Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Double Impact Review

People to Know
Sheldon Lettich...................Director/Writer

Jean Claude Van Damme....Chad & Alex - One is possibly gay. The other is possibly gay. But on thing is for certain....Alex hates black silk underwear.

Geoffrey Lewis....................Frank - The not-unlike-Don-Quixote father figure of Chad. He's always ready for adventure because danger's his middle name.

Alonna Shaw.......................Danielle - Blonde girlfriend of Alex. Much to his chagrin, Danielle actually likes black silk underwear.

Bolo Yeung..........................Moon - The Ultimate steroid enhanced villain...now with HGH!

And the Story Goes...
Jean Claude Van Damme demonstrates his acting ability in not one, but two thrilling roles. Our hero plays a pair of twins who were separated at birth when their parents are ambushed in Hong Kong by a shady business partner. One twin, Chad, is raised by an American in France. The other twin, Alex, grows up on the mean streets of Hong Kong. They soon discover each other, as well as their history, and together (with the help of their mentor and a sweet ass abandoned hotel headquarters) they move to take out the crime boss that destroyed their lives.

The twins Damme establish their command central
My Thoughts
Double Impact has always been one of my favorite Van Damme movies from what I consider to be his golden era. Captured is the seemingly innocent and youthful Signor Damme attempting give emotional performances, while kicking people in their faces, and doing splits at random. Sure, by normal action hero standards a split might not be the most intimidating thing on the planet, but for Jean Claude it somehow works. And, as previously mentioned, we get twin Van Dammes!

Twin Van Dammes? Usually you have to pay double for that kind of action!
Jean Claude had a hand in writing the story to this gem, and you can bet that there is some ultimate cheese to go along with the action. The man who I really give credit to for all this cheddar is none other than director/writer Sheldon Lettich. You may remember him as the writer of such classics as Bloodsport, Lionheart, Legionnaire, Double Impact, and, of course, Rambo III. And, with directorial efforts such as Lionheart, The Last Patrol, The Order, and Double Impact you know that this will be a fun film. I'll be the first to admit that these movies aren't art, but it's tough to make the argument that the man doesn't know how make a fun flick.

I always hope a pillow fight materializes in this scene

One of my favorite aspects of many Van Damme movies from the era is that he often plays an "American" that is in some strange place, trying to overcome some strange obstacle. His Europeaness is so overwhelmingly apparent that it usually makes for some great laughter throughout these films, and you can almost smell the lack of giving a shiz on the part of all involved. Fortunately for us, Double Impact does not break tradition, and what we are forced to settle with is an English baby that is raised by an American man living in France. Usually this would mean that this particular twin, Chad, would have an American accent when he spoke English, and a French accent when he spoke French,  but instead we are given the task of ignoring his thick French accent in all languages for the sake of the story. His twin brother, Alex, on the other hand is even more of a stretch. Alex was raised by French nuns in Hong Kong, which is supposed to explain his French accent. I suppose that it's unimportant, but it always brings a smile to my face.

Moving on. Having two Van Dammes face off against Hong Kong Triads is a stroke of genius in my book. Being un Americano myself, I love the exotic locations, and the craziness that is possible in these strange worlds. Indeed, Double Impact has it all when it comes to guns, martial arts, explosions, chase scenes on boats (a la Bloodsport), and sexy women! And yes, if you like what you saw in Bloodsport, then you'll be happy to know that we get more fight scenes between Jean Claude and one Mr. Bolo Yeung. Bolo doesn't age, folks. And, he has to be one of the most intimidating antagonists in all of filmdom.

Bolo Yeung causing some Van Dammage
Overall the performances are what you would expect for a late 80s/early 90s action movie. The man to watch is Geoffrey Lewis as he does what Geoffrey Lewis does best. Which is to act as Geoffrey Lewis-ish as possible by overemphasizing various lines as inappropriately as possible. I personally love when his character, Frank, is explaining to Chad and Alex the history of their parents deaths, and the inheritances that they are owed. The emotions can really be felt when he continuously raises his voice indiscriminately throughout his monologue. It's breathtaking.

Shiz just got real for Frank. That's the Chinese Hercules! 
The action scenes are very well put together. Whether you love Van Damme or hate him, you have to admit that these are what he excels at. We as the audiences are given some real treats throughout the movie, including (but not limited to): Van Damme on Van Damme action, rolling on the ground whilst shooting, and unnecessary splits. In my time on this planet I've learned to really appreciate these scenes since we really don't get too many good action movies these days, and we definitely don't get action stars who can do splits.

Not quite as effective as the buddy-cop-handshake, but it'll suffice. 
Double Impact should not only be seen by fans of Jean Claude Van Damme, but also fans of run down hotels. I'll go so far as to say that this film has become a classic. Sure Van Damme seems to be made of Wisconsin's best, but that cheese is what makes him great. However, if you don't like Signor Damme, then this probably isn't the film for you.

Sheldon Lettich gives us his best here, and I can't help but wish that he could pull us out of our quality-action-movie drought that we have been experiencing throughout the past decade. Sadly it seems that the older that Mr. Lettich gets, the slower his output becomes. His last film was in 2006 with no sign of future activity. R.I.P Sheldon Lettich's career. We hardly knew ya.

If you haven't seen it, then watch it. Unless you're of the most hardcore of art-house enthusiasts, you should find Double Impact to be entertaining.


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1 comment:

  1. Nice review, I can only agree on pretty much everything!! Have to write one on DOUBLE IMPACT yet myself...


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