THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Thursday, November 10, 1994 TAG: 9411100022 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E5 EDITION: FINAL TYPE: Movie Review SOURCE: BY MAL VINCENT, FILM CRITIC LENGTH: Medium: 72 lines
MOVIES THAT HAVE attempted to cash in on the video-game market have been largely rejected by ticketbuyers - from the stodgy ``Tron'' to the disastrous ``Super Mario Bros.'' ``Double Dragon's'' simplistic plot and amateurish acting are likely to sink it into the same hole. There are a few clever ideas here - as well as some interesting sets. It's too bad they don't go anywhere.
The movie is aimed directly at 10-year-old boys who spend their entire allowances on playing video games. (A faulty marketing device because, given their choice, they're likely to stay in the arcade with their quarters.)
There is some fun to be had, and a few good solid, laughs, in contemplating this film's idea of the future. The setting is the year 2007, seven years after ``the big one'' has hit New Angeles. Vanna White and George Hamilton are the news anchors, symbolizing the downfall of evening news. Jerry Brown is the vice president and, before our very eyes, there is a news flash that Madonna, ``former pop star,'' has broken up with Tom Arnold and ``wants to be alone.''
The effects of the earthquake have flooded what used to be Los Angeles. A boat tour includes Mann's Chinese Theater.
Something could be made of this occasionally intriguing MTV look at our bleak, and not so cool, future. Instead, the film gets obsessed with a silly ``plot'' about uniting two edges of a Chinese medal. The villain, played with snarling flair by Robert Patrick from ``Terminator 2,'' holds one half of the ancient thing (which, in reality, looks like cheap jewelry). The other half is protected by the teen heroes, the Lee brothers, played by two ``Teen Beat'' model-types (Mark Dacascos and Scott Wolf). Wolf is a Tom Cruise clone. They both specialize at looking into the camera and scream-yelling their fear of the next impending thrill.
The sets look like a cheapo version of ``Blade Runner,'' which, in fact, is an interesting mood to suggest. Matte shots, beautifully drawn, substitute for three-dimensional backgrounds. The kids ride about in a punk-metallic ``Dragon Wagon,'' which is fueled by trash - and looks like a close kin to the Batmobile.
Alyssa Milano from TV's ``Who's the Boss?'' plays the pert, blond companion of the two heroes. She kicks and socks with fervor, but she still is required to wear hot pants and needs rescuing.
New Angeles is ruled by gangs. The police don't go out after dark. An old-fashioned group, the Mohawks, is the meanest.
The ``action,'' which includes a boat race as well as auto races, is limited to cartoonish socks, grunts and kicks in the style of ``Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.'' The look is of ``The Crow,'' but the style is from ``Mighty Morphin Power Rangers'' - lots of movement and noise but no tension.
Directed by a video version specialist, the mood, and occasionaly futuristic satire are almost enough to make up for the overly simple plot. It is likely that there will be sequels. ILLUSTRATION: Photo by GRAMERCY PICTURES
Mark Dacascos fights off an attacker in an attempt to keep his
legendary medallion in ``Double Dragon.''
Cast: Scott Wolf, Mark Dacascos, Robert Patrick, Vanna White,
George Hamilton, Alyssa Milano
Director: James Yukich
Screenplay: Michael Davis and Peter Gould
MPAA rating: PG-13 (cartoonish violence)
Mal's rating: 1 1/2 Stars
Locations: Main Gate in Norfolk; Lynnhaven 8 in Virginia Beach