There was a dark time in the nineties. It was a time whaen video game adaptations were on every studio’s radar and fans cried at the mere thought of another popular series being butchered by the Hollywood machine and its lack of understanding of these franchises.
Sandwiched between the releases of Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter was James Yukich’s 1994 trashterpiece Double Dragon. In the two decades since it was unleashed on the world, it’s become a it’s-so-bad-that-it’s-good movie and a common addition to a pizza-and-green evening. Who could ever forget the film’s true highlight and star: Robert Patrick’s Vanilla Ice-inspired hairdo?
The actor sure hasn’t. Speaking to The A.V. Club, he said, “I’m willing to try. I try to be as brave as I can. Sometimes you have a misfire. So… I guess I’ll say it works for that character. It’s not my favorite look, but it worked for the character. I guess. I don’t know. Hey, look, at least I have hair!”
While sniggering about Patrick’s hair, we’ve taken a trip down memory lane and picked out some interesting facts about the film. So, join us as we take a look at the 15 Shocking Things You Didn’t Know About The Disastrous Double Dragon Movie.
15. Scott Wolf And Alyssa Milano Fell In Love On Set
It’s not unusual to find out that co-stars fall in love on set. Heck, just ask Jennifer Aniston about it and how she lost Brad Pitt to Angelina Jolie. One romance that we were all rooting for was the one between Alyssa Milano and Scott Wolf.
Meeting on the set of Double Dragon, Milano told People that it was love at first sight. “I knew it the second I met him. I called my mom and told her, ‘This is the man I’m gonna marry.'”
Not long after the film’s production wrapped up, Wolf moved in with Milano and soon asked her to be his wife. Sadly, like most romances in Hollywood, it didn’t last between the two of them, with the engagement being called off after a year and a half.
14. The Script Forgets How Old Jimmy And Billy Are
In the video game series, Billy and Jimmy Lee are twin brothers. However, the film decided to change it up a bit and have them be different ages.
Fair enough creative decision, right? Well, it would’ve helped if the screenwriters and filmmakers remembered what was in the script and double-checked it in the editing stage.
When Shuko finds out about the Lee brothers, Billy is listed as 17 and Jimmy is 18. Later in the movie, one of the gang members reads the brothers’ information and it’s revealed that Jimmy was born on February 24, 1990, and Billy on February 17, 1992. Since the film takes place in 2007, that means Jimmy is 17 and Billy is 15.
13. Producer Alan Schechter Took His Own Life In 2005
This is a tragic point to write about. One of the main people responsible for getting Robert Patrick involved in Double Dragon was film producer Alan Schechter.
Known for his low-budget films with big budget effects, Schechter worked his way up the Hollywood ranks after beginning his career as a personal assistant to Joel Silver.
Patrick himself said it was Schechter who chased him for the movie and made sure he was paid well for it, too. Additionally, Schechter was instrumental in getting Patrick’s brother’s band, Filter, in 1995’s Demon Knight, which resulted in the group signing with Warner Brothers and taking their career to the next level.
12. Robert Patrick Is Still Proud Of His Performance
Considering the incredible filmography he has, one would think that Double Dragon was a low point in Robert Patrick’s career – a blemish that he’d not want to revisit or talk about. However, that’s not the case at all.
Chatting to The A.V. Club, Patrick proudly said, “There’s some funny aspects to that character, and it was a fairly liberating experience to be funny and try to be menacing at the same time. I am proud of my performance. It’s a pretty extreme performance.”
That said, he is under no illusions that Double Dragon was a bad movie, adding, “That was a movie I did that, on paper, I thought could really work. It, uh, didn’t really work that well. [Laughs.] I bought into the premise.”
11. The UK Version Of The Film Was Cut By 10 Seconds
While Double Dragon was a relatively safe PG-13 affair and one of the least violent films of 1994, it still ruffled the Censorship Police and the DVD version of the UK release was cut by about 10 seconds, with four scenes altered.
Reportedly, the censors weren’t too happy with some of the headbutting and as a result, the fight scenes needed to be cut to appease them. It’s pretty weird, though, when you consider this is an action film about martial artists – and there will be physical contact and the occasional headbutt.
10. Alyssa Milano’s Brother Plays Her Brother In The Movie
Nepotism is rife in Hollywood. Actors will always help out their own – whether it’s deserved or not. In Double Dragon, Cory Milano – Alyssa Milano’s younger brother – portrayed her younger brother (Marc Delario) in the movie, too.
While the role was nothing to write home about and a relatively small part, it did give Cory that extra film credit for his IMDb page. Judging by his recent history, though, it seems as if he has found his niche as a music editor, having worked on the likes of Spider-Man 3, Mistresses, and Being Mary Jane.
9. Imperial Entertainment Secured The Rights To The Movie In 1991
Back in the early nineties, everyone and their mother scampered to pick up the rights to bring video games to the big screen. With these franchises being extremely popular with the growing gaming crowd, it made perfect business sense to pursue the genre.
In 1991, the Imperial Entertainment Group struck a deal to make a movie based on Double Dragon. Considering the original game was a simple beat ’em up with a paper-thin storyline, there was an opportunity to build an expansive and new world for this franchise.
It took three years to release the film, but the final product left many people wondering what the hell had Imperial Entertainment been doing for so long. Maybe they thought there wasn’t a need to put in any effort since the film would already have a built-in fanbase?
8. The Director Won A Grammy Award
Well, no one won any awards for Double Dragon, that’s for sure, but director James Yukich had tasted awards success before his feature-film endeavor. In fact, he was an important part of one of the best songs and music videos of all time.
Back in the eighties, UK rock band Genesis released an extraordinary music video for their seminal song “Land of Confusion”, which featured caricature puppets inspired by the British TV show Spitting Image.
The video went on to receive heavy airplay on MTV (when the channel still played music and not hot garbage) and won the short-lived Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video at the 30th Annual Grammy Awards in 1988.
7. One Of The Screenwriters Is The Co-Creator Of Better Call Saul
Proving that nothing is ever permanent, one of the film’s screenwriters Peter Gould moved on to bigger and better things – even being nominated for four Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards.
After the disastrous Double Dragon, Gould lay low for a while before bouncing back with Breaking Bad. In the first season, he joined the writing staff as a story editor, but by the final season of the show he was promoted to co-executive producer.
When the series came to an end, Gould teamed up with Vince Gilligan for the Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul, where he took on co-showrunner and co-writer responsibilities.
6. A Video Game Based On The Movie Was Released
So, get this: Double Dragon was based on a video game, so a video game was then made based on the movie. The good news is, it sounds like we initially dodged a real stinker as there were plans to make a fighting game based on motion-captured sprites of the actors, like the atrocious Street Fighter: The Movie.
At the end of the day, we received Double Dragon for the Neo Geo system. It played like a traditional one-on-one fighting game and borrowed elements from the film’s visuals and plot. The game wasn’t particularly great or memorable by any means, but the graphics were pretty good for the time and the controls were responsive.
5. A Scene Caused Panicked Residents To Phone Emergency Services
A bulk of the filming for Double Dragon took place in Ohio, without much incident or cause for concern. However, there was one particular scene that rattled the residents of the area.
In the film, there’s a boat chase sequence that climaxes with a massive explosion. Nothing about this was set to be CGI and the scene was filmed on the Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio with gallons of gasoline and alcohol. Naturally, there were several warnings on news channels the night before the shoot for the residents to not be alarmed.
Well, everyone must’ve been watching Seinfeld and missed the warnings since the emergency services line received over 210 phone calls in over 10 minutes the next day. The residents panicked and thought World War 3 was starting in Ohio.
4. Robert Patrick Took The Role Because Of His Love Of Martial Arts
After his star-making turn as the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Robert Patrick could’ve had any role he wanted. However, he never forgot that acting is meant to be fun and should be something that you want to do.
As a result, he took two roles in Double Dragon and Hong Kong 97 because of his love of martial arts. Even to this day, Patrick’s workout regime consists of the treadmill, stationary bike, free weights, rowing machine, and martial arts on a heavy bag.
While he did admit to The Los Angeles Times that his old injuries are kicking in now as he gets older, he remains determined to stay lean and mean. Maybe he’s keeping fit in case he’s asked to play Shuko again in a Double Dragon sequel.
3. It Was Scott Wolf’s First Leading Role
In the nineties, Scott Wolf became a household name after his performance as Bailey Salinger in the family drama series Party of Five. Before the show, though, Wolf had only done a handful of TV appearances, mostly appearing in smaller roles.
His casting as Billy Lee in Double Dragon proved to be his first leading role in a film – and what he probably hoped would be the first of many. Well, let’s just say that the action flick didn’t do much to raise his profile or set him on his way to superstardom.
2. Harley Quinn’s Creator Co-Wrote The Story
Despite the final product, there was a lot of talent involved in the making of the movie. Chief amongst them was Paul Dini, who co-wrote the original story with Neal Shusterman.
At the time, Dini was well known for his writing work on Tiny Toon Adventures and Batman: The Animated Series, where he created the now-iconic character Harley Quinn, aka the Clown Princess of Crime.
The Double Dragon experience must’ve scared him off Hollywood movies, though, as he has stuck more closely to superheroes and avoided the big live-action productions.
Regardless, Dini’s career never suffered because of his association to the film and he went on to write episodes of Lost and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. To this day, he continues to be involved in TV and animated movies.
1. The Double Dragon Video Game Actually Appears In The Movie
In perhaps the most unsurprising bit of product placement, the Double Dragon arcade game actually appears in the movie. Like the rest of the film’s bizarre choices, the reason for its appearance remains unknown (and rather pointless).
If you have a good eye, you probably would’ve spotted the cabinet in between a dozen other arcade games in the Power Corps hideout. The game becomes more noticeable when Jimmy (who is possessed by Shuko at the time – long story) tries to kick his brother, Billy, but misses and smashes the game’s screen.
While it’s highly likely that the filmmakers thought this would be some kind of trippy inception or a nice tribute to the source material, it’s almost as embarrassing as a band member wearing his own band’s t-shirt.
Do you know any other interesting facts about the Double Dragon movie? Let us know in the comments section!
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