TV Party Tonight! #64

TV Party Tonight! #64

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Saturday, 09 March 2019
COLUMN

Double Dragon
Collector’s Edition – Blu-Ray
[MVD Rewind Collection]

Let me take you back to a time when movies based on video games was the hot new idea. This was the 90s. Thinking back on it, it’s surprising that it was such a trend because it wasn’t particularly a good one. None of those movies did very well, except maybe for Mortal Kombat. Maybe they were going for name recognition alone, or something kids would drag their parents to see. Remember Street Fighter? Super Mario Brothers? Tomb Raider? Resident Evil? Not exactly Fellini films, but there you have it. At the bottom of this pile is probably Double Dragon.

I was 100% on board with this movie when it came out. Since it wasn’t going to show in the theatres in my little town, I had to wait for the video release. When that happened, I rented it right away and watched it over and over again. I don’t remember if I liked it, but I remember that, as a kid, just the idea of watching a movie was cool, so watching something that was referencing something I loved was even cooler.

The obvious thing to point out is that nobody thought Double Dragon was a good movie. Not the makers, not the actors, and maybe not even its audience. It has an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes for a reason. But what it does do is fire off those neurons that make us nostalgic for the 90s and that means it’ll trigger a cult following. And watching this movie so many years later certainly serves to establish this as a bad movie, and for many reasons. For one thing, the story is tedious, the pacing is slow, the dialogue is ridiculous, the martial arts action sequences (what should be the bread and butter of this movie) are boring, and the acting is wooden at best. The whole thing just kind of falls flat on so many fronts. But that’s not to say there aren’t any redeeming factors. Robert Patrick is the only person who seems to have gotten the campy tone of this movie and is pretty great whenever he’s on screen. The special effects are also pretty cool and edgy for the time. And, it’s nice to see a movie like this, with so much against it, just be fearless and swing for the fences.

Regardless, MVD has now released this movie in a collector’s edition blu-ray, and what a job they’ve done. MVD clearly takes their work seriously, and if this disc is any sign, one could consider them the Criterion Collection of B-Movies. This collector’s edition brings Double Dragon in hi-def to the US for the first time. It has an exclusive full length feature with the making of the movie with the writers, producer, and actors who speak candidly and lovingly about what went into making this movie. There’s also a segment outlining the career of its producer Don Murphy, behind the scenes footage, outtakes, the pilot for the animated Double Dragon series (which, yes, I watched as a kid) and stills and art for the movie. All the work that went into this collector’s edition is impressive, and serves to elevate this movie from forgotten childhood memory to something worth archiving. This is undoubtedly the definitive edition of Double Dragon. Well done, MVD. I’m hoping some other less-than-superb movies will be part of your catalog. I’m sure the Collector’s Edition of Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros, Mortal Kombat, Surf Ninjas, and TMNT are just around the corner.

What we learn from the special features:

  • Double Dragon was filmed in Cleveland and they set the Cuyahoga River on fire for one of the sequences. If they waited a couple years, the river would have done it for them.
  • There are so many interviews with the production team, cast, and crew, and absolutely no one can say that this is a good movie. They’ll say there are parts of it that are fun, or work, but never “I love this movie!”
  • There are press clips in the bonus feature galleries. Included in them is a review detailing how this is one of the worst movies ever. Kudos to MVD for being in on the joke.

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