Double Impact Preview

Jill McBrawn taps nervously at the table looking at Rich. He begins to try to explain but she interrupts, “it’s about the Dongle, right?” she stammers, “It’s all he was talking about all this last month. It’s like he’s been infected and the only cure is to his hand on that damn Dongle… I’m sorry” She takes a sip of water and looks away. Rich isn’t sure how far to press. He places a hand on her arm. She flinches and apologizes, “it’s just you shouldn’t be here. It’s all he talked about. ‘My father is the key,’ he would say. ‘He has the Dongle and I’ll get it from him.’” Her eyes are asking him whether it’s true, whether it’s possible, but Rich shakes his head in disbelief. As he does, his chest begins to glow, responding to the words being spoken. Just as has happened during the four trials of the gamemasters. The light gets brighter and so does Jill’s eyes. “You must give it to me, before he gets back!” she yells desperately, “you don’t understand how strong he is. The hatred, the power, he likes it. But I know him. I can keep it from him.” She puts out her hand and as she does Rich tentatively reaches towards his chest and pulls out the shard of the Dongle. Suddenly Jill jumps for it and grabs it and begins to cackle with glee and the world around them crumbles revealing the ceremonial chamber in which the Nic Cages have been toying with Rich’s mind. All an elaborate game in order to have him hand over the shard of his own volition. “You fool,” Travolta Nic Cage says, “with the Dongle and our power combined the world is doomed. Double impact, babbbby.” That’s right! We’re watching Double Impact starring JCVD for the Bring a Friend section. This is the earlier of the two JCVD twin films, so fortunately we haven’t yet exhausted our stock. Let’s go!

The dragons are quite smitten with their buddy cop beaus and have decided to keep them around Hell for eternity when suddenly Poe forgets momentarily to undo his ponytail while also wearing the glasses. “Wait… where’s Rich?” one of the dragons screeches in horror and both began to wail in heartbroken agony. I guess this is the end for Poe… except suddenly his twin protectors step. The twins are just as smitten with their new twin beaus and scoff at Poe and his equally substantial and well-oiled muscles. Stepping past them to the volcano’s edge, Poe hopes this is what he needs to do. He jumps, “I’m coommming Riiiiich.” That’s right! Since this is the Bring a Friend cycle we thought we better do something good for the Bring a Friend entry. So we took the Breen plunge and jumped full tilt into the latest Neil Breen joint called Twisted Pair. Breen plays a set of twins with special powers and that’s all you really need to know. It’s Neil Breen. If you don’t know him then look him up, he’s garnered some real bad movie cache in the last decade.. Let’s go!

Double Impact (1991) – BMeTric: 43.8; Notability: 33 

(I’m really surprised by how low the rating is for this film on IMDb. This seems like exactly the type of film which would have an ironic inflation of its score over the past ten years. But it seems to be following a normal trajectory, and is still below 6.0.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Inspired by the example of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is now the No. 1 movie star in the world, the entire martial arts genre is going upmarket as fast as it can. The established names in the field, including Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Jeff Speakman, are appearing in slicker productions with better scripts and sexier locations, and there are times, watching these ambitious films, when I feel a twinge of nostalgia for the bargain-basement Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee pictures, which had fewer pretensions and projected a crazed intensity. … Because the martial arts genre has had so much success recently, its stars are condemned to play only leading men. Van Damme and Seagal are always at the center of their plots. That will hurt their careers in the long run, since martial arts movies are limited by their formulas, and the heroes are supplied with almost ritualistic plot patterns. Since Seagal seems to have more talent than any of his movies has been able to use, and Van Damme also has possibilities, it’s too bad the marketplace won’t let them play supporting roles in more ambitious movies. They would make splendid villains. And we wouldn’t believe it if they couldn’t hit anything.

(This is an extremely prescient review. He basically predicts the trajectory of JCVD and Seagal’s careers to a tee and diagnoses it (correctly) as their inability to break from the mold to become supporting actors or villains in film. To hear Speakman’s name being uttered in the same breath as Seagal and Van Damme is something else entirely. It actually makes little sense, but was probably Ebert just grasping at the other martial artist who made a film in 1991, because Speakman’s one and only wide release film was The Perfect Weapon in 1991 so it really is bizarre to pick him out as a guy who wouldn’t last in film … he wasn’t even a thing in 1991 and never became a thing afterwards. Wild.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rftm3yRSD_0/

(Wow the hard guitar riffing soundtrack. Double the “Van Damage”? This is somehow everything I want, and the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It is a little odd because it feels a lot like Knock Off which would come out seven years later. Like they had a bunch of leftover Hong Kong footage lying around and decided to make that one on a lark.)

Directors – Sheldon Lettich – (Future BMT: The Order; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Only the Strong; BMT: Double Impact; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Rambo III in 1989; Notes: Directed a bunch of straight to video films starring Dolph Lendgren, but mostly Van Damme. Is slated to direct a few films in the upcoming year.)

Writers – Sheldon Lettich (screen story & screenplay) – (Known For: Bloodsport; Future BMT: Legionnaire; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Russkies; Max; Only the Strong; BMT: Double Impact; Rambo III; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Rambo III in 1989; Notes: Was in the Marines for four years including fighting in Vietnam. Originally a photographer prior to writing scripts.)

Jean-Claude Van Damme (screen story & screenplay) – (Known For: Kickboxer: Retaliation; Future BMT: Kickboxer: Vengeance; The Order; Kickboxer 2: The Road Back; Legionnaire; The Quest; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Kickboxer; BMT: Double Impact; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: Van Damme was the closest martial artists to get to that Sly Stallone stature, so he wrote a bunch of films in the 90s. He also directed, and used to edit a bunch of films really early in his career to punch up the action scenes. Impressive run.)

Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes (screen story) – (Known For: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Anna and the King; Back to the Beach; BMT: Double Impact; Notes: )

Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – (Known For: Bloodsport; Kung Fu Panda 3; The Expendables 2; Hard Target; Kung Fu Panda 2; Timecop; Sudden Death; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Lukas; JCVD; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Derailed; Welcome to the Jungle; Kickboxer: Vengeance; The Order; Legionnaire; Maximum Risk; Inferno; Replicant; The Quest; Black Water; Missing in Action; Pound of Flesh; Nowhere to Run; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Breakin’; Last Action Hero; Kickboxer; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Double Team; Cyborg; Knock Off; Double Impact; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: We have a ton of JCVD films to do. Out of all of the martial arts stars from the 90s I think he ended up coming out looking okay. At least he isn’t a weirdo like Seagal or have tax problems. Just seems like he does a ton of straight-to-video garbage.)

Geoffrey Lewis – (Known For: The Devil’s Rejects; Maverick; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; Heaven’s Gate; High Plains Drifter; Night of the Comet; Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; The Way of the Gun; Point of No Return; 10 to Midnight; My Name Is Nobody; The Man Without a Face; Tom Horn; The Wind and the Lion; Down in the Valley; Dillinger; Bronco Billy; The Great Waldo Pepper; Wicked Little Things; Macon County Line; Future BMT: Blueberry; Pink Cadillac; The New Guy; Moving McAllister; Fletch Lives; Any Which Way You Can; Every Which Way but Loose; Lucky Lady; Only the Strong; Lust in the Dust; BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Double Impact; Tango & Cash; Notes: Received a Golden Globe nomination for a supporting role in the television series Flo (which I had never heard of). He has 10 children, at least 6 of which are in the industry including Juliette Lewis)

Alonna Shaw – (Known For: King of New York; BMT: Double Impact; Notes: Was a model prior to becoming an actress. Appears to have been retired for a while. She does not have a wikipedia which is insane … she starred in a major motion picture in 1991!!)

Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $30,102,717 (Worldwide: $30,102,717)

(Actually halfway decent. I’m not surprised it didn’t get a sequel though. I imagine it is a pain in the ass to do the whole double thing with the split screen. This is the type of film where you do it to get some media play, and then you never ever do it again.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 35% (7/20)

(Surprisingly good reviews, mostly saying that the action scenes are excellent and the film brisk. I think the good reviews tend to be more recent, whereas Ebert’s probably captured the spirit of the time a bit better: I wish it didn’t seem so pretentious and was more like older martial arts films. Reviewer Highlight: The notion of casting pretty-boy kickboxer Jean-Claude Van Damme — the Rob Lowe of the steroid set — in a double role sounded like fun. In fact, it doesn’t come to much. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Identichop

(I’ve always called it a Twin Chop, but Identichop seems appropriate for the poster. This looks like garbage which is appropriate for the film. I actually am not sure what would have happened if I saw this poster hanging in a movie theater… fainted probably. It’s mediocre/not good in almost every way. C-)

Tagline(s) – Feel The Impact (A+ but ironically)

Twin brothers torn apart by violence. On a mission of revenge. One packs a punch. One packs a piece. Together they deliver… (A+ but not ironically)

(The second one is now the tagline for BadMovieTwins.com. Can we be sued? I don’t care. Together me and Patrick deliver the goods so it’s simply truth in advertising. I don’t love “One packs a piece” let’s work on that. Ok. “One packs a punch. One packs a lunch.” nailed it. First try. In this scenario, of course, one of us is a skinny cop and the other a jolly fat cop.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), House of Wax (2005), Meet the Robinsons (2007), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), The Great Outdoors (1988)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 36.2 A Cinderella Story (2004), 31.0 It Takes Two (1995), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), Jack and Jill (2011), Double Impact (1991), Father Figures (2017), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), Pluto Nash (2002), Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), The Identical (2014)

(There it is, ten films with the keyword “twins”. And we have another on the docket next week, so we’ll get to 11. And I’m sure if I continued to add the keyword where appropriate it will turn out we have done like … 20 of these. I should probably put together a definitive list at some point. Maybe include twin reviews on the website or something.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jean-Claude Van Damme is No. 1 billed in Double Impact and No. 1 billed in Double Team, which also stars Mickey Rourke (No. 3 billed) who is in Get Carter (2000) (No. 4 billed), which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Maximum Risk we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – 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.” (Actually kind of true. The Bad Damme, Alex, hits a woman in the film and everything. It is pretty nuts)

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.”

Due to a strong friendship formed between the two actors on the set of Bloodsport (1988), Jean-Claude Van Damme wanted no one but Bolo Yeung to play the lead villain in this movie. (Yeah, he’s great. A martial artist body builder? I guess there are a ton of people kind of like that these days, but he just has a very interesting body shape for the time)

In 2010, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bolo Yeung were giving a martial art demonstration and Van Damme said hopefully one day he and Yeung will put a project together “Double Impact 2” and maybe Yeung will play a friend and not any enemy. In a 2012 interview promoting The Expendables 2 (2012), Van Damme mentioned that he would like to make another Double Impact movie with a more serious tone. During the interview, he also gave a rough idea of the plot: “Two twins one is coming back from Asia to Los Angeles to help his brother who is a con-artist and pretending to be a big Hollywood producer and he’s in trouble with the mob”. A Double Impact 2 script has been written by Van Damme and Sheldon Lettich (who co-wrote Bloodsport and Double Impact). Van Damme said “Hopefully, somebody smart enough, like an agent or a producer, can put that back together…I’m excited about it, you know?” (Hoooooooly shiiiiiiiiit. I’m down)

Director Albert Pyun was briefly approached when the project was then called ‘The Corsican Brothers’ in the late 1980s. He said on his Facebook page in 2012: “The last time I’ve spoken with JCVD was on the roof of a building across the street from Cannon on Wilshire. JCVD wanted to talk in private and he told me the story he wanted to do for his next film called “Corsican Brother” which became Double Impact I believe. JCVD asked if I would want to direct it for him. The whole idea of TWO JCVDs seemed a bit far fetched and I did not commit either way but told him I had reservations about how the twins idea would work. I told him I thought he should keep moving in the direction of a pure action star and leave the gimmick movies behind. Haven’t seen or talked to him since directly.” (Jesus Christ, why would you call it that? Were there bits about the twins being able to “feel” each other in the original script? Also Pyun was wrong. The biggest issue for JCVD was always going to be his accent. Unlike Schwarzenegger he never had the acting chops or charm to overcome it. So what is the point in not doing gimmick films?)

Freely based on Alexandre Dumas’s novel “The Corsican Brothers”, as the original working title was. It was even set to take place in France and Corsica. (What the hell are they even talking about!?)

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