Double Impact

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Double Impact
Double impact.jpg
Video release poster
Directed bySheldon Lettich
Produced byJean-Claude Van Damme
Paul Michael Glaser
Ashok Amritraj
Screenplay bySheldon Lettich
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Story bySheldon Lettich
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Steve Meerson
Peter Krikes
Music byArthur Kempel
CinematographyRichard H. Kline
Edited byMark Conte
Stone Group Pictures
Vision International
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
(USA & Canada/UK)
20th Century Fox
(actual distribuition)
Release date
  • August 9, 1991 (1991-08-09)
Running time
107 min.
CountryUnited States
Budget$15,000,000 (U. S.)[1][2] or $18 million[3]
Box office$80,500,000[4]

Double Impact is a 1991 American action film written and directed by Sheldon Lettich, and written, produced by and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme in a dual role as Chad and Alex Wagner. The film was released in the United States on August 9, 1991.[5] The film marked Van Damme's second collaboration with Bolo Yeung (the first being Bloodsport in 1988).


The story begins with the opening of the Hong Kong Victoria Harbour tunnel by business partners Paul Wagner and Nigel Griffith. Paul attends with his wife, and their twin infant 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. A shootout ensues, in which Paul and some henchmen are killed. Paul's wife begs them to spare the kids but is killed by Moon (Bolo Yeung), the top henchman. Chad is rescued by the family bodyguard, Frank Avery, and raised abroad. Alex is dropped off on the doorstep of a Hong Kong orphanage by the family maid.

In the present day, Chad and Frank are running a successful martial arts business in Los Angeles when Frank reveals a new "business" for the two of them in Hong Kong. Frank also tells a surprised Chad that he is not his uncle. Soon after arrival, they find Chad's long-lost twin brother Alex and Frank explains their shared past. It is revealed that Alex would never wear black silk underwear, the only discernible difference between the identical twins. Alex also has a girlfriend who works for Griffith’s company, Danielle Wilde. After escaping the Hong Kong Marine Police for trying to illegally sell foreign cars with electronics inside, Chad (mistaken for Alex) is taken in by the Triads to discuss the incident. During the interrogation, Chad learns about a drug lab in Causeway Bay.

Alex and Chad arrange to destroy the lab by planting C4 in the complex one night, but Chad's clumsiness triggers a massive gunfight. The lab is destroyed, but Alex loses any respect for Chad. Later, Danielle and Alex talk on a ferry and discuss a meeting that will take place soon in a night club in Hong Kong, with Zhang and other bosses in attendance. Alex, Chad and Frank endure their third mission to take down Zhang using Cognac boxes with C4 encased in them.

Zhang discovers that both Chad and Alex are not only twins, but the twins from 25 years ago. Danielle locates the document she had been sent to recover, but is stopped and sexually harassed by Kara, Griffith's muscle bound assassin. She reports her findings to Chad, who goes to meet her alone. He brings her to one of Alex's hideouts in a bar, but they are forced to flee when the Triad comes looking for them. Due to an incomplete phone call, Alex suspects Chad of having an affair with his girlfriend and starts drinking heavily as he dreams of Danielle and Chad having sex. Due to his unfounded paranoia, Alex attacks and fights Chad in a drunken rage upon his return, after which the brothers angrily part ways.

Unbeknownst to Chad and Danielle, Kara had followed them by helicopter to the island hideout during their escape, and after a massive hangover, a sober Alex returns to the house to find it being raided by armed soldiers working for Griffith and Zhang, who capture Frank and Danielle. Frank and Danielle are then taken hostage and transported to the Golden Glory ship's furnace room where they are tortured. Despite the ongoing tension between them, Alex and Chad join forces to infiltrate the ship and rescue Frank and Danielle. The duo, well-armed, arrived at the ship where they fight their way through Griffith and Zhang's henchmen. While Chad fights and kills Moon, Alex saves Danielle and Frank. Kara is killed by a knife in her chest, during a fight with Alex. After a climactic showdown, Chad and Danielle are confronted by Griffith who tried to kill Chad with a raised, moving sea cargo container controlled by Griffith. Chad surreptitiously evades being killed by the container, by jumping into the sea. Chad kills a surprised Griffith after getting into the container transport vehicle and dropping the container on him. Alex kills Zhang by making him fall to his death. The duo are reunited, along with Danielle and Frank, as they decide to put their rivalry aside.



Van Damme wanted to play twins to help change his image. "One of them is violent and the other is not, so the audience can see the contrast in my work," he said. "This picture has comedy, romance, a love story. So it is not all action and fighting. When I fight on screen, I blend dancing and fighting. Grace plus power is very nice."[6]

Van Damme said his real life personality was closer to Chad than Alex. "In real life I am not this cold, quiet guy who goes around kicking butt."[7]

Director Sheldon Lettich later recalled the concept of Van Damme playing twins "was so successful that other producers wanted him to repeat it (Timecop, Maximum Risk, Replicant). Even though it meant a lot more work for Jean-Claude, changing costumes, hair, and makeup numerous times over the course of a shooting day, he enjoyed the challenge of playing two distinctly different characters, showcasing a dark side and a more light-hearted side in the same movie."[8]

Critical and box office reception[edit]

Double Impact opened on August 9, 1991 to negative critical response where most critics cited it as yet another mindless action movie that only had the gimmick of two Jean-Claude Van Dammes. On Rotten Tomatoes, the review aggregator, the film has an approval rating of 20% based on 15 reviews.[9][10] Roger Ebert gave the film recognition for slick production values.[11] Despite the negative reaction, the film was a commercial hit and spotted at No.2. at the US box office.[12]

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[13]


Double Impact (Original Soundtrack Recordings)
Film score by
Arthur Kempel
LabelSilva Screen Records Ltd

The score by Arthur Kempel was released as the Double Impact Original Soundtrack Recordings on 1993 by Silva America. The soundtrack was released on CD contained twelve tracks with a runtime of 40 minutes.[14]

All music composed by Arthur Kempel.

Track listing
1."Overture (written by Paul Dable)"01:16
2."Dead Ringers"01:24
3."The Brother's Revenge"03:38
4."I Miss You"00:55
5."Battle at Sea"05:47
6."Causeway Bay"07:19
7."The Other Side of the World"01:15
8."Hong Kong Pursuit"04:14
9."Zang's Offer"06:45
10."The Brother's Reunion"02:23
11."End Title"02:50
12."Feel the Impact"03:02
Total length:40:32


In 2010 Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bolo Yeung were giving a martial arts demonstration and Van Damme said that hopefully one day he and Yeung will put together Double Impact 2 with Yeung perhaps playing a friend instead of an enemy.[15]

In a 2012 interview promoting The Expendables 2, Van Damme mentioned that he would like to make another Double Impact movie with a more serious tone.[15] During the interview, he also gave a rough idea of the plot: "Two twins, one is coming back from Asia to LA to help his brother who is a con-artist and pretend to be that big Hollywood producer and he's in trouble with the mob in South Central."[15]

A Double Impact 2 script has been written by Van Damme and Lettich. The former has said "Hopefully, somebody smart enough, like an agent or a producer, can put that back together...I'm excited about it, you know?"[16]


Chad is a film producer, making movies for a big company. Alex is going on holiday but has some problems with the Triads, because when Chad was in Hong Kong, he got a loan of money using Alex's face. Alex then goes to Los Angeles to find Chad and discovers he has gotten a girl pregnant, and that she is the sister of a big boss from South Central.[16]

See also[edit]

  • Maximum Risk, a 1996 action movie with Van Damme playing twin brothers separated at birth.


  1. ^ "Hollywood's New Action Toys". The New York Magazine. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  2. ^ A Man of Action: Will Van Damme Have Schwarzenegger's Kick? DAVID WALLACE SPECIAL TO THE TIMES. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 20 Aug 1991: F1.
  3. ^ David Mills Washington Post,Staff Writer. (1991, Mar 17). Whomp--splat--hyah! The Washington Post (1974-Current File) Retrieved from
  4. ^, Retrieved 19 January 2015
  5. ^ "Making an impact Van Damme's career profits from getting a kick start". Chicago Tribune. 1991-08-16. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
  6. ^ Vernon, S. (1990, Sep 18). Action star van damme wants to keep shirt on. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  7. ^ Koltnow, B. (1991, Aug 16). Making an impact. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current File) Retrieved from
  8. ^ Evan Sathoff, "Badass Interview: Talking Jean-Claude Van Damme With LIONHEART Director, Sheldon Lettich", 5 Feb 2015 accessed 20 June 2015
  9. ^ Thomas, Kevin (1991-08-09). "Van Damme Doubles the 'Impact'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  10. ^ James, Caryn (1991-08-09). "Review/Film; With Double the Violence, Van Damme Plays Twins". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  11. ^ "Double Impact". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  12. ^ Fox, David J. (1991-08-13). "In the Wake of 'Terminator 2,' a Slow Season : Box office: With three weeks to go in the summer, it appears there will be no records set. But it may yet prove to be the third-best summer on record". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
  13. ^ "CinemaScore".
  14. ^ "Double Impact (1991)Soundtrack". Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  15. ^ a b c Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bolo Yeung (2012). Van Damme talks about Double Impact 2 (2012). Event occurs at 0:00-2:24.
  16. ^ a b "JCVD: 'Double Impact 2' Script Is Written". 8 August 2012. Archived from the original on 17 August 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013.

External links[edit]