The Girl with the Dragon Medallion
Fans of so-bad-it’s-actually-just-bad cult cinema, rejoice! This 1994 adaptation of a 1988 beat ‘em up video game gets a shiny new blu-ray release.
Following an apocalyptic earthquake, Los Angeles (now New Angeles) has been left poisoned by acid rain and gang violence. Amidst the chaos, evil gang leader Koga Shuko (Robert Patrick) seeks the second half of the magical Double Dragon medallion – an ancient Chinese talisman that will grant the bearer absolute power. Unfortunately for him, the half he doesn’t already own is kept safe by a mystical Chinese woman (Julia Nickson) and the two young martial artists she acts as guardian over. When Koga Shuko kills her for the trinket, the two brothers must keep it from falling into his evil hands.
Support comes from Alyssa Milano, who leads some sort of Byker Grove resistance movement and runs around in denim hotpants, and a useless goon that gets so pumped full of steroids he ends up looking like that shite Peter Kay alien from Doctor Who.
Let’s not beat around the bush – this film is cheesy trash. The terrible acting, immature action and garish aesthetic all point to a Powers Rangers knock-off without the kitschy charm. There’s an element of Mad Max thrown in, as well as some of Paul Verhoeven’s dystopian satire, which makes Double Dragon sound better than it is; what you actually get is a cynical mess of pop-culture references designed to pilfer as much pocket money as it can.
While it can’t save the Microsoft Paint special effects, the HD transfer does at least bring a vibrancy to the colours in all their lurid glory.
Ultimately, there’ll be a die-hard group of fans for whom this is an essential purchase, and a few who might see it as a curio for their cult cinema collection; nobody else need bother shelling out for it.
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