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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Double Impact (1991)



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Watching Double Impact, in which Jean-Claude Van Damme plays twins separated in the aftermath of the massacre of their parents, I wondered why this movie had so much of a plot. Usually wall-to-wall action movies have too little. This one has too much. A guy raises one of the twins, eventually gets around to tracking the other down, and arranges a meeting. Then there's a love triangle, intrigue amongst the ranks of the villains, and various captures, escapes, and supposed deaths. None of it matters. It's all just an excuse to show assorted gruesome scenes of combat. And like all excuses, the more elaborate it gets, the less convincing it becomes.

Kudos to the filmmakers for at least trying to tell a story with this film. But it doesn't count unless it matters. Case in point: there's a scene where one Jean-Claude Van Damme gets mad with jealousy when he thinks the other Jean-Claude Va Damme is fooling around with his girlfriend. Are they? It doesn't matter. We have no emotional stake in whether they are or aren't, whether she ends up with one, the other, or neither. The only thing about the scene that matters at all is that it sets up a (disappointing) fight scene between the two of them. Hey, if you want two Jean-Claude Van Dammes to fight each other, just do it. The audience for these movies don't need the torturously drawn-out justification.

Better still, though, tell a story that isn't just a needlessly elaborate framework for uninspired action scenes.