting especially with the unsurprising friendship which forms between Jake and the Replicant and the telepathic communications between the killer and the Replicant. What helps in many ways is that Michael Rooker is the focus of most of the drama as the determined cop trying to catch a serial killer although having said that Van Damme puts in an impressive turn as the cold killer.
What this all boils down to is that "Replicant" is an entertaining Van Damme movie which is a little different to what you might expect. Whilst it isn't great and nothing more than a b-movie it keeps you amused.