25th May2015

‘Double Dragon’ Blu-ray Review (101 Films)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Mark Dacascos, Scott Wolf, Alyssa Milano, Robert Patrick, Kristina Wagner, Julia Nickson, Nils Allen Stewart, Henry Kingi, John Asher, Leon Russom, Al Leong, Michael Berryman, Vanna White, Andy Dick, Deanthony Langston, John T. Grantham, Ed Feldman, Roger Yuan, Ron Yuan | Written by Michael Davis, Peter Gould | Directed by James Yukich

double-dragon

There is a dark place in movie hell reserved for the beast known as the “video game movie”.  There have been some that really aren’t that bad, take DOA: Dead or Alive as an example or Silent Hill.  They knew how to keep things fun without being too cheesy in the process.  Double Dragon has been released on Blu-ray, and thankfully when it was first released I managed to miss it.  Given enough time for nineties cheese to become funny and for bad B-movies to become popular,  can it be redeemed as an eccentric cult-hit?

Set in the future (of 2007…) in a post-earthquake California, Jimmy and Billy Lee (Mark Dacascos and Scott Wolf) find themselves in possession of half of an ancient Chinese Talisman.  Millionaire Koga Shuko (Robert Patrick – with very dodgy hair and a bad fashion sense) is in possession of the other half and is determined to gain possession of both parts so than he can gain the absolute power they possess.

I remember playing the original Double Dragon game, and this was not the story that I remember.  The original featured a girlfriend kidnapping and the two characters fight to save her, not exactly the most interesting plot for a movie.  In adding a mystical element to the film I can understand what the aim was, it’s just a shame that the attempt was so badly written (or lazily).  There are plenty of gang members to do battle with, including a huge steroid injected freak – just wait till you see him – but what kills any real interest in these fights are the constant bad one-liners.  Obviously aimed at a young audience I guess it was assumed that kids would love the humour.  Just think Garbage Pail Kids level of bad, though at least with that movie there was an eccentric charm to it.

There is a bit of magic that pulls Double Dragon back from the brink of being too bad and that is the number of cult actors that pop up, almost for no reason at all.  Fans will love the randomness of Michael Berryman appearing, George Hamilton, Al Leong, and even Andy Dick,  I’m sure there are plenty of others to pick out on-screen too and it is fun to see them but  It is just a shame that the comedy fails so badly.  Get cheesy comedy right and you end up with a film like Commando where the one-liners are gold, get them wrong and you end up with something Double Dragon.

Looking at movies like Double Dragon it really must be something about the nineties style that just made the video game based movies so bad.  Super Mario Bros. was made a year before this (1993) and although I did like that one, the same level of cheesiness was on show and Double Dragon does feel like it steals some influence from that film.  Coming in the same year as Street Fighter though, which was another bad conversion from game to movie, I have to say that Street Fighter was more of a success in my view and had more of a star quota.  Double Dragon having Alyssa Milano was something I’d never complain about though with her character being surprisingly bad-ass at times.

I find it hard to recommend Double Dragon for those looking for an actually good cult movie, it is far from that.  What it is though is an oddity that taken in the correct context can be enjoyed for what it is; a bad b-movie.  With a surprising amount of (now) cult actors and a dorky but cheesy sense of humour it at least makes a movie geek like me just keep on repeating the words “oh my god” every few minutes so that means that it does get a reaction.  When I’m saying this because of bad hairstyles, fashion, acting and badly put together steroid monsters I’m not sure if that is a good thing or bad.  Double Dragon is a cult movie that is definitely something of an acquired taste.  Maybe just a little too acquired for most of us. [Not me, I LOVE it! - Editor]

*** 3/5

Double Dragon is out on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK now from 101 Films.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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