DOUBLE DRAGON (1994)

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double-dragon

DOUBLE DRAGON (1994)
Directed by James Yukich

The year is 2007. Los Angeles has long been destroyed by an Earthquake and what ruined and assembled structures remain are dominated by gangs in the city now known as New Angeles. With the New Angeles Police Department protecting the streets by day, a curfew protects the residents at night when the gangs patrol the streets and beat up and rip off anyone who gets in their way. This truce between the gangs and the police is thrown into jeopardy when evil tycoon Koga Shuko gets his hands on one half of the mystical Double Dragon medallion. Looking to take over the city, he needs the other half to complete his plans but the second half is in the possession of martial artists Billy and Jimmy Lee, two brothers who’s father acquired the Double Dragon talisman many years before. With the help of Marian, who runs pro-active vigilante group Power Corps with like-minded individuals, the duo must do everything they can to stop Koga Shuko from getting their half and reclaim his half before Shuko uses the power for evil.

Inspired by the hit arcade video game, DOUBLE DRAGON is a fun, albeit cheesy, action adventure movie with Terminator 2‘s Robert Patrick leading the way as villain Koga Shuko complete with silver bouffant hair and black eyebrows and goatee. Very wicked, indeed! Our two heroes of the piece are Jimmy Lee (Mark Dacascos) and Billy Lee (Scott Wolf, who starred in V remake) who are just two teenage boys trying to make their name on the martial arts competition circuit but unfortunately for the highly skilled Jimmy, Billy ends up ruining their chances when he treats the competition as a joke. The fun and games stop though once they’re a target from Koga Shuko and even their guardian Satori (Julia Nickson) can only protect them for so long.

For a film that has a competent villain, I was expecting a jucier plot, better execution and some actual cool powers from both Koga Shuko and the Lee brothers. It wouldn’t need much to make it a decent film but unfortunately, all aspect of making the story three dimensional has been ignored to make it a series of confrontations with a few jokes and lingering bum shots of teenage female character Marian (Alyssa Milano) to spice it up. As a kid, I loved watching Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the movie that emerged from that series was actually pretty good. It still retained an air of cheesiness, which you expect, but it was quite an entertaining story with plenty to enjoy, from the ass-kickin’ characters to the action-packed storyline. I was hoping for a similar kind of thing with Double Dragon but unfortunately it fails to bring any investment or real likability towards the characters of Jimmy and Billy with even their powers a little weak and pointless, given just a couple of minutes of screen-time, despite the medallion being bigged up from the beginning of the movie as providing its wielder with incredible power.

It’s not all bad news though. The costumes and set design in the film are pretty neat and reflect the 80’s/90’s decade really well, though any kid watching now will be wondering what the hell they’re watching (they don’t know what they missed!). The use of prosthetics to create mohawked baddie Obobo into a super steroid giant, with traps that meet the height of his head,  is a great choice but at the same time, his part is underused and feels like a missed opportunity – maybe Koga Shuko could’ve use the machine as part of a sinister plot. The slapstick and sarcasm go together well, but there’s something missing, be it character development or real threat from Shuko.

DOUBLE DRAGON is bit of mindless fun and achieves its goal in the basic of formats but there’s plenty of kids action adventure movies out there that do it 10x better.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

101 Films have released Double Dragon on Blu-Ray with 2.0 stereo audio and no special features.

About Bat 8005 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Webbed.

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