A Serial Killer known as The Torch (Van Damme) is killing off single mothers and their children by setting their houses on fire. The Torch's nemesis Detective Jake Riley (Rooker) comes out of early retirement to hunt him down as hes assisted by a government-created replicant of The Torch.
Has nothing to do with the Replicants from Blade Runner.
This film provides examples of:
- Booby Trap: Garrote rigs a bomb to his computer that is triggered by a signal sent to his printer in case the cops came looking around his apartment.
- Clones Are People, Too: Jake initially treats the clone of a Serial Killer he's chasing as an expendable asset or no different than the person he was cloned from, but eventually warms up to him and starts treating him as a human being. The clone even gets to live out a new life after Faking the Dead.
- Evil Wears Black: Garrote dresses in all black clothes, whereas his 'good' clone is dressed in more heroic colors like blue and brown.
- Fearful Symmetry: Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a serial killer and his clone grown by the government to catch him. In the climactic fight, both Garrotte and the Replicant try to hit each other but end up punching each other's fists and kicking each other's legs. The weird thing is, they actually mirror each other's moves literally (i.e. one punches with his right, while the other with his left).
- Freudian Excuse: When Edward Garrote was a child, his mother murdered his father, then locked him in a closet and set the house on fire—he survived because it started to rain. Since then he murders women that he perceives as "bad mothers" and frequently taunts his now immobile elderly mother about it.
- Mirror Match: Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a serial killer and a clone created by the government to track him down. The clone has some sort of connection with the killer but a much nicer personality. In the end, they face off in a fight. The viewers expect to see a cool fight between two Van Dammes. Instead, they got an attempt at one, as the doubles try to punch and kick one another, only to perform the same exact move (but mirrored, for some reason) and strike the other's fist/leg instead.
- Murder by Cremation: In the climax Garrote tries to burn Jake alive by shoving him into a mortuary oven.
- No Social Skills: The Replicant clearly has no experience with social customs and is rather childlike in his behavior, having only been born a few days prior.
- Separated at Birth: One of several movies were Van Damme played two version of himself, but here the twin is actually a clone. Still the plot of the movie pretty much sets him up as a separated at birth, good, twin to the originals evil twin (complete with Twin Telepathy).
- Serial Killer: Edward "The Torch" Garotte is named such because he beats single mothers to death, then sets their houses on fire and leaves the child inside.
- Stalker Shrine: Garrote is shown to have a wall plastered with pictures of his nemesis Detective Jake Riley.
- Twin Telepathy: The Replicant is somehow receiving memories from his double. Since the person he was cloned from is a serial killer, this leaves him pretty horrified.
- Uterine Replicator: The Replicant was grown in an artificial womb, coming out as a full-grown adult.