Here, Jack Paul Quinn (Van Damme) is a retired government anti-terrorist agent with a pregnant wife who learns the news that his old nemesis Stavros (Rourke) is back in action, and is forced to un-retire to stop him. Quinn travels to Antwerp, Belgium to meet up with arms dealer Yaz (Rodman), then to an amusement park where Stavros meets with his six-year-old son. A shootout occurs, and he and Quinn are led to a hospital maternity ward. Quinn is then knocked unconscious in an explosion.
Due to his failure to capture Stavros, Quinn wakes up on an island called "The Colony", an invisible and inescapable penal institution for secret agents "too valuable to kill but too dangerous to set free", which even includes terrorists. Quinn later receives a message saying that Stavros has kidnapped his wife, so he attempts to escape The Colony, team up with Yaz, and rescue her.
Absolutely no relation to a move in Pokémon.
This film provides examples of:
- The Alcatraz: "The Colony" is located on an island someplace unknown, far away from civilization, with guards, biometric tracking of the agents within, and a grid of underwater lasers to kill anybody who tries to take a swim. Quinn exploits the fact the Colony gets the occasional air drop of supplies. Considering the fact that some of the agents sent to the Colony are quite visibly crooks, this definitely fits.
- Ambiguously Gay: Between Yaz' borderline fetish fashion and some of his reactions to being close to Quinn, it goes well beyond Ambiguously Bi.
- Artistic License Geography: The movie shows Antwerp as a place full with towering flashy discotheques, tattoo shops and a red light district where crowds of people roam the streets. It looks more like Bangkok than actual Antwerp.
- Artistic License Physics: Where to start?
- The scene where Quinn jumps into the water on the island—jumping into a body of water from that high would be like jumping onto concrete.
- Pretty much any of the explosion scenes would have done far worse damage than they do in the movie, not just from the explosions but from the blasts of air and subsequent shrapnel. The ending, where Yaz outruns the Coliseum fireball, takes this to even more ludicrous levels, when he defends himself and the baby from the explosion via a Coca-Cola vending machine—a scene that would give the tunnel fire scene from Independence Day a run for its money.
- Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Quinn cuts out the skin of his own thumb to provide time-needed biometrics while he is elsewhere in his plan to escape the Colony.
- Death Faked for You: The people behind The Colony exploit the fact Quinn was injured by a near-point-blank grenade explosion to fake his death and steal him away to the Colony.
- Defeat Means Explosion: Taken Up to Eleven with Stavros, who blown himself up in a moment of Better to Die than Be Killed (via being eaten by a tiger) and sets off enough landmines to turn the Roman Coliseum into a gigantic Viking Funeral).
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Stavros stands on a mine of the coliseum's minefield, and a tiger is about to maul him. So Stavros steps off the mine the second the tiger lunges at him and send the entire coliseum up in flames. Further adding to the madness is Alex Goldsmythe (played by the actor that played Belloq), Quinn (Jean-Claude Van Damme), and Yaz (Dennis Rodman) outrunning a fireball while holding a baby.
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Stavros is about to be attacked by the tiger which he brought to the coliseum when one of the mines blows up.
- Final Battle-Induced Shirt Loss: Inverted, it's Stavros who has no shirt from the start of the fight.
- Gilded Cage: "The Colony" may look like a really nice resort, but agents that are sent there are meant to never see the world again, especially alive.
- Hacker Cave: The "techno-priests" have an old chapel catacomb full of cobbled-together computers in full cyberpunk fashion.
- I Have Your Wife: Stavros kidnaps Quinn's wife to apparently get her baby as a son, and leaves behind messages for Quinn to come catch him if he can.
- Improbable Cover: The heroes hide behind a coke machine and survive despite roaring walls of flame on either side. Possibly a moment of genre-savvy.
- Incredibly Lame Pun/Actor Allusion: Yaz spouts off a lot of basketball puns throughout the film.
- Infant Immortality: Subverted; Stavros' son dies during the shootout. Played straight with the babies in the maternity ward and Quinn's son, though.
- Internal Death Squad: Each member of "The Colony" has his own "guardian", one of the other retired spies that has the secret assignment to hunt down his respective member if he ever manages to escape. This is one of the complications that comes to bite Quinn in the ass when he does so on the third act, but thankfully his guardian (Alex Goldsmythe) happens to be a Reasonable Authority Figure and only asks Quinn for some hair so he can help him fake his death.
- Land Mine Goes "Click!": The colosseum has a mine field on it. One blows Stavros up.
- Mandatory Unretirement: The film's Batman Cold Open is Quinn's final mission for the spy agency he works for before retiring. He spends all of two minutes (and three years' worth of Time Skip) retired before his agency comes looking for him again because he's the foremost expert on Stavros on their roster.
- Moral Myopia: Stavros, big time. With a dose of hypocrisy. He rightfully mourns his son after he's shot. But he sees nothing wrong with shooting the staff of a hospital, who weren't responsible for his death, and putting grenades in baby baskets with the baby still in it.
- Mr. Fanservice: Both Yaz and Quinn. During the final battle Yaz even takes off his shirt for no reason whatsoever before rejoining with Quinn.
- Multicolored Hair: Yaz, and just like the actor who plays him.
- Never My Fault: Rourke brings gunmen and a weapon to a carnival to meet his son, and then chooses to take a poke at Quinn with his son nearby. During the ensuing shootout, the kid dies. He blames Quinn.
- Non-Actor Vehicle: Dennis Rodman plays the comedy character, sidekick, and wanna-be Q of the Action Duo.
- Non-Fatal Explosions: The nearly point-blank grenade blast that allows the Colony to fake Quinn's death leaves him with plenty of shrapnel wounds and needing extended time doing physical therapy but it doesn't kills him.
- Outrun the Fireball: Three times, no less. The first time, however, averts the trope and Quinn ends up hospitalized for 6 months.
- Pregnant Hostage: Quinn's wife.
- Product Placement: The dozens of Coke machines inexplicably placed in the colosseum. Which apparently provide excellent shields against fiery explosions.
- Steel Ear Drums: Despite all the explosions and gunfire, no one loses their hearing.
- Stuff Blowing Up: And boy is there a lot of it! The climax sets fire to the Roman Coliseum in ways worthy of a disaster film.
- Training Montage: As Quinn trains to get back into shape in time for his escape. Really it's mostly an excuse to make van Damme a Walking Shirtless Scene.
- Unflinching Walk: Stavros cooly walks away from the grenade explosion that "kills" Quinn, to add more Kick the Dog attitude to injury.
- Would Hurt a Child: Stavros makes a distraction so he can escape Quinn early on by dumping a hand grenade into a baby's hospital basket and rolling it towards Quinn while doing an Unflinching Walk from the upcoming explosion, and the climactic fight involves Quinn having to navigate through a mine field with his newly-born child placed in the middle of it as bait.
- Wretched Hive: The Antwerp street where Yaz's weapons workshop is located is loaded with bizarre S&M dancers and other weird fetish stuff.