Written by J.T. Johnson
ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: November 4, 1994
DIRECTOR: James Yukich
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Gary B. Kibbe
WRITERS: Michael Davis, Peter Gould
MUSIC: Jay Ferguson, Tolga Katas
I was wrong. Recently, I said that “Super Mario Bros.” was the worst video game adaptation ever made for the big screen. I decided to take a look at one more bad video game adaptation and took some suggestions from some of my friends. The winner, mostly because you can view it for free on YouTube, was 1994’s “Double Dragon”, based off the popular arcade games.
Now, I understand why “Super Mario Bros.” was hard to adapt into a live-action film and why it went completely off the rails as a result. There are some pretty wacky things in those games that would be hard to translate onto the big screen. “Double Dragon” shouldn’t have suffered from this dilemma.
The story of the game is that Billy and Jimmy Lee’s friend, Marion, is kidnapped. Billy and Jimmy fight their way through gangs in order to rescue her. That should have been an easy concept to adapt into a film. Instead, we got this weird post-apocalyptic version of “The Warriors” that also includes a story about a mystical medallion and a Vanilla Ice wannabe’s attempts to find it.
Billy (Scott Wolf) and Jimmy (Mark Dacascos) are brothers who live in New Angeles in 2007. A major earthquake has caused the city to fall into chaos and was also apparently powerful enough to send the entire world into anarchy. After the quake, several gangs and the police forces have made a fragile truce where the gangs are allowed to operate at night and the police are able to take back control during the day.
In this chaos, Koga Shuko (Robert Patrick) has pretty much taken control of the city, but yet he complains that his biggest goal is to take control of the city. Most of the gangs and the police force already answer to him. Again, he already owns the city he claims he wants to take over, making his motives invalid.
Anyway, he finds one half a mystical medallion “Somewhere In China”, it gives him some dumb fucking powers brought to life by terrible special-effects, and he soon discovers that the Lee brothers have the other half of the medallion.
The part where my comparison to “The Warriors” comes into play is when Shuko orders all of the gangs to go after the Lee brothers. This means that they have to fight their way to safety quite a bit. Eventually, they go to Marion (Alyssa Milano) who leads a benevolent gang known as the Power Corps. and they soon take the fight to Shuko.
At least with “Super Mario Bros.”, I could say that the actors were trying their damnedest to make the piece of shit they were in ultimately work. Here, none of the actors do anything even beginning to resemble real acting. This is a movie that wouldn’t even make it onto the SyFy channel and they make those dumbass “Sharknado” movies.
Okay, so this is a fight movie, meaning that the fights should be a highlight of the movie, right? Unfortunately, there are only a few moments where an actual choreographed fight takes place. The rest of the time, even the fighting looks absolutely horrible.
There was a point where Marion was torturing one of Shuko’s henchmen. How is she doing this? By feeding him huge amounts of spinach. It was this point where I realized two things. First, like with “Super Mario Bros.”, I could feel my IQ dropping like a stone.
The second was that this film is only 90 minutes long, yet I felt like I lost half a day. This is not just the worst video game adaptation I’ve ever seen. This is one of the worst films ever made, period.