Double Impact, 1991.
Directed by Sheldon Lettich.
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bolo Yeung, Geoffrey Lewis, Alonna Shaw, Corinna Everson.
Twenty-five years after being seperated at birth, twins Chad and Alex are reunited to avenge their parents' deaths.
Special offers are great! BOGOF! Get one Jean Claude Van Damme, and you’ll get another free. Double Impact offers twice the Van Dammage and twice the plot… actually, maybe not twice the plot, but never mind!
At a time when Mr Van Damme’s star was on the rise, before really hitting it big with Universal Soldier and then more so Timecop, he decided to go a little more ambitious with this Hong Kong set action extravaganza. Double Impact remains a firm favourite amongst his fans. It’s fun, it’s cheesy and it’s a little bit bad, but entertainingly so.
JC stars as twins, Chad and Alex, separated at birth after their parents were murdered. Two characters, one personality… Van Damme. Revelling somewhat in the dual roles, Jean Claude has fun with the parts, and for the first time really, gets to show off his more comical side. At times it’s intentional, but the film has plenty of unintentional laughs, notably from the slightly naff two JC’s on screen effects, and the miss-timed banter between them. Of course there’s more than ample opportunity for The Muscles from Brussels to show off his trademark fancy kicks. Double Impact offers plenty of carnage.
The action here is pretty good. There’s high kicking high jinx, car chases, gun fights and foot chases. Bloodsport villain Bolo Yeung stars as one of the villains chief henchmen, and once again, goes toe to toe with Jean Claude. Bolo always makes for a memorable villain thanks to his intense look and physical stature. Elsewhere Cory Everson also makes her mark as henchwoman. The female bodybuilders thighs look as beefy as Jean Claude's, and she could tear a mere mortal man in half by the look of her. In terms of the action and those involved, Double Impact definitely ticks all the boxes, even if there’s an overuse of slow motion.
The film's setting is eye catching and despite a fairly modest budget, it feels quite big in scale thanks to the locales. Technically it’s efficiently made by veteran action director, and long time Jean Claude collaborator, Sheldon Lettich. Van Damme seems to relax and give his best for Lettich, and it shows. The film has a sense of fun about it, like it was enjoyable to make (of course, I could be wrong). Sometimes tension through the production can be manifested in the final piece (occasionally for the good of the film, like Blade Runner or The Shining for example), but here, the film has a relaxed vibe, with the intent to provide plenty of entertainment. It’s not brilliantly written or acted, nor would a genre fan expect that either, but it delivers what it sets out to – erm… Double Impact.
Whilst Van Damme continues to kick away on screen to varying success, it’s always good to revisit some of his past glories. Double Impact is most certainly one of his glories.
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