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Review Double Impact (1991): Double Trouble!

genre: action, martials

One of the early titles of Van Damme I ate up back in the day. For me, renting films like these were one of the highlights of the weekend. And believe it or not, Double Impact was regarded as a top title.

Double Impact does deliver on the familiar tropes. Combined with Van Damme's charm, you have a winner on your hands. But now, after having rewatched this after thirty years, I can't say the same. The charm is still there. Van Damme is also in top shape. And him playing twins does work to a certain extent. Although in hindsight, they should have helped him sell the double role. By putting someone in there who would enhance his delivery. Double Impact truly emphasizes how limited he is as an actor. Geoffrey Lewis (as Frank) is usually the perfect candidate to do exactly that. But, for whatever reason, he is just there and doesn't really interact with Van Damme that much. I can't be sure, but perhaps writer / director Sheldon Lettich deliberately underused him in favour of giving Van Damme more screen time. If this is true, it's sheer ignorance and stupidity. This guy can make everyone look good and had he been given the opportunity he would have improved Van Damme's performance and ultimately the film.

Actually speaking of Sheldon Lettich. He also fails to capitalize on the rest of the supporting cast. Philip Chan, Alan Scarfe, Corinna Everson and Bolo Yeung are underutilized. Philip Chan has the acting power of a Super Saiyan the ninth degree but has been reduced to play a glorified thug. His partner in crime played by Alan Scarfe is your typical villain with not that much to do than just to give a face to the enemy. Scarfe can do a lot with very little, but even he struggles to make a real impact, since his screen time also has been sacrificed in order to give Van Damme more screen time.

So what about the action? It's OK. Some decent fights and competent gun combat. But nothing memorable. Most of the film is set in Hong Kong. It's therefore curious they didn't hire a local action director to spice up the action scenes. Instead, surprise, Van Damme is the one who did the fight choreography. It's not bad, but good and exciting? Nope. Overall, even with its flaws, still an above average Van Damme title, especially compared to the crap he is currently putting out.

* Apparently, old age is getting the better of me. I had already written a review for this title a couple of years ago. But glad to find out that my current review in large parts points out the same. Read my older review!

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