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DOUBLE DRAGON

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, March 29, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: This martial arts comedy was one of the earliest live-action pictures to be adapted from a video game, and it must have a following since the independent MVD label has decided to give it a Blu-ray upgrade. Here’s my review, published Nov. 4, 1994, in the Deseret News.

"Double Dragon" is, like "Super Mario Bros.," based on a popular video game. And like that film, "Double Dragon" pales in comparison to the game itself.

In fact, it takes the main characters, Billy and Jimmy Lee (Scott Wolf, Mark Dacascos), the entire film before they finally don the uniforms worn by the characters in the game.

My 13-year-old son David said he would have enjoyed the film more if that had occurred in the first half-hour. He's right, of course. It's like having Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne spending an entire movie searching for his identity and then suddenly becoming Superman or Batman in the film's final moments.

     

Mark Dacascos, left, Scott Wolf, Alyssa Milano, 'Double Dragon'

A comedy/martial arts epic set in Los Angeles, circa 2007 (where it is now called New L.A. and resembles something out of "Mad Max" or "Blade Runner" or "RoboCop" or "Escape From New York"), "Double Dragon" concerns the exploits of a pair of naive teens who battle an evil corporate raider called Koga Shuko (a blond Robert Patrick, of "Terminator 2").

He and the boys each have half a medallion — and Koga wants the other half at any cost. His half has power over the soul while theirs has power over the body — and with both, he would have power over everything.

    

Mark Dacascos, left, Robert Patrick, 'Double Dragon'

So, Billy and Jimmy team up with the police chief's daughter (Alyssa Milano), who is secretly the leader of a group of vigilante do-gooders, along with a 600-pound villain-turned-good-guy who is the victim of steroid torture.

Along the way, they drop bad puns, race through streets in their "Dragon Wagon" and generally find themselves overpowered by the lame script and impressive special effects. (The best gag has George Hamilton and Vanna White as news anchors.)

In all, the film is, in the words of my 11-year-old son Danny, "really lame."

"Double Dragon" is rated PG-13 but has considerable (if generally comic) mayhem, as well as some mild profanity and vulgarity.