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Film / Double Impact

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"Feel the Impact"

Released in 1991 and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Double Impact is often said to be a better Double Dragon movie than the actual live-action adaption.

The story begins 25 years ago with the opening of the Hong Kong Victoria Harbour tunnel by business partners Paul Wagner and Nigel Griffith (Alan Scarfe). Paul attends with his twin baby sons, Chad and Alex. However, after the celebrations, the family is followed home by a Triad hit squad on orders from Griffith and crime lord Raymond Zhang (Philip Chan). A shootout ensues, in which Paul and his wife are killed by the bodyguard Moon (Bolo Yeung). Chad is rescued by the family bodyguard, Frank Avery (Geoffrey Lewis), and raised abroad. Alex is dropped off on the doorstep of a Hong Kong orphanage.

Those 25 years later Chad (Van Damme) and Frank run a successful martial arts business, and Frank reveals to Chad that he has a twin brother. Alex (Van Damme) turns out to be a streetwise punk in the Hong Kong criminal world. When finally meeting Alex, they get off on a rocky start. But there is no time for them to bicker as they have to fight Zhang and Griffith gang to get their revenge and claim the tunnel as theirs.

This film provides examples of:

  • Attempted Rape: One of Griffith's mooks tries to have his way with Danielle but Alex arrives Just in Time to prevent it from happening.
  • Badass in Distress: Frank is an accomplished fighter who kills several Triads in the Action Prologue and the first strike against Zhang and Nigel. But he spends most of the movie as a prisoner of the bad guys who needs to be saved from them by the twins.
  • Bottomless Magazines: There are several abuses of this throughout, but by far the most glaring is during the warehouse scene about halfway through. Alex dual wields a pair of Beretta 92FS (which hold 15 rounds, plus one in the chamber), and during a protracted shootout, clearly fires in excess of 30 or more rounds from each gun without stopping to reload.
  • Cast of Expies: The film as a whole is a more accurate depiction of the Double Dragon video game.
    • Alex is Billy and Chad is Jimmy with Danielle being Marian/Marion the love interest. Characterwise, Alex is closer to Jimmy, but Jimmy doesn't get the girl.
    • Kara is Linda. She even wears an outfit similar to female enemies in the first game, but she does not carry a whip.
    • Moon is one to Abobo and Bolo. He wields oil drums and is a Giant Mook. So this makes him an expy of an expy an exp.. Aaah!
    • Peter is this to the Mysterious Warrior from Double Dragon II: The Revenge. He does not have supernatural powers or dresses like him for that matter, but he uses darkness to his advantage as this video demonstrates.
  • The Cameo: Second unit director and stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong plays Chad and Alex's father Paul.
  • Co-Dragons: Moon is the dragon and Number Two for Zhang, while Kara and Pete are co-dragons to Griffith. Though all three share equal authority when both halves of the Big Bad Duumvirate are involved.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Alex's girlfriend turns out to be working for one of the men who killed his father and stole his family company, allowing her to be The Mole for the heroes.
  • Extremity Extremist: Peter uses nothing but kicks when fighting. It makes sense considering he's wearing spurs on his shoes for extra damage. Alex and Chad do mix it up with there moves, but the former seems to do a lot of his fighting with punches, chops, elbows, and neck breaks. The latter usually pulls of a lot of kicks and spin kicks.
  • Fan Vid: The Van Damme Fan 2009 has put out a series of videos with clips of Double Impact replaced with sound effects from Double Dragon II on the NES.
  • Genius Bruiser: Moon is clever, crafty, and vicious.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Chad smacks a goon over the head with a bottle during the nightclub fight.
  • Groin Attack: Kara grabs Alex by the balls during a fight near the finale of the movie. He moans in pain, but releases her tight grip off his balls by punching her in the face.
  • Hate Sink: The corrupt Nigel Griffith and his partner, crime-lord Raymond Zhang, conspire to kill off Griffith's business partner Paul Wagnar for profit, even ordering the deaths of his family, including his young twin sons, Alex and Chad. Hunted down by the twins decades later, the cowardly duo hide behind their goons, attempt more crimes and when finally confronted, both run for their lives, loathsome entirely.
  • High-Voltage Death: How Alex managed to dispose of Moon, by roundhouse-kicking him into a fuse box.
  • Homage: When Alex engages in his first confrontation with Moon, Moon proceeds to counterattack Alex by punching him in the groin and palm strikes him wildly with all of his weight behind the blow.
  • Identical Twin Mistake: Alex and Chad are at first mistaken for each other, but they have very different personalities and are soon told apart.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The mooks are alright shots at the beginning when they're killing Chad and Alex's parents, but later on, when it's Van Damme they're shooting at...
  • Leg Focus:
    • Danielle wears fairly short skirts and has a few scenes sitting cross-legged in a way that highlights them.
    • Multiple scenes have Male Gaze close-ups of Kara's legs while she's wearing short skirts.
  • Murderous Thighs: Chad does this to a triad mook during the finale to break his neck. Soon afterwards, Kara tries to do this to Alex and looks MUCH better doing it, but ultimately fails (unfortunately) and eventually dies of a knife wound.
  • Never Recycle a Building: After officially teaming up, Chad and Alex, as well as their "Uncle" Frank, set up in an abandoned Hong Kong, a city whose property shortage easily rivals New York City or London.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Van Damme's accent(s) are explained by one twin being raised by Frank while hiding out in France, with the other being raised at an orphanage run by by Belgian and French nuns in Hong Kong
  • Pervy Patdown: Danielle Wilde uses her employment in Griffith's company to search for a document the twins need. She's caught by Griffith's assassin, the muscular Butch Lesbian Kara, who puts her up against a wall and suggestively frisks her. Kara suggests that Danielle frisk her, but Danielle disgustedly runs out as Kara laughs at her.
  • Plot Armor: With Van Damme its a given but the biggest issue was Frank when he was held captive in the boiler room. No explanation given as to why he was spared.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Alex has grown up as a brutal gangster while Chad grew up to be a personal trainer.
  • The Quiet One: Moon has about a total of three lines. One of them is in Chinese and there are no subtitles for that one line.
  • Same Language Dub: Bolo Yeng's English wasn't very good, so he was dubbed by an unknown actor.
  • Scars are Forever: Moon as result of getting shot in the face by Frank has one underneath his right eye.
  • Separated at Birth: Alex and Chad are separated in Hong Kong, but Chad grew up to be a martial arts master and Alex a street thug.
  • Sex Starts, Story Stops: The sex scene serves no other purpose than Fanservice and the thing is that it's not even real: it's played entirely in the head of Alex, who thinks that Chad is screwing his girlfriend at that moment.
  • Shout-Out: It seems the people working on this film were closet fans of the Double Dragon games. Considering this movie came out in 1991, Double Dragon was still popular at the time and arcade machines were commonly found in movie theaters and arcades.
  • Undying Loyalty: Frank is introduced working as a bodyguard to Paul Wagner. When Wagner and his wife are murdered, Frank rescues one of their infant sons and spends the next twenty-five years raising the boy as his own while trying to track down the missing son and working out a plan to help the boys get back the company that was taken from them.
  • Up Town Girl: Downplayed, but Danielle works as an assistant for one of the most successful businessmen in Hong Kong and is dating Alex, who grew up on the streets.
  • You Have Failed Me: Moon kills one of his men for failing to beat up Alex (though they don't know yet that it's Chad they are fighting). Also Griffith and Zhang have Kara kill one of their associates for having one of their drug labs destroyed.