Gamer Cinema: Double Dragon
Double Dragon actually lends itself pretty well to a movie adaptation if it was made by someone who gave a shit-Apocalyptic future, gangs run everything and they kidnap the hero's girlfriend. Not hard to write and could've been a good homage to classic Japanese martial arts films. Unfortunately what we get is an incredibly desperate attempt to cash-in on the turtle-mania that was going on at the time. TMNT was goddamn huge in the early 90s, in no small part thanks to the surprisingly clever movies. Sure they were cheesy, but very knowing of that and had a lot of fun with it. So you get obvious low rent knockoffs like Double Dragon with a surprisingly even more absurd plot and worse writing and effects.
The basic story is that there's this medallion called the Double Dragon that is split in two-halves, one gives a person complete control over soul (which somehow amounts to possession) and the other over body (which maybe makes you invincible? It's not completely clear) and of course combined they make the wearer virtually invincible (except not but we'll get to that later). And in the YEAR 2007 when LA has been turned into a complete shithole chemical accidents and earthquakes, somehow that translates to gangs ruling the streets to the point where the cops have a truce with them that they can do whatever they want at night but leave the citizens alone during the day. Robert Patrick is evil businessman who pretty much runs anything already but wants the medallion BECAUSE REASONS!
How do the brothers Lee even fit into this? Pretty randomly. Some girl who is like a big sister to them happens to have one-half of the medallion (Patrick already has the other half at the beginning of the movie). So Patrick is pursing them in order to get his hands on it. Where's their usual damsel in distress Marianne? It's a blonde Alyssa Milano who runs the one "good" gang in the city, the Power Cores. I wish I was making this up.
Now, I'm not going to be to derisive of the general plot itself (or attack the "acting" because although it's bad and not in a fun way, it's hardly something you judge in a movie like this), you want to insert some random mystical whatchamacallit into the base story that's fine. But even for a movie clearly aimed it kids, it doesn't follow any of it's own logic (and yes even in kids films that should matter). There is no reason for Patrick's character to obtain the medallion, he already runs everything. In fact going after the medallion at all is his undoing. The powers of the medallion are also ridiculously inconsistent, like I mentioned before the "soul" half seems to give possession over others, but the "body" half is never clearly defined. And while Patrick uses it all by himself, the brothers can share the powers even though you have to have the medallion to use it. Also for some reason when he had the whole medallion, Patrick was weak to bright light. Why? BECAUSE REASONS! I'm pretty sure this script was cobbled together from several other scripts and no one bothered to make sure the worked cohesively together as these are just the biggest of many examples.
The one real tie-in to the movie is the appearance of Abobo, who for some reason is a random gang leader who goes under scientific experimentation to become some easily beatable mutant monstrosity. Why? They could've just had some big muscled dude and that would've been fine.
Well what about the action? This is a martial arts movie after all, and hey the action scenes in the Turtles movies were pretty fun and clever even if they barely qualified as martial arts. Well this may be some of the worst excuses for action scenes I've seen in a long time. Everybody clearly used stunt doubles which is fine but the editing is completely awful and I'm fairly sure this is just some of the laziest "fighting" I've ever seen. Double Dragon is probably only second to infamous Super Mario Bros. Movie as the worst video-game adaptation of all time. It gives the same amount of respect to the source material, basic logic and anybody who would possibly want to watch it.
That's it for today, my next post should hopefully be up Tuesday or Wednesday with impressions of the Wonderful 101 demo, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team & DUCKTALES! WOOHOO!