Blu-ray Review - Double Impact: Special Collector’s Edition | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019  

Double Impact: Special Collector’s Edition

Studio: MVD Rewind

May 28, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Twin brothers Chad (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Alex (Jean-Claude Van Damme) were separated as infants when Triad assassins gunned down their wealthy parents. Baby Chad was whisked away to France, and then Los Angeles, under the protection of his family’s badass bodyguard, Frank (10 to Midnight’s Geoffrey Lewis), where the two spent the next 25 years opening successful karate dojos-slash-aerobics studios. Meanwhile, poor Alex grew up in an orphanage and on the streets of Hong Kong, eventually building up an illicit enterprise smuggling cars and cognac into China. When Frank tracks down the errant twin, he reunites the brothers in a revenge mission to reclaim the birthright which was stolen from them by a crooked businessman and a powerful Chinese crime lord.

Released in 1991, this was the first of five (!) movies and TV shows in which JCVD played multiple roles (including Timecop, Maximum Risk, Replicant, and the canceled-far-too-soon Jean-Claude Van Johnson.) This one is peak Van Damme, while he was still a young star on meteoric rise. It brought together again several names from his breakthrough Bloodsport, including bodybuilder baddie Bolo Yeung (Chong Li) and actor Philip Chan, as well as that film’s writer Sheldon Lettich, who’d just directed Van Damme for the first time in the classic Lionheart. (The Lettich/Van Damme pairing was an ‘80s-’90s action movie parallel to Scorsese/De Niro, or at least the Western equivalent of John Woo/Chow Yun-Fat: Lettich had a knack for utilizing his star’s biggest strengths which few other filmmakers were ever able to match.)

Van Damme appears especially comfortable in this movie, and the dual roles occasionally allow him to tap into his underutilized comic talents. (This is particularly true when he’s playing the slightly doofy brother, Chad.) Van Damme pulls off the feat of making Chad and Alex seem like two very different characters, sharing only their appearance and, of course, lethal martial arts abilities. Although this movie features more gunplay than JCVD’s earlier movies there’s certainly no shortage of the actor’s famous kicks and splits. With a few great stunts, some creative action staging, and high production value (only once does the effect of two on-screen Van Dammes appear unconvincing to the point of distraction), Double Impact is a solid entry in the upper tier of JCVD’s canon.

This special edition of Double Impact is another unbelievable effort from boutique label MVD Rewind Collection, whose releases of Van Damme staples Lionheart and Black Eagle really impressed us previously. This release blows those two out of the water, with several hours’ worth of new and previously-unavailable bonus features. The most exciting inclusions are nearly an hour’s worth of deleted and extended scenes, such as a very funny alternate ending, and a two-part feature-length documentary about the making Double Impact, which includes new interviews with JCVD, Sheldon Lettich, and various crew members. The latter is a wonderfully exhaustive history of the film, from its beginnings as an afterthought from The Cannon Group through its occasionally challenging production in Hong Kong and its 1991 theatrical release. Finally, Lettich spends eight minutes breaking down the movie’s central chase scene, which provides some nice insight into the action moviemaking process. In addition to this there’s a whole bunch of archival bonus materials, mostly short but fun to watch, from contemporary interviews to a behind-the-scenes featurette. 

MVD Rewind enthusiastically leans into its retro videocassette aesthetic, from the faux-worn, sticker-covered sleeve to the blue “play” screen that appears when the disc is inserted into your Blu-ray player. Unlike other companies that have used a similar idea in the time since, MVD have gone an extra mile to ensure that film looks (and sounds) better than any previous home video release of Double Impact we’ve seen in the past. Once again, we have to stop and applaud what they’re doing here. These movies don’t have the same cult following as, say, Bloodsport or Cyborg, but are high-quality flicks that don’t deserve to be overlooked; watching them receive more lavish special editions than those better-known movies is a testament to this company’s love for these unheralded films.

(mvdshop.com/products/double-impact-collectors-edition-blu-ray)




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