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Double Dragon (1994)

“Unholy Ug-Lee-ness”
My first acquaintance with the Double Dragon feature film was during my vacation, in an open summer theatre, in 1994. I remember that when I walked out of that theatre, it took me some time to come to my senses, to think what I had just had seen, and then I reconsidered throughly all my ill fated experiences in cinema up to that point. Then in a realization of utter disappointment but also amazement, I told to myself, “Damn. This is the worst movie I’ve ever seen!”
Back then I was only thirteen, and since then I have witnessed many horrors on the silver screen. Now, I would have had a pretty endless and pointless struggle answering to myself about just which is the worst movie I’ve ever seen, and if Double Dragon hasn’t moved one bit down the fail-scale all over these years. After trying to watch it one more agonizing time, I came into conclusion that Double Dragon isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen, but it is surely the most stupid film and certainly the most horrid and unworthy video game adaption.
Double Dragon was a great, addictive, cult status video game that shaped the fighting video games genre and personally cost me a lot of time and coin to walk right through its end, hitting buttons like hell. It was the first video game I came to see its credits by my own right, and – damn – it felt good for a kid! So, I’m double biased. But that doesn’t change anything. Although video game based movies have a totally deserving infamous rumor encircling them, this movie sets a total new abysmal record. Super Mario preceding this movie was a moronic gross, but still more decent that this one. And what can I say about Bam Bam Van Dam’s Street Fighter and Lambert’s Mortal Combat? The first had smoking hot Kyle and cheesy Julia and the second had at least pretty good fight choreographies and soundtrack. Both landmarks of silliness, sloppiness, kitsch and dreadful execution – both look like masterpieces to Double Dragon.
Nothing can prepare the viewer for the purely emetic experience that the film proper represents. The only faithful features of the video game adaption are the title, some names and some… villain innuendoes. The first problem lies in the screen writing. What made the video games so compelling was that they made as little effort as possible to differentiate its setting from the reality of the player. The story, such as it was, was secondary to people beating each other senseless. In the feature film, the writers attempt in the most ridiculous fashion to give the story of Double Dragon a background, a motivation, or a reality. All these are getting drowned right from the first scenes in totally punk-pulp shallowness and silliness. They manage to get all three in the trash can, as everything in this film comes out the same way: incredibly ugly (or “ug-lee” as stated one of the worst, recurring lines of the film) and inconceivably stupid. Making matters worse is some incredibly awful costume design. I do not know who designed Alyssa Milano's attire for this flick, but I am just betting they spent much of the time when they first saw what they had made laughing their ass off at poor Alyssa. How can anyone go further than Charmed after such an appearance? Whoever designed the makeup effects for the Abobo character should have been arrested for crimes against the 7th Art. I do not know exactly what they were trying to achieve with all the lumpage on his body, but whatever that was, they failed. Perhaps his “best” scene is when Milano is force-feeding him spinach in a torturing (mostly for the viewer) full of farts and burps scene. By the way, heed this warning: don’t even dare to think that the words “satire” or “purposely” can have anything to do with this movie – it is blown way out of proportion, hope and expectation.
The direction is just a cinematic abortion of the worst kind. Loose-ended fighting scenes make everyone look like fighting potato sacks, shots erupt in a chaotic walkthrough, and total chaos embedded in puke jokes and petty dialogue make you feel pity even for the wires and cameras that got involved in this thing.Casting was an even more disastrous element that totally destroyed fans’ brains and actors’ career. Alyssa Milano is a teen-street-clown, Kristina Wagner is a boring 80s blonde chick right out from a rock video clip, Scott Wolf is a perky-karate-kid-Tom-Cruise who never cried wolf again after this film, Marc Dacascos doesn’t even bother do all those great choreo that usually does in every film besides trying to act, and Robert Patrick is just an unlucky lame. What a fucking shame of uneasiness we‘ve got here. Dacascos just after the Crow and Patrick after Terminator 2 could have easily fired up their way to permanent stardom and success, at a point that both their careers still had a chance. But what seemed an obvious choice after the Crow and T2 to them and their agents? Double Dragon. Double the idiocy, misfortune and ill-fast-decision and you‘ve got two sparkly cine-figures, ridiculously self-destroyed in the same movie to blame. Even Julia Nickson-Soul that miraculously managed to pull her part through decently… do you even remember her?? Bad & Sad. Anyway, the word “terrible” can not instil or describe the double terror of the natural retard-ness of a wanna be unintentional comedy and a freaking fucked-up flick. You must be wicked hardcore if you can seriously sit through this. I was back in those days, but not anymore.


Anonymous said...

this movie had a lot of trouble from the start and had nothing to
do with the cast..The people behind
the scenes couldn't decide whether
or not to market the movie to teens
or go for the adult audience.. And if you look at every movie as if
it should be a masterpiece you
will never find anything you like..from the sound of it YOU
won't..the movie is fun and silly
if you take it that way instead of
looking for a perfect movie (which
will NEVER exist)... go to a movie
or watch a dvd and sit back and have fun and not play movie critic
at every second of the movie

VA-Gunner said...

I think that the good people behind the scenes came up with a very elaborate way to overcome the dilemma on whether
or not to market the movie to teens
or go for the adult audience: the went not for the teens but for the tin-heads! Or at least they thought the Double Dragon fan base was such-burnt out immature geeks. Look, this column is not on a quest for perfection, and if it was it would have ended successfully long ago: Dr. Strangelove, Star Wars original trilogy, Shawshank Redemption, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Batman Begins & Dark Knight, Watchmen and many more achieved solid perfection in their own right, genre and audience. And don't start on me with budget magnitudes, stars and production details because I will respond-and actually I WILL-with the latest pumped-up-with-everything Transformers disgrace. I'm so much into well made silly/funny/intentionally overacted movies like Jim Carrey's, Will Ferrel' s or, for recent example, the Fired Up cheerleader movie. But, here we’re talking about the minimum prerequisites of artistic respect and mental demand. Double Dragon is way below these minimums, and when some studio tries to feed me up with such fat farts, I rather play critic than play dead.

Anonymous said...

the movie's saving grace?

alyssa milano's ass

VA-Gunner said...

To be honest, I failed to notice in that "show-stealing" outfit, but why not?:practically a moving ass is itself a movie.