Double Impact (1991): Breakdown by Rantbo
Twin brothers, separated as babies, re-unite and rather than discuss the odd coincidence that they both have a knot on their foreheads in the exact same place—team-up and take on organized crime in Hong Kong.
When one JCVD isn’t enough, why not have two? Makes sense, right? Has an ice-cream cone ever been ruined by the addition of another scoop? Featuring more roundhouses, more head-butts and more Van Damme than any of his other films, the slow-mo grunts, sweaty screaming and high-waist pants are in no short order either, easily making DOUBLE IMPACT one of the top three duo Van Damme role movies.
So far as I could gather, the brother’s parents were wacked by the Triads for their ownership rights to some big freeway tunnel, or something. It’s pretty inconsequential. The only thing you really need to understand to enjoy this entry is that Van Damme has a twin, they have been done wrong and they’re out for vengeance. Good, clean, simple, shirtless, predictable action. The only problem I found is that this didn’t become a franchise.
Following his breakout 80s martial arts films and keeping to the style of his budding, take-no-shit, streetwise 90s badass persona, Van Damme was in the heat of the moment and pumping out consistently good action films and DOUBLE IMPACT is one of his best.
The actual action of the film, is a combination of popular genres and styles of the time. Most notably, Van Damme’s own KICKBOXER (with the family of ass-kickers and, of course, kickboxing), amalgamated with a John Woo-ish style of brotherhood and Heroic Bloodshed. Which is all a fancy way of saying family and friends kick and shoot things.
Which, if you’re a ballsy hero action fan like me, sounds like a great time. And it is. But, this is all due to the top-notch fight choreography and cinematography. While it’s not on par with the Woo style sequences the filmmakers clearly emulated, the action is still really well done and better than most “sub-genre combo-style” movies of its (or any other) time.
So, all together with it’s stylish, brutal, nearly non-stop action, thin—yet acceptable premise and novelty of featuring a PARENT TRAP performance from JCVD, DOUBLE IMPACT is a tight cinematic orifice, just begging to be DI’d by your eyes. Check it out, big time—HUGE time.
[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]
Jean-Claude Van Damme is Curt AND Alex Wagner
Oddly enough, these two have a name role-reversal, as Alex is the alpha assholish one and Chad is the effeminate sensitive one. And their powers combined, they become—CAPTAIN PLANET! OK, weird joke aside, they don’t become Captain Planet. They’re gayer. Much, much, gayer. OK, first thing, right off the bat, Chad is a dance/aerobics instructor, whose wardrobe consists of skimpy, brightly colored female workout gear. Spaghetti-strap tank-tops, shorty-shorts, leg-warmers, black silk underwear—the whole nine. And he seems obsessed with obtaining more as the first thing he thinks to do after arriving in Hong Kong is to go shopping. Fab-U-Lous!
And Alex is just as bad from the other direction. He calls his brother a faggot due to his clothing style, never once seeing the irony that he himself is a greasy, cigar-chomping, leather wearing, macho cocksucker. But when they come together, it makes for one crazy, sweat-soaked fleshterpiece of rippling male physicality. And I’m talkin’ about their fighting prowess.
Van Damme was more cut than room full of razor blade wielding emo kids. Just ripped, man. And boy does he show it off. Barely 8 minutes will pass between one or the other of these guys fucking up something or somebody with their skills. This film alone HAS to hold the record for most JCVD jump kicks in a single movie. Has to. And they all connect. The Wagner Bros. declared war on Asian stuntmen and they’re not going home till China’s flag bleeds out all color.
Geoffrey Lewis is Frank Avery
“You are very hansom man, like Sean Connery!”
Not only that, but Franky-boy is one hard-hittin’, hardcore mother fucker. The film opens with him ‘John Wooing’ an Asian stunt team lead by Bolo Yeung, and ends with him being tortured with hot steam and even hotter gut punches, a la Bolo. But does he give up the location of his adopted sons? “Like I said—FUCK YOU!” You tell ‘em, Frank. In-between these bookends of badassness, Frank also wields a M60, blows up a car, snipes Triads with a rifle, sets off bombs in nightclub and dresses like James Bond. All of which was completely unexpected by me from character actor Geoffrey Lewis, but made all the more fun because of it.
[THE BODY COUNT: 32]
The Brother’s Wagner rack up a suitable 24 combined kills. All of which you can view HERE. The rest are by run-of-the-mill stabbings and shootings. Bolo kills a couple, as does Frank. And even the token lesbian stabs a little Asian man, a quarter of her size. The count, however satisfying, feels like a lot less than what I remember, even having just re-watched the film. Which I think is a testament for how violent and brutal the kills are.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING & DEATH]
“That Big Chinese Ugly Mother Fucker.”
Five Van Damme jump kicks to the face. In a row. That’s how many it takes to send Bolo off balance. Five. And this after a 3 minute shirt-ripping, barrel tossing, slugfest with Chad. And this doesn’t even send him to the ground. Nope. It’s the fuse box he slams into, electrocuting him, that gets the honor. Not only that, the sparks ignited off of Bolo’s sweat soaked back (I assume?) start a fire that consumes a stack of flammable containers that explode, effectively killing his corpse deader than Bolo’s career.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
For starters: DOUBLE IMPACT. Does this, or does this not, sound like an affliction caused by having your bowels plowed by two men at the same time? Rhetorical, it does.
Proctologist: I’m sorry Mrs. Van Varenberg, I regret to inform you that your son has—Double Impact.
Mrs. Van Varenberg: Oh, no!—[sobbing] I don’t understand—he always had such pretty girlfriends!…
One JCVD alone is enough to send the gay levels of a film into the stratosphere, but this glorious film has 2! It’s like a doublemint gum commercial for flavored condoms.
That said, Chad does have sex with a woman. But, wait! Before you cry “Bullshit!”, it’s only in the imagination of Alex. Yes, you read that correctly. To make matters worse (read as gayer), Chad’s vision of sex with a woman is like an R rated, 80s Madonna music video. Complete with flowing, wind-swept lace, bad music and pastel colored—everything. Freud would have a field day trying to sort out this mess of emotions.
Also, the song that plays during the credits (right after the screen freezes on a shirtless and smiling JCVD, no less), is an early 90s techno-rap that repeats (I’m Gonna Make You)~Fee-Fee-FEEL THE IMPACT!~ over and over again.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
The three ladies of IMPACT:
Mrs. Wagner (Mom): Shotgunned in the face by Bolo.
Danielle (Alex’s Girlfriend): Gets naked, fucked (albeit in Alex’s head), bitch-slapped by her boyfriend, kidnapped, tortured AND has her vag violated by the man-hand of a female bodybuilder. This poor, poor woman…
Kara The Amazonian Bull-Dyke (Triad Enforcer): Her weapon of choice? A knife. But only because her clit wasn’t big enough to kill—yet. This massive estrogen-deprived creature trumps around in short-shorts (as her thighs are too wide for pants), beating up men and sexually molesting weaker women. After an exciting fight with Alex, she is done in by her own bladed phallus. Yes, her stomach gets penetrated by Van Damme and it kills her. I can’t imagine what he could do to a feminine female. Thankfully, we’ve never had, nor probably ever will have, to find out.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
JCVD V. JCVD
Where else are you going to get to see two Van Dammes in the same movie!? What’s that you say? TIMECOP? Hmm—Well, yeah—technically, I guess. But where else are you going to get to see two Van Dammes in the same movie, playing brothers!? What? MAXIMUM RISK? Fuck me, alright. Then where else are you going to get to see two Van Dammes in the same movie, FIGHTING one another!? THE REPLICANT!? Mother fucker!!! ALRIGHT, Where else are you going to get to see two Van Dammes in the same movie, playing brothers that fight one-another, in a 1991 film entitled DOUBLE IMPACT!? That’s right, nowhere—God dammit.
Believing that his gay brother has been away for the day schtuping his girlfriend, Alex gets shitfaced and trashes his squat in preparation for what he plans to do to his brother for cheating on him. And when Chad returns home with grin and Danielle on his arm, the clash of the Belgian titans commences. The JCVDs kick, punch, throw and tackle their way through several floors of a run-down hotel, effectively destroying it and themselves like a couple of 50s sci-fi monsters—slathered in baby-oil. It’s fucking great.
Maybe I’m drunk, tomorrow I’ll be sober, but he’ll always be a FAGGOT!
Ouch. Try to keep the gloves up, bro.
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
Two Van Dammes are gayer better than one.
[THE VAN DAMMAGE: 5 outta 5]
[X] An Entire Fight, Sans Shirt
[X] Close-Up Screaming
[X] Jump-Kicks A Guy, Through Something
[X] Special Move Involving Either The Splits or A Spinning Round-House Kick
[THE CHECKLIST: 19 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[ ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[X] Manly Embrace(s)
[X] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[ ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice
Double Impact (1991) © Columbia Pictures and MGM/UA Home Entertainment