Desperately Seeking Simon

This Dennis Rodman vehicle is a forgettable yarn with a flawed storyline and insubstantial characters.

Chief villain Ashton (Jérôme Pradon), a notorious arms dealer, blackmails US Colonel Telore (Igor De Savitch) into giving him a sophisticated weapon that can blow up anything from anywhere in the world. In order to operate this gun, Ashton needs a certain disk that contains US military classified information.

To obtain the disk, he employs Bernard (Henry Courseaux), who in turn puts the pressure on William Fence (Clayton Day), a man with access to the much coveted disk, by kidnapping his daughter Claire (Natalia Cigliuti), thus forcing him to give the disk to the crazy Ashton. Claire, thinking she's on an exchange program at Bernard's house and completely unaware of the disk, falls in love with Michael (Filip Nikolic), Bernard's son.

Enter Nick (Dane Cook), who is employed by Fence to help get his daughter back alive. He asks the man with the yellow bike, Simon (Dennis Rodman) to help him out, and that is when the whole story mushrooms into action.

As the movie unfolds, one discovers that everybody is after the disk, including Simon, a tall, muscular crime-fighter who seems to be a less fleshed-out version of James Bond. Simon's computer assistants, Macro (John Pinette) and Micro (Ricky Harris), who dress as monks and whose hideout is the basement of an abandoned church equipped with high-tech computers and surveillance gadgetry, and his formidable female opponent (played by Emma Sjöberg), are the other chief characters in the story.

Director Kevin Elders has taken a half-baked plot and smoothed out the edges well. With fight sequences that erupt with the regularity of the rising sun, a minimalist script, and flat humor, the only thing that salvages the movie is the acting, which at best, is fair.

Dennis Rodman has commanding screen presence. This basketball player and author of two books, seen before with Jean Claude van Damme in "Double Team" (1997), plays the key role and the movie's success rests on his capable shoulders. The scenes that he appears in are almost always explosive, and they do hold the viewer's interest in what happens next.

The femme fatale Emma, Nick, and the two "monks" are mere stick figures. Jerome Pradon, who moves around with his right-hand man Xin Xin (Xin Xin Xiong), is stereotypically clipped and pruned, with not a hair on his head out of place (so long as things go his way). Sarcastic and sometimes funny, his performance is enjoyable although his role is insubstantial.

The movie flows well, progressing from one crisis to another at a good pace. The fight sequences, which form the meat of this movie, though not as slick as the kind crafted by John Woo, are packed with great stunts and some quick-as-lightning moves.

The director pushes our credibility to the limit when Simon's car lets loose a parachute so as to cushion its fall off a cliff - this is the flick's only major flaw. Otherwise, filled with characters that are faithful to their type-casted roles, fitted with a mildly engaging storyline, sprinkled with amusing fight scenes, and concluded with a contrived end, the movie will make any ten- to twelve-year old's day.

This article was first published on 29 Nov 2000.