What happens when the newsreader from the V TV series teams up with The Crow (Stairway to Heaven-era) to do battle against T-1000 from Terminator 2 and his evil army? Let's find out!
Based on the videogame of the same name, what we have here is a fairly standard tale concerning a baddie known as Koga Shuko (Robert Patrick/T-1000) who wants to harness the powers of the mystical “Double Dragon” medallion and take over the futuristic city of New Angeles - a rebuilt post-earthquake version of Los Angeles. He's already found one half of the medallion and absorbed its power, but where could the other half be? Luckily for us, serious/goofy pair of berk brothers Jimmy and Billy Lee (Scott Wolf - him out of V, and Mark Dacascos - The Crow) have got it, having inherited it from a long line of Kung Fu warriors. Shuko sends his best henchmen to retrieve the medallion, while Jimmy and Billy team up with the good guy faction known as the Power Corp to fight back and bring the bad guys down.
That's really all there is to it as far as the story goes. Warring factions, a post-apocalyptic setting (sort of), and wacky humour- it's kind of like a kids' version of Mad Max meets The Warriors, with Michelangelo and Donatello from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the starring roles. The fight choreography is fine, the explosions are great, the special effects are more than acceptable, the chases are pretty thrilling and, for the most part, the acting isn't even that bad. Look out for a particular highlight during the post-match brawl at the Kung Fu tournament, where a small child appears to get forcefully (but accidentally, we hope) pushed out of the way by an overenthusiastic extra!
On the downside, almost every scene is littered with some of the cheesiest one-liners and misplaced comedy spots you've ever witnessed (example: somebody half-heartedly mumbles “is it me or is it hot in here?” when a building is set on fire), and barely any of them hit the mark. Maybe it was funny if you were a kid in 1994 when this was originally released, but a lot of the dialogue doesn't hold up too well today. Also, considering they're meant to be really good at Kung Fu, the heroes seem to spend an awful lot of time screaming and running away from things...
The whole thing is as ridiculous as it sounds, which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your point of view. If you're looking for something serious and gritty to sink a couple of hours into, you're definitely not going to find that here. On the other hand, it's certainly got its flaws but it's still pretty good if you're in the mood for something loud and daft to occupy yourself with.
There are no special features, and there seem to be a few slight issues with the transfer quality (audio volume is a bit inconsistent, and there were one or two screen glitches that may or may not have been down to our preview disc), so there isn't really much to set this Blu-ray apart from the previous DVD releases. The DVD is out of print now though, so this is the only version of Double Dragon currently available in stores. Hats off to 101 Films for keeping Double Dragon alive, for whatever reasons they decided to do it!
INFO: CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: JAMES YUKICH / SCREENPLAY: MICHAEL DAVIS, PETER GOULD / STARRING: ROBERT PATRICK, MARK DACASCOS, SCOTT WOLF, ALYSSA MILANO, JULIA NICKSON, KRISTINA WAGNER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW