The year of 1991, a magical time for a number of reasons. This was the year when American metal band Metallica released their biggest selling studio album, simply called Metallica. Everyone knew how to sing Enter Sandman back in those days, that even in my school you would see teenagers headbang like they overdosed on Energy drinks. One of those albums that Metallica fans still love, 30 years later, and i guarantee new fans will love the album as well. American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers released their fifth studio album Blood Sugar Sex Magik, that became one of their biggest selling albums of all time. I can still remember at a school play, where they did a dance number to the Red Hot Chili Pepper song Give It Away ( from that specific album ), it was one of the strangest dance numbers i have ever seen. I am not sure who came up with the dance choreography, but it was definetely different, and actually matched the song in some strange way. It was a dance number for the summer school show ( that they did every year, where different talents would show their skills ), so when ever i hear Give It Away on radio, i still remember that dance number for a good reason. 1991 was especially a great year for action films with releases such as Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Last Boy Scout, Point Break, Stone Cold, Showdown In Little Tokyo, The Perfect Weapon, Out For Justice and many more. A list like this is something you don´t see in action films in recent times. It is like the action genre does not have the same balls as the 90´s action releases had. At least i am happy to be a part of the generation that could actually see these films on VHS during that time, it was definetely magical. Since i was going through my Van Damme collection ( i pretty much have all of his films on DVD and Blu Ray ), i was reminded that his film Double Impact turns 30 years this year. I felt that it would be a perfect time to revisit this film, and see if i still have fun with Double Impact, after so many years. Is this film even more fun 30 years later, or has this film aged too much and lost some of the cinema magic?
In 1966 business partners Paul Wagner ( Andy Armstrong ) and Nigel Griffith ( Alan Scarfe ) open the Hong Kong Victoria Harbour tunnel. Paul attends with his wife and their twin infant sons, Chad and Alex. After the celebration, the family is followed home by their bodyguard, Frank Avery ( Geoffrey Lewis ), whom they dismiss. Once he leaves, a Triad hit squad follows them. Paul and his wife is brutally murdered, as Paul´s maid is able to escape with one of the twin brothers Chad, while Alex is left in the car. Frank manage to get Alex while he is wounded in the gun battle, and escapes. The maid leaves Chad at a Hong Kong orphanage, while Frank take care of Alex on his own. 25 years later, Chad ( Jean-Claude Van Damme ) and Frank are running a successfull martial arts dojo in Los Angeles, when Frank tells Chad that they must travel to Hong Kong to do " business ". In Hong Kong, they go to a mahjong parlor, where Chad is suddenly knocked out, by a man who looks just like him. As Chad wakes up he finds out that he have a twin brother called Alex, and Frank tells the story of how their parents was brutally murdered, 25 years ago. Frank try to convince both brother´s to join, and seek revenge on Nigel Griffith and his criminal gang.
Looking at Double Impact after so many years, i especially realized two things:
* Van Damme acting as two twin brothers, is actually quite charming. I would not say he is acting fantastic, but he does bring some fun moments with the cheesy dialogue.
* The action scenes still works surprisingly good, and when an action film made 30 years ago works better than some action films made in recent time, you know that they must have done something right.
This does not mean that Double Impact is the best action film in Van Damme´s career, but i would definetely say that it is one of his classics. Compared to Bloodsport, Cyborg, Kickboxer and Lionheart, this film is definetely more focused on delivering a different kind of action film. Double Impact is more focused on telling a revenge story, from a family perspective, with a different twist. What would you do if you found out that your parents were murdered, would you go all the way and revenge their death? You also get to see more gun shootings in Double Impact, compared to some of Van Damme´s earlier films. What i think especially makes this film different, is to see Van Damme play two different characters, is actually a fun idea. And i understand he was inspired to do this after seeing the David Cronenberg film Dead Ringers, that tells the story of twin gynecologists Beverly Mantle and Elliot Mantle ( both played by legendary actor Jeremy Irons ). Definetely worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of legendary director David Cronenberg. I can actually understand why Van Damme wanted to do something different with Double Impact, since he have already at this point in his career, made films that was similar to his big breakthrough success Bloodsport, and i have to say that Double Impact is what we needed to see. I actually appreciate this film more today in 2021, than what i did the first time i saw the film back in 1992 ( that was when i first saw it on VHS ). There are some really funny dialogue scenes in this film ( especially from twin brother Alex ) that actually work for some strange reason. Maybe it´s the atmosphere of Hong Kong, and the characters, that makes the dialogue match well. I have to mention it is very nice to see legendary martial art action actor Bolo Yeung do some nice looking fighting scenes, and we also have legendary actor Geoffrey Lewis here who does a nice performance. If you love action, fighting and Van Damme, Double Impact is a film that will please you in many different ways. Director Sheldon Lettich knows how to bring out the best in Van Damme, especially in the action scenes where he really get to shine. I personally feel that this film deserves a bit more respect in the world of action classics, and should be mentioned more often. If you want true 90´s nostalgia, get Double Impact on DVD or Blu Ray this summer, and i guarantee you will have one hell of a good time. Double Van Damme on the big screen? I can´t imagine anyone can say no to that.