Friday, October 16, 2020

Double Dragon

Based on the video game series, Double Dragon offers the story of brothers Billy Lee (Scott Wolf) and Jimmy Lee (Mark Dacascos) living in a dystopian 2007 New Angeles who are tasked with preventing one hell of a goofy super-villain (Robert Patrick) from getting his hands on both halves of an ancient Chinese talisman. While neither the best nor worst movie based off a video game, Double Dragon is a fair example of just what kind of mixed results the genre is known for.

With a story by Paul Dini and Neal Shusterman, and a script by Michael Davis and Peter Gould, director James Yukich delivers... a mess. A glorious mess to be sure, that could not be any more 1990s if it tried. Double Dragon is a bad movie in many, many ways. However, it's certainly not boring. The film's go-for-broke attitude, bizarre setting, and offbeat storyline certainly make it a pop culture touchpoint of the time. With tongue firmly in cheek, the game's arcade console is used as a prop in the film and the script even calls attention to co-star Alyssa Milano's television fame. Double Dragon is a memorable, and at times even charming, clusterfuck.

I'll give Yukich a bit of credit here given the script and cast he had to work with. Rather than attempt a good film, which would one hell of an unlikely outcome, he settled on creating an entertaining one. Cheesy in the extreme, with the added value of nostalgia, Double Dragon is probably better viewed today than during its initial release. Patrick has publicly stated that on paper his role as Kogo Shuko made sense, and he enjoyed going this far over-the-top, but damn if it isn't a bizarre choice complete with Vanilla Ice bleached hair (although the look of the mutated Bo Abobo or the costumes of the good gang known as the Power Corps are all in running for the prize of worst design mistake). In contrast, Kristina Wagner's whip-wielding Linda Lash is tame in comparison. The film is also notable for a handful of celebrities playing themselves as the news reporters of the time.

Double Dragon has been released on DVD and Blu-ray several times. The new Special Edition includes the previous extras like featurettes and trailers along with the pilot of the animated TV-show. Also included here are a new featurette on producer Don Murphy and an extended documentary featuring interviews from cast and crew.

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