Double Dragon (film)
|Directed by||James Yukich|
|Written by||Michael Davis
|Based on||Double Dragon
by Technōs Japan
John Mallory Asher
|Music by||Jay Ferguson|
|Cinematography||Gary B. Kibbe|
|Edited by||Florent Retz|
Imperial Entertainment Group
|Distributed by||Gramercy Pictures|
|Box office||$2.3 million|
Double Dragon is a 1994 live-action film based on the video game series of the same name and directed by James Yukich. It stars Mark Dacascos and Scott Wolf as brothers Jimmy and Billy Lee, along with Alyssa Milano as Marian Delario and Robert Patrick as antagonist Koga Shuko. The film takes place in an earthquake-crippled Los Angeles in 2007; the city is styled as a mix between a post-apocalyptic and 80s/90s punk environment.
In 2007 Los Angeles - now called "New Angeles" and in ruins following a great earthquake - Koga Shuko, a crime lord and businessman, obtains half of a magical medallion called the Double Dragon, and orders his henchmen to find him the other. Teenage martial artists Billy and Jimmy Lee, and their guardian Satori, are accosted by gang members; but are rescued by the Power Corps, a group of vigilantes headed by their friend Marian, the daughter of the police chief. Abobo, a gang leader, discovers Satori holds the second medallion half and reports this to Shuko, who changes him into a hulking giant. At home, Satori explains the Double Dragon to Billy and Jimmy, and places it in the care of Billy. Shuko and his henchmen visit them, and reveals the ability of his medallion, which gives the user the power of possession. Billy and Jimmy incapacitate Abobo, but Shuko has the house burned to ashes, and Satori sacrifices herself so the brothers can escape with their half of the medallion. Unable to find the brothers thereafter, Shuko unites all the city's criminal gangs under himself, and sends them after the Lees, who seek refuge in the Power Corps hideout. Marian agrees to help them, and the three go to Shuko’s office to steal his medallion. They forced to flee, and Jimmy is captured; whereafter Billy and Marian return to the Power Corps base, where Marian points out a discovery that the user of either half of the medallion, is immune to the other. Suddenly, the gangs attack the hideout, and Jimmy reappears under the control of Shuko. In the fight against him, Billy accidentally activates his medallion’s ability, which makes him invulnerable to harm; and Shuko threatens to kill Jimmy, but fails, and instead releases Jimmy to distract Billy, and himself unites the medallion and becomes a pair of nearly-invincible shadow warriors. Abobo, previously taken prisoner, reveals to Marian that Shuko’s weakness is light, and Marian uses this against Shuko; whereupon Billy and Jimmy impose Shuko's true form upon himself, and acquire new strength through the medallion. With this, they overcome Shuko, and Jimmy forces him to embarrass himself. During this, Marian’s father arrives, and Jimmy has Shuko write a check to the police department for $129 million, and allows the police to arrest him. Thereafter the remaining criminals are implied to have been overcome by the police.
- Scott Wolf as Billy Lee, the younger Lee brother. Wears a blue outfit in the end. Originally the Player 1 character in the video games.
- Mark Dacascos as Jimmy Lee, the elder Lee brother. Wears a red outfit in the end. Originally the Player 2 character in the video games.
- Alyssa Milano as Marian Delario, the leader of the Power Corps. Originally the kidnapped woman in the arcade game, the film version of Marian is a more active heroine compared to her video game counterpart.
- Robert Patrick as Koga Shuko/Victor Guisman, a businessman and former crime lord seeking to possess both halves of the Double Dragon medallion. Shuko was a new villain created for the movie, although his character was later adapted as the final boss in the 1995 Double Dragon fighting game based on the film.
- Julia Nickson as Satori Imada, the adoptive mother of Billy and Jimmy.
- Kristina Wagner as Linda Lash, Shuko's henchwoman. Linda was originally an enemy character from the video game.
- Nils Allen Stewart as Bo Abobo, the leader of a street gang known as Mohawks. Abobo was another enemy character from the video game.
- Henry Kingi plays the mutated Bo Abobo during the later part of the film, who reforms and tries to befriend the Lee brothers and Marian at the end.
- George Hamilton appears as an anchorman.
- Vanna White appears as an anchorwoman.
- Andy Dick appeared as a weatherman who deals with the "fogcast", giving warnings over (implied acidic and radioactive) black rain.
- Cory Milano as Marc Delario, Marian's younger brother.
First-time director Jim Yukich summarized his approach to the film: "Our characters are like normal kids - three kids on an adventure, so we didn't want to make something that kids would almost be too afraid to see. ... I'd like to make it in a funnier, light-hearted vein."
The boat chase sequence was filmed on the Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio, and climaxes with an explosion which used 700 gallons of gasoline combined with 200 gallons of alcohol. Despite warnings the night before on several news channels, the explosion caused residents of the nearby city to panic, leading to 210 phone calls to emergency services over ten minutes.
Reviews by critics, such as the review of the movie by the Washington Post, were not favorable. Reviewbiquity gave the film one out of five stars, stating the movie "won’t satisfy even the most fervent of fans." On review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, it received a negative score of 8% from 12 reviews, with the consensus "Double Dragon 's clever use of special effects cannot mask the film's overly simplistic storyline and cheesy dialogue", making it one of the lowest-rated video game movie adaptions of all time.
According to Box Office Mojo, The film grossed $1,376,561 in its opening weekend at 1,087 theaters and $2,341,309 in its finished theatrical run.
Universal released the film on VHS and Laserdisc in April 1995 in the United States, while CFP released the film on video in Canada. GoodTimes Entertainment made another VHS in late 1997, released it on DVD in 2001, and another DVD on August 31, 2004. Both DVDs are currently out of print.
Plot and visual elements of the film were reused in the 1995 fighting game version of Double Dragon produced by Technos Japan. This includes the transformation that the Lee brothers go through during the film's climax, which appear in the game as a special move for both characters; and the use of footage of the film in the game's introduction and Marian's stage.
- "Double Dragon Will Roar in '94". Electronic Gaming Monthly (54) (EGM Media, LLC). January 1994. p. 296.
- "Double Dragon: The Movie". Washington Post. 1994-11-07. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- "Double Dragon". Reviewbiquity. 2014-06-02. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
- "Double Dragon Film Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
- "Newest Double Dragon Again A `Love It` Or `hate It` Deal". Chicago Tribune. 1991-04-26. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- "Top 10 Worst Video Game Movies". Time Magazine. October 20, 2008. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Double Dragon at the Internet Movie Database
- Double Dragon at AllMovie
- Double Dragon at Rotten Tomatoes
- Double Dragon at Box Office Mojo
- Good Bad Flicks review