Friday, December 2, 2016

Double Dragon (1994)

It's December and it is a time of giving.  That said, I'd like to dedicate this month to a specific actress that has given not only me, but all of us so so much.  And since her birthday is also in December, well... Yeah, I put a lot of thought into this theme.

So without further ado, welcome to Alyssa Milano Month on B-Movie Enema!  We have five, count 'em FIVE, movies from one of the most productive, and crushed upon, girls of the 90s.  Not one who got mixed up in booze or drugs, but a legit amazingly hot woman who, to this day, still commands her sexuality and better judgment to be a hell of a person.

Oh, and she's the first girl I ever had a crush on and thought of naughty, naughty things.

While you can probably guess one movie in particular I will be covering this month (because it is one of the finest pieces of sexy filmmaking ever), I opted to ramp up to it.  So, here we are, a movie based on a video game that I (controversially) didn't like much.  A button masher of epic proportions...  Double Dragon.

Talk about an ill-advised movie.  The game had a strong following and was selected to be one of the early video game crazes to be made in to movies. Unfortunately, no one took any notes from the disastrous Super Mario Bros. and Hollywood churned out three more turds - our buttplug of a feature today, Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat.  All three sucked, hard, but this was the first of these fighting games to screen and make fanboys want to kill themselves.

That's all I got about this movie.  I didn't care much for the game, so I never saw this movie.  I only chose it because it was a nice way to ease ourselves into a month of Alyssa Milano movies.  I suspect I will ultimately wish I had chosen the one Amy Fisher movie she made for Lifetime instead, but...  Well...  That one wasn't quite as readily available to me as this one was.  I fear that will come back to bite me in the asshole.  Right up there in the asshole.  Not the cheeks.  The actual hole.

IMDB sez: "Two brothers have half of a powerful ancient Chinese talisman.  An evil gang leader has the other half, and determines to get the brothers' half and have a complete medallion so he can gain absolute power."

Sigh...  Okay, let's get crackin' so I can eventually move onto the better Alyssa Milano movies of the 90s...

Robert Patrick frittering away his T2 opportunities.
Somewhere in China, some monks are terrorized by general Chinese bad guy raiders.  They are looking for a medallion that we were told was the spirit of some guy in ancient times who split it into two pieces - one that can control the mind and one that can control the soul.  If the two pieces are ever merged into the legendary "Double Dragon", it's bad news for the world.

We then go to 2007 Los Angeles, "after the big quake", where our main bad guy, Koga Shuko, played by Robert Patrick of Terminator 2 fame, is talking to his henchmen.  One of those henchmen is named Linda Lash and is a hot blonde.  One of the Asian henchmen is named Lewis.  Why not?  Robert Patrick has an Asian name and the Asian actor (Al Leong who has been in just about everything that has ever called for an Asian guy) has a white guy name.  It's 2007 L.A.  Shit like this happened.  But whatever, Shuko is mad that he only has half the Double Dragon.

We go to a Karate Kid style battle where Jimmy and Billy Lee (Mark Dacascos and Scott Wolf - the best casting ever for brothers) are fighting some guys in a tournament.  Because Billy is a real joker, they lose the tournament.  I'm sure all this will mean something eventually.  We do know that the Lees' guardian, Satori, is wearing the other half of the Double Dragon as a regular, every day necklace.

If there is one thing I know about Double Dragon is that there is a girl kidnapped that causes the Lee brothers to set out punching assholes' faces.  So, any moment now, Scott Wolf is going to get kidnapped, right?

Also, I need to make a correction.  Because this is a futurescape, the city is not called Los Angeles.  It's New Angeles.  I was told that by the news report that came on with co-anchors Vanna White and George Hamilton with weatherman Andy Dick.  Unless Andy Dick is about to predict a raging cocaine cloud with some crazy rave lights raining down on the city, I don't think he's very believable as being a meteorologist.  To add to the futurescape, there's a curfew that people have to be careful of, a bunch of bad smog and acid rain.  The future!
Michael J. Fox, Michelle Yeoh, and Jean-Claude Van Damme in Escape from Double Dragon.

Of course, Jimmy, Billy, and Satori are out after curfew and become "gang bait" all because Billy started a fight at the kung fu tournament which delayed their travel home.  They get stopped by a gang called the Mohawks who all have regular, conservative haircuts.  Their leader, Bo Abobo (one of the big, bald bad guys from the game who I swore was black in the video game but not here in the movie), tries to steal the half of the Double Dragon that Satori is wearing.  She stabs his hand when he reaches for it and Jimmy floors it to get them out of there and start a good old fashioned car chase.  That also turns into a video game.  Of which I am not even going to bother to describe.  When both cars are disabled, the Lees prepare to fight Abobo and exchange in horrible, horrible dialog.

Seriously, I don't know what all this is
but I like it.
Abobo retreats when a bunch of street kids show up wearing clothes that look too 90s to be real, but also with graffiti all over them.  Finally, this month's star shows up as Marian who I guess runs this gang.  All I know is this: her blonde pixie cut and crazy outfit are bonkers... in a sexy way.  She busts the Lees' balls a bit asking if they got themselves into trouble again.  Twenty minutes in and this film is full of fluff, filler, and schtick.  And I don't like it.  However, Billy wants to help Marian's group because she is his real life girlfriend at this time and I don't like that either.  The start of something that is a running thing in this movie happens here too - there are multiple shots of Alyssa Milano bending over, crouching down, and generally showing off her butt.

Thumbs up to that business.

It's about here where I realize something.  This is kind of like if Joel Schumacher made Escape from New York.  The first thing he'd fuck up is he'd move it to Los Angeles.  And, yes, assholes, I know there is already an Escape from Los Angeles movie, but stay with me here.  This New Angeles is an isolated city overrun, particularly at night, by gangs.  There are different factions and people stuck in the middle, etc.  But it's all lit by neon lights and spray paint.  Seriously, it's like Batman and Robin sprayed a wet fart all over a John Carpenter movie that suffered from severe head trauma.

So Shuko finds out the Lees have the other half of the Double Dragon and plans to pump Abobo full of some experimental steroids.  Also, Marian is the daughter of a cop and he doesn't like the gang she, unknown to him, hangs out with and leads.  She also wears an obvious wig when she is in her nice little home with her dad and brother (played by Milano's real life brother).  Shuko shows up at the Lees' home and tries to take the other half of the medallion from them.  Apparently Satori and Shuko know each other from some other place and time?  I don't know.  There's chasing and fighting and I just want another shot of Marian's ass.

Thanks, Google!
Shuko tries to get the other half of the medallion by possessing Satori.  Abobo comes back and looks like a crazy monster guy that is too goofy for words.  Shuko sets their home on fire once he releases Satori, but she gets trapped in this room and initially says the boys should leave but she's easily able to kick the door open to escape.  However, Shuko knocks her out before she can escape with the boys and she gets blown up.  So I guess that's all she wrote for her.

This movie is fucking dumb, but it's not so dumb that they couldn't blow a chick to shit in an arson.

Michael Berryman shows up long enough as the leader of the Mohawk gang only to be killed by Shuko.  The Lees get bummed out about their friend Satori getting killed, but we don't linger on that for too long because they run into some of the gang that Shuko has taken over.  They fight and get chased again.  This time the fight includes a couple guys dressed up as clowns and a mailman because why not...  Shit blows up in the course of the chase that spills out onto the Hollywood River created by the earthquake that leveled Los Angeles.  The chase ends when they run into a dead end.  Shuko's men think they are dead.

With the Hollywood River on fire "again" (yeah it's a whole thing about the ecology in and around New Angeles or some such shit), there is a report from Channel 69 News about this and the mistreatment of Alyssa Milano's gang...

Wait.  What?  What was that channel again?
Heh.
This movie is weird, man.  Scott Wolf's seventeen year old character is overly sexed up because he wants to hit on everything that slightly resembles a girl.  There was even a joke about that earlier when a gang member had a wig on to lure them to pull over and stop to ultimately carjack them.  Then he wants all up on Marian, to which I don't blame him.  But there are gay jokes, there's a Channel 69 News report, and there's general mature shit going on around here for a movie that was mostly targeted, I think, for kids.  It's like they knew the original Double Dragon was played by older kids by the time this came out, so they needed to appeal to those kids who were now horny teenagers, but also keep it friendly for little kids now playing the subsequent sequel games that were out in 1994.

It's this neither/nor shit that makes this movie terrible.  Either go for the gusto, or retreat fully to being a kids' movie.  Don't give us Alyssa Milano's ass but give us horribly toothless jokes in other scenes and slapstick comedy that should have cartoon sound effects attached to the prat falls.  This movie is shit and almost everyone is at fault for that.  Well, not the lady who played Satori.  She's alright.  You can probably guess who else I'm not blaming for any of this.

Jimmy and Billy fight over asking for Marian's help.  Finally Billy gets his way.  At Marian's hideout, she's force feeding Abobo and it's like something out of my weirdest of sex fantasies.  Oh dear god, I need help.  Seriously, people, what is wrong with me if this is turning me on...

Marian tries to get info about Shuko's base, but he's not giving up the info, so she continues to force feed him spinach only for it to make him cut a couple loud farts.  Fart jokes now too?  Normally I like that shit, no pun intended, but I hoped farts would feel a little too high brow for this garbage.  Jimmy and Billy show up and ask for Marian's help.  Even though they can't prove the medallion is worth anything she does agree to help them.

They attack Shuko's headquarters, but Jimmy, Billy, and Marian find out that her dad is in a meeting with Shuko talking about protection and a bribe is offered.  They try to hook Shuko's part of the medallion and pull it up to the vent where they are hiding.  Marian's dad fights Shuko's hot blonde henchlady while Marian and the guys deal with a zombified basketball player guy that Shuko has possessed or something.  I don't know.  None of our heroes seem all that capable.  I mean Marian runs a gang, so I guess she has that going and doesn't need to be a kung fu master, but the Lees suuuuuuuck.  I'm better at being them playing a game I don't like nor was very good at than they are being them.

Well.  That's a nice middle finger to the fans.
Jimmy gets beat up and captured while Billy and Marian escape.  Because her dad didn't take the bribe, Shuko has unleashed the gangs into the streets during the day.  I guess there was a treaty that kept them underground until curfew and then they got to run the streets at night.  Shuko tells Jimmy he killed his father and Billy and Marian try to figure out how to make their medallion work.

The hot blonde Lash lady attacks Marian's hideout with Shuko's gang.  At some point there's a real lame Who's the Boss joke when she knocks someone out.  I was not impressed.  But we do almost see Marian and Lash fight, which I didn't think about possibly happening but when it was getting closer and closer to happening, I wanted in.  Sadly, this doesn't happen.  Instead, we just see Marian tie Lash to a post.  If you think that sound sexy, it does, but it doesn't play out quite like you (and mostly I) wanted.

Jimmy shows up, but he's possessed by Shuko and he's ready to fight Billy for that piece of the medallion.  Out of frustration, Billy tries to throw away his half of the medallion, calling it a piece of junk and saying he could do better with out it.  It stops from flying away and returns to Billy.  Turns out Billy possesses the part that gives him power of the body.  So he's basically indestructible.  He beats Jimmy up until Shuko leaves his body.  However, Billy loses his part of the medallion in the fight allowing Shuko to gain possession of both halves of the Double Dragon giving him serious demon powers and stuff.

All of Marian's crew just stand around and watch instead of helping the Lees.  Good thing Abobo shows up to tell Marian to turn on the lights to stop Shuko.  Marian tugs and tugs on that cord for the generator before finally making the energy spill out into the crevices of the hideout making it so the Lees could explode into a fury of fighting spirit.

Yeah, I just wanted that to sound much more sexual since we saw Marian pulling hard on that generator's chain.

Anyway, the lights weaken Shuko and he drops the medallions into Jimmy and Billy's hands.  When they bring together the pieces they transform into superheroes.  They defeat Shuko and win the movie.  The end.

However, technically they don't win the movie.  The police do.  When Marian's dad comes to arrest Shuko, she gets excited when sirens are heard.  When they go outside a bunch of cops show up to be part of the night shift.  So...  Yay!  The police are here to clean up the streets and get rid of the gangs and such.  But why did they have that treaty?  Why did they not work at night and let the gangs run the streets to begin with?  Yeah, it's great they are here now, but they should have always been there.  What is going on here?

Sadly, as much as this movie sucked, I can't even blame it on hacks who got hired for a movie.  No.  That's because one of the Story By credits belongs to Paul Dini.  Yeah, the guy who was one half of the awesome duo that is responsible for so many great DC Universe Animated things.  Shit, this guy was the co-creator of Harley Quinn.  I weep for him to see his name associated with this movie.  Especially because he was already successful with Batman the Animated Series and even the Superman series too.

Alright, let's put a cap on this can of horseshit.  This movie, obviously, was not received well.  It's a mess that didn't know what it wanted to be.  Much like comic book movies in the 90s, the early Hollywood video game movies were childish to the point that they thought that was what the audience was.  Joel Schumacher thought comic book fans wanted to see goofy and over the top shit like what was seen in the 60s Batman TV show, and produced two movies with that thought in mind.  Clearly, producers thought gamers of this era were immature, sexed up teenagers who liked punching, kicking, and looking at Alyssa Milano's ass.

Well.  I guess that third part was true.

Thankfully, next week we continue our ode to our favorite part of Double Dragon by moving from the streets of New Angeles to a thriller starring Keith David that finds Milano in a habit and some promise of catholic school girls.  Come back next week for Deadly Sins as I hope it makes up for this cinematic shit stain in Hollywood's underwear.

Oh and if you are curious if Hollywood ever learned its lesson about making video game movies...
Fuckin' nope!

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