I feel no shame in stating that I find movies based on video games bad. I have never seen a movie based on a video game do well. Even video game movies with a source material that should be able to write itself as a half-decent action movie, such as “DOOM,” don’t hold up well. “Double Dragon” is one of the movies that helped to establish the basic idea of why.
Coming out hot on the heels of the release of the Super Mario Brothers movie, which was a flop, Hollywood was looking to try its hand at another movie with the classic arcade beat-em-up, Double Dragon. The story in the original game is about two twin brother martial artists named Billy and Jimmy, who have to fight their way through the turf of an evil gang who stole Billy’s love interest, a girl named Marian. It's a pretty basic idea with the twin martial artist brothers beating up bad guys and getting points while going to save someone in distress. While it might seem like this should be an easy story to turn into a movie, unfortunately, it’s not.
The film starts with a magic amulet that gives the wearer immense power. A wealthy, evil businessman named Koga Shuko wants this amulet so he can do crime with it. The amulet is called the Double Dragon Amulet. Originally, the game was called Double Dragon because it’s about two twins fighting in a kung-fu style game, but now it's because of a rewrite to make it based around magic.
However, Marian is still in this film. She is tasked with being the sidekick to Billy and Jimmy as her father is chief of the police. This was important because the police didn’t have the resources to fight the gangs, so they couldn’t stop crimes.
It's a perfect example of what happens when a movie is so clearly dated that even the basic structure of it can easily be identified as a film from the 90’s. Honestly, this film doesn’t even come off as bad at some points, but that’s worse than being a bad film because it means it’s forgettable.
The sad part is that this entire franchise is still alive and strong with its first game in the late 80’s, to a recent release in the series that came out in late 2017. The story never reached this far though to try and make itself a grand sort of epic that you would see. Acting-wise, it’s cornier than the entire state of Nebraska, and the fighting is as fake as possible.
I would much rather sit through the Super Mario Brothers movie than this, because at least with that movie I can kind of have fun with how badly they messed up the Mario story. This movie is so far away from the original that it’s a stretch. It’s sad that they just never learned anything from the first and worst video game film. It's a 7 out of 10.