A year ago, I posted about Double Dragon on this site. What could bring me to talk about it all over again? Well, the maniacs at the MVD Rewind collection have put out a blu ray release of this movie that has the kind of care that you’d expect from a Criterion Collection film. But it’s for Double Dragon.
Kids of today — let me blow your mind. You may get movies based on board games, like Battleship and Ouija — but we had movies based on video games. Double Dragon took its inspiration from the arcade beat ’em up — indeed, producer Don Murphy talks about it on the bonus feature included in this collection — but it goes way, way, way out there after that.
In the year 2007, all that’s left of LA is New Angeles. The city has been decimated by earthquakes and tidal waves. No one goes out after dark, thanks to the gang activity. And 2000 years ago, a magical medallion called the Double Dragon (everyone cheer when the name of the movie gets said out loud) was split into two pieces.
Now, crime lord Koga Shuko (Robert Patrick, giving what he referred to as a “pretty extreme performance”) already has half of the Double Dragon. Now, he’s coming after Billy and Jimmy Lee (Scott Wolf, the one who is funnier than he fights and Mark Dacascos, who does the opposite) to get what’s his.
Too bad they’re on the rum from gang members, trying to beat the citywide curfew. Luckily, they save their mother Satori with some help from a vigilante gang called the Power Corps and their leader, Marian, who is played by Alyssa Milano. For some reason, she has an outfit on that can best be described as short jean shorts with stockings and a baby doll t-shirt. She also has super short platinum hair. None of the above are complaints.
One of the Mohawk gang members, Abobo, tries to tell Shunko he saw the medallion and is mutated for his blunder. This will not be the strangest thing in a movie packed with gangs made up of newspaper boys and mailmen falling into neon green pools of water while fistfighting.
Of course, the boys’ mom sacrifices herself — moms always have to die in the 1990’s hero’s journey — and they join Marian in battling Shuko’s forces. Jimmy gets kidnapped and has to fight his brother, Linda Lash shows up and uses a whip on everyone, then Vanna White, George Hamilton and Andy Dick read the news. Literally, this is a movie that continually gets stranger and stranger and you just accept it.
The real joy here is the love and care that was put into this set. You get the movie on DVD and blu, as well as a feature-length documentary called “The Making of Double Dragon,” which has everyone from stars Scott Wolf and Marc Dacascos to writers Peter Gould & Michael Davis and producer Don Murphy. Even better, the “Don Murphy: Portrait of a Producer” doc expands on how Murphy took so many properties to the screen, including Natural Born Killers, the Transformers films and two Alan Moore films, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell. He’s exceedingly honest in his appraisal of the films he’s worked on, as well as their merits — or lack thereof.
Plus, you get older making of and behind the scenes features, storyboards, press photos, trailers from TV, theaters and VHS, the pilot to the cartoon series and a poster. MVD has really been bringing it with their packaging, too. This one looks exactly like an old VHS rental tape, complete with stickers that say “Be Kind – Rewind.”
This still isn’t my favorite movie of all time, but my score has gone up somewhat since last year. That said, if you love it — or just love great physical media packaging for movies — you can’t go wrong with this purchase!
NOTE: I was sent this movie by its PR team, but that doesn’t influence my decision or review.