Revisiting the Reviled — ‘Double Dragon’ is Neon-Colored Buffoonery

GameStop, Inc.


Every week with Revisiting the Reviled, Sean looks at a film that was meant to appeal to geeks and failed, often miserably.

Even though I can recall playing the Double Dragon video game, any concept of plot within the game eludes my recollections. If I were to imagine what a movie of Double Dragon might look like, I’d envision two guys walking down the street fighting an endless stream of faceless bad guys for 90 minutes. Plot is an obstacle for all early attempts to adapt video games for the movies. Like Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat, Double Dragon isn’t remembered for anything related to plot. It’s the interactivity and types of gameplay that made them memorable. Lacking in plot has never stopped anyone from trying to make a quick buck at the movies. As part of that first wave of video game adaptations, Double Dragon entered theaters and quickly left, joining the ranks of most comic book adaptations – a generally unloved bomb.

The film opens with schlocky narration by the film’s villain Koga Shuko, played by Terminator 2 villain Robert Patrick. He explains the mystical origins of a medallion called the Double Dragon. The film then takes us to the villain’s henchmen and their search the medallion. Signifying the film’s sloppiness, their search takes place “somewhere in China.” It’s only a massive part of the Asian continent, but the action is happening somewhere in there. Shuko’s goons are able to acquire half of the medallion, but the other half is out there. Of course, all of this takes place in New Angeles in 2007, the city ravaged by an earthquake years prior.


The other half of the medallion is held by Satori (Julia Nickson). She helps to train the brothers Billy (Scott Wolf) and Jimmy Lee (Mark Dacascos) for the fighting competitions in which they make their living. After a crushing defeat, the trio is driving home after curfew – you see, the police only work in the day and the gangs of New Angeles have their way at night. They are noticed by a mohawked-gang run by the muscle-bound Abobo (Nils Allen Stewart). Before they are saved by the Power Corp, a group of civic-minded teenagers run by Marian Delario (Alyssa Milano), Abobo notices that Satori has the medallion and will pass that information on to Shuko. Now Billy, Jimmy, and Satori have a target on their back and must figure out the mystery of the Double Dragon to defeat the forces of evil.

By no means can Double Dragon be called a good, or even competent, movie. It oddly feels like there are two movies competing against each other, and the outcome always favors the worse option. The bizarre post-quake dystopia that is the film’s setting is more interesting than anything concerning the mystical medallion. The matte painting work of destroyed Hollywood works much better than woeful-for-’94 CG effects. The story of how the police completely ceded operations at night, and the political struggle between the gangs is infinitely more fascinating than two guys who don’t remotely look alike fighting a white guy named Koga Shuko.


Even for its era, Double Dragon is remarkably dated. It represents an early-‘90s aesthetic of bright neon colors. The first time Robert Patrick’s villain appears on screen, your mind can’t help but hear the lifted bassline from “Under Pressure,” as the villain seems to be modeled on Vanilla Ice, already a confirmed laughing stock in 1994. Compounding matters, the gangs and dystopian setting often resemble the claustrophobic and forgettable settings of Robocop 3 and Super Mario Bros. Seriously, why do people keep thinking Los Angeles is going to split off from the mainland and descend into chaos?

A veteran of music videos and stand-up comedy specials, director James Yukich makes his feature length directorial debut. But with comedians and musicians, Yukich was never forced to direct an actual performance, or so it would seem after seeing Double Dragon. This film may be among the most poorly acted I’ve ever encountered. Every dramatic line is stiff and laughable, and every comedic line is broad and flat. Without a doubt, the most awkward line reading in a film full of awkward line readings is Alyssa Milano belting out, “We have no – choice!”


Of the few things that work in Double Dragon, the few television segments, a la Robocop, are surprisingly effective. The news hosted by Vanna White and George Hamilton delivers the grim news of a post-quake New Angeles with their perfect plastic smiles. Advertisements for hydraulic jacks to stabilize buildings play on the air before returning to Andy Dick with the weather. He reports to the people their need to wear oxygen masks and prepare for “black rain” before telling other viewers to “get a job”. Again, all of this is infinitely more interesting than anything concerning that stupid medallion.

At its best, Double Dragon plays like a version of Miami Connection with a modest budget. At its worst, it’s a kid’s film with performances not meant to be seen after 10am on Saturday. This is a movie that was dated before it ever came out. Though it is a generally awful movie, Double Dragon does sneak in its few interesting moments – among the credited writers is Peter Gould, who’d later find success as a writer for Breaking Bad, creating the character of Saul Goodman. A few interesting elements aren’t enough to compensate for the neon buffoonery that makes up a majority of Double Dragon, another dismal entry in the annals of video game movies.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Paul Crowder and ‘Boss’ Wooldridge Talk ‘The Blue Angels’ Doc – Interview

Director, Paul Crowder and Flying Ace, Greg “Boss” Woolridge talk about...

Eric Bana Talks ‘Force of Nature: The Dry 2’ – Interview

Eric Bana Returns for the sequel to ‘The Dry‘ in ‘Force...

Letitia Wright’s Talks about her Latest Film ‘Aisha’ – Interview

Letitia Wright’s latest film, ‘Aisha‘, a story about immigration, resilience, friendship...

Event News Event Reviews
Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Takes You to A Whole New World at Segerstrom – Review

Disney’s Aladdin takes the audience on a thrilling chase and a wonderous place...

Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach on The Queen Mary this Halloween

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach for the...

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice’ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the Arts – Review

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice‘ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part something: Hermione and the Mini-gun pt 2

Have a lead salad instead!

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part ?: Hermione and the mini-gun pt 1

It can't fire more than 6,000 per minute!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse: Kurt v Sid – HASTA!

Hasta La Vista Baby!

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...