Double Dragon (1994)

I’m Not Good Enough

Things had to go pretty wrong for me to reach the decision to watch today’s movie.  My original plan was to watch the sequel to yesterday’s movie.  I put the DVD in my computer and it would not play.  I tried to update things, do a virus scan, a registry cleanup, and every other thing I could think to do to fix my computer just enough to watch the Chronicles of Riddick.  I failed.  So I reached the “fuck it” conclusion and went to Netflix to see what was streaming.  A momentary touch of dementia and a few clicks later and I was watching Double Dragon.  I perhaps acted rashly…  Anyways, I watched Double Dragon, and now you can read about it.  Double Dragon was directed by James Yukich, and stars Mark Dacascos, Scott Wolf, Robert Patrick, Julia Nickson, Alyssa Milano, Kristina Malandro Wagner, Nils Allen Stewart, Leon Russom, Al Leong, and Michael Berryman, with cameos by Vanna White, George Hamilton, and Andy Dick.

Linda Lash (Kristina Malndro Wagner) has found half of a magical medallion called the Double Dragon for her boss, Koga Shuko (Robert Patrick).  The other half of it is around the neck of Satori Imada (Julia Nickson) who stays in a dystopian Los Angeles, training two brothers of inexplicably different ethnicities.  There’s the Asian one, Jimmy Lee (Mark Dacascos), and the White one, Billy Lee (Scott Wolf).  On the way home from a martial arts tournament, they get on the wrong side of a gang lead by Abobo (Nils Allen Stewart).  Cornered, they’re rescued by a good guy gang called the Power Corps, lead by Marian Delario (Alyssa Milano).  Shuko hunts down the medallion’s other half and destroys the Lee’s house, killing Satori in the process.  The brothers team up with Marian to take down Shuko while trying to figure out how to gain magic powers from their half of the medallion as Shuko has.  They defeat him, join the halves of the Double Dragon medallion, and get matching outfits that were rejected from Earth, Wind, and Fire, and the movie ends.

This movie is currently rated at 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, and boy did this movie earn it.  It sucks out loud.  One could say that they stuck close to the video game that they based themselves on by having no story, just like the video game.  Actually, there’s a very good chance that the video game had a better story.  It’s set in a dystopian world that has been done better in other movies.  The story itself is juvenile and ill-defined.  To my recollection, it’s never described how this really white guy and this really Asian guy became brothers, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just in a metaphorical sense.  The powers granted by the Double Dragon medallion are also ill-defined.  Shuko can, as it becomes helpful to the story, turn into a shadow, walk through walls, inhabit bodies, choke people, anything that is necessary at that point in the story. The other half of the medallion doesn’t show it’s power until the very end of the movie and basically just seems to allow the holder to take a beating.  It doesn’t seem to make the holder any stronger, you can just get your ass kicked and survive it.  When the brothers finally get their Earth, Wind, and Fire outfits – in a whirlwind transition reminiscent of the Mask – their first order of business is to beat the crap out of a depowered, defenseless Shuko.  I realize he did some messed up things, but it’s a less than heroic end.  And they top it off by taking control of Shuko’s body and making him slap himself in the face.  Now you’ve killed your heroism and your maturity.  There’s also smaller parts of the movie that don’t make sense, like their ultra-futuristic cars with high-tech computer devices in them, but the cars are powered by burning trash, the music in some parts adds in tiny noises that sound like farts, and the main characters high-five about 87 times in the movie, sometimes while still in the middle of a fight.  The only thing I found cute in the writing was that Alyssa Milano and Kristina Wagner break the fourth wall and exchange insults like “generally, I put people in the hospital” and “who’s the boss now?”, referencing the fact that Wagner was on General Hospital and Milano was on Who’s The Boss.

You might assume that a movie with poor story based on a beat-’em-up video game would have decent fight scenes.  You’d be wrong.  And stupid, if you actually expected good things out of Double Dragon.  Best I could tell, there was one, maybe two people in this movie that could even pretend they could fight.  Scott Wolf was awful at it.  So much so that it seemed the choreographers stopped having him fight and instead made him do things for comic relief instead in the fight, such as throwing basketballs, breaking a gumball machine to trip the enemy, and trapping the enemy’s hair in a suitcase.  Mark Dacascos was one of the only people that could fight that was a member of the main cast.  His fights were the most interesting.  Julia Nickson was the person who trained them in martial arts in the movie, but she was even worse than Wolf.  I assume there was some racism involved in hiring her.  Someone probably thought “She’s Asian, of course she knows Kung Fu.”  Generally speaking, the fights ranged from bad to laughably bad.

The performances are as poor as you would expect.  I can’t think of a decent performance in the entire movie, so I’ll just talk about them in general.  Mark Dacascos was the most interesting fighter in the movie.  Scott Wolf took more of a comic relief side, but when you can’t fight and aren’t funny, it’s a failed endeavor.  Robert Patrick is great at looking sinister, but the hair they gave him in this was ridiculous.  It was pure white with black tips and it was like a tall buzzcut.  Find a picture of this if you want a laugh.  And speaking of ruining great looks with bad hair, they made Alyssa Milano unattractive to me in this movie by giving her a lesbian haircut.  It was bleached blonde and about as short as my hair.  It was shorter than Robert Patrick’s.  Kristina Wagner was attractive and was actually able to pull off a really subtle craziness that seemed just barely restrained below the surface.  Nils Allen Stewart has a goofy look to him at first, but then that is blown way out of proportion when Shuko injects him with some experimental steroid making him look, if I may quote the movie, “like the Stay Puff Marshmellow Man”.  It’s horrible looking.

I have probably said far too much about this movie.  I may have spent more time writing this review than they did writing the movie.  There’s nothing really good to witness here.  Not look, not story, not comedy, not fighting, not nothing, not no how!  It’s not painfully bad though, so it is good joke fodder.  If you’re in to mocking movies, you can watch this.  If not, why are you even considering it?  I give Double Dragon “Ug Lee” out of “Home Lee”.

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!