Twin Impact

Van Damme plays two divergent personalities, twin brothers, one a mild Los Angeles karate instructor, the other a hardened Hong Kong-based gunman involved in Triad trade. Years after Double Impact, star Jean-Claude Van Damme was diagnosed with a form of bi-polar disorder.

Looking back on Double Impact with knowledge of the actor’s struggle with mental health tightens a routine early ‘90s action set piece. It’s enthusiastic and a bit exotic, with Van Damme required to face both of himselves, accept it, and endure.

It’s a gimmick movie, but a great gimmick. And, looks even better when splashed on a marquee. Double Impact gives Van Damme differentiation, one of the twins a master roundhouse kicker, the other proficient at range with guns. That allows a spread in the violence, more so than in character. Turns out an L.A. fitness guru isn’t all that unique next to a Hong Kong mafia embed.

Double Impact is eccentric and wild, enough to stand out among that Van Damme prime

The purpose here is getting Van Damme into form, this not long after the wild two-kick of Bloodsport and Kickboxer. With a Hong Kong setting, a few years before Britain transferred the colony from their rule, the villains also take on split types. The smug Brit (Nigel Griffith) finds himself low on cash, joining forces with a local (Philip Chan) dealing in cocaine. Griffith sees this as western business; Chan exploits the west.

Eventually, Double Impact descends into a “save the girl” routine, chunks of this story like leftovers of the ‘80s. To be fair, Double Impact saw theatrical release in mid-1991. Culture hadn’t changed dramatically. Neither did the drug trade, an easy catalyst.

Double Impact’s best stuff comes from the locale. Using docks and shorelines to contrast Hong Kong’s growing economy with the lingering criminal element, Van Damme rushes along boats with a finale staged around shipping crates. That’s a blast, with two brutal villain deaths and Van Damme squaring off again with Bolo Yeung, opposition from Bloodsport.

Three years after this, a videogame-turned-movie Double Dragon released. The oddity is that Double Impact deals with the source videogame better in spite of no direct connection. That fight with Yeung is a direct callback. Stacks of boxes and thrown barrels, the two brothers, a muscular henchman, the kidnapped girl, and gun-toting lead villain all borrow from Double Dragon. Double Impact is also eccentric and wild, enough to stand out among that Van Damme prime. A bit cornball, sure, if at times riotous.


MVD inducts Double Team into their Rewind Collection (ironically, so too was Double Dragon). This ranks as one of their best discs to date in terms of visual authenticity. Light grain resolves clearly, capturing the film stock without fault. An occasional speck or scratch hardly warrants mention.

With high resolution in the source, fidelity pops. Facial texture proves striking. Exteriors of Hong Kong look outstanding, especially shots of shoreline skyscrapers. Visual effects and mattes pair Van Damme on-screen with himself creating normal degradation in image sharpness.

Pleasing color helps, also natural like the grain. Flesh tones come from a place of authenticity. Saturation brings out Hong Kong’s jungles and those shipping areas contain all manner of colorful crates. Likewise, thick contrast adds dimension. A key fight late takes place in near total darkness, provided the needed black level density to work as intended.


The original stereo presentation is presented in PCM. It’s a great split across the fronts, with action moving between speakers, sending gunshots to an appropriate direction. Chases whip side-to-side, and even some dialog runs toward a specific speaker.

Mastering preserves fidelity, rendering deep explosions and treble richly. Range extends to the max of a 2.0 offering. There’s no notice of degradation.


MVD goes all out here. A two-part making-of brings in a number of cast members (Van Damme included) to discuss the making of this actioner. The distributor even tracked down the body doubles. Running close to two hours, this becomes an open discussion, including a character-based defense of a rather ludicrous nude/sex sequence.

An anatomy of a scene lets director Sheldon Lettich talk about his favorite action piece for eight minutes. One of the longest selections of deleted/extended scenes anywhere lasts for 53-minutes. In the next bonus, B-roll footage captures the set live in a great look at how Double Impact came together. Some promo clips, EPK material, and interviews from ‘91 delve into the ad blitz. Great stuff all-around.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Double Impact
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Double Impact stars Jean-Claude Van Damme – twice! – in a kooky action flick with a number of fun set pieces.

User Review
5 (2 votes)

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