November 15, 2013

Movie Review: Double Dragon

There was a time when it was fun to go to the arcade. When I was a kid I always enjoyed it when my parents gave me a buck to waste on a few games. I remember playing a game or two in the little arcade at the bowling alley. I even remember friends having birthday parties at arcades, it seems unheard of today, and no Chuck E. Cheese and Dave & Busters are not considered arcades by me. I would go and play pinball, Rampage, The Simpsons, Elevator Action, Road Blasters, Battle Toads, X-Men, and one of my favorites Double Dragon. Those were the days.

As for the movie at hand, it is based on Double Dragon, sported a decent cast, and was unleashed upon theaters way back in 1994. Somehow, I went nearly twenty years without seeing this thing. I really have no idea how this movie eluded me for so long, it seems like the sort of movie I would have hit up in the theaters. Anyway, the movie managed to escape my site until now. I am not sure if the time not seeing this was a good thing or not. Either way, it has managed to get past my eyes and into my brain.

Double Dragon was inspired by the video game of the same name, but does not really seem to have been true to its origins. The game did not have much of a plot, per se, it basically had Jimmy and Billy Lee fighting against thugs to save Marian. Plot did not matter as much in those days, I just liked plugging in the quarter and punching and kicking the bad guys. Understandably, the movie had to add something to the tale to make it worthy of making a movie out of. I think they were just using the license to try and make a buck (based on the theatrical take, that idea backfired).

The movie has Billy (Scott Wolf), the hot headed one, and Jimmy (Mark Dacascos), the bitter one, as a young martial artist team being raised by Satori, who adopted the boys as orphans. They live in New Angeles, Los Angeles after a massive quake in the future of 2007. By day the police are in charge, but at night the gangs come out to rule.

I am getting ahead of myself. We first learn about the double dragon medallion and its ability to bring balance through powers of body and mind. Koga Shuko (Robert Patrick), is a crimelord/businessman who seeks to unite the power of the two dragons. He has one half and must find the other. Guess who has it? Yup, Satori. Well, Shuko attacks the Lee home and Satori is killed. The brothers want revenge, Shuko wants the medallion and there is the inevitable showdown. Oh yeah, rather than a woman in distress, Marian (played by Alyssa Milano) leads an anti-gang terrorist group called the Power Corps and helps the Lee brothers fight Shuko and his goons.

Nothing special for the plot, just plenty of bad acting, bad writing, bad fighting, and bad sets. This is not a movie I can really recommend. Still, there was something about it that made it watchable. Even without having seen it before I felt pangs of nostalgia for a bygone time. I still felt transported back to a time when it was still fun to be fans of things, when videogames were simple fun, when they made these silly nonsensical films, and when it was enough just to be. I have a soft spot for movies like this. It is goofy, stupid nonsense that could have been a lot better. Ahh, so what. Double Dragon is what it is and makes no apologies for it.

Not Recommended.

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