I would love to have been a fly on the wall in the MGM production offices over 20 years ago as the heads of the studio met to discuss script proposals.
-So what have we got?
-Well we have a script here based on Milton's Paradise Lost. It's set in Heaven, Chaos, Paradise and Hell and features violent battles between army's of angels demons good and evil. Think Dantes Inferno meets the book of Revelations. It explores Satan's fall from heaven and subsequent return to the Garden of Eden. It explores themes such as if God is good and all powerful how can we account for the existence of an evil chaos? Arguments include that chaos is the material equivalent of free will. How can Adam and Eve be really free when God forsees their every act and speaks of their fall as a certainty before it happened and thus if God contrived the fall therefore he is the author of original sin and that in effect God wants humankind to fall so he can show his goodness by restoring us. They want to cast De Niro as God, Pacino as Satan, Tom Cruise as Adam and Kim Basinger as Eve. The script is called "Holy Moly".
-Meh. What else you got?
-Well we have another script here. Let me see..Ok here we go. You're going to like this. It features Jean Claude Van Damme playing identical twin brothers, yes thats right two Van Dammes. Its a martial arts action movie set in Hong Kong. Oh and Jean Claude Van Damme is in it and he plays identical twin brothers.
-Fuckin A. Whats it called?
Double Impact. Well what can one say? The brainchild of both Sheldon Lettitch a screenwriter notable at the time for Bloodsport (starring a certain JCVD) and Van Damme himself the movie launched Van Damme in the states and firmly fermented his status as that "crazy belgian fucker who looks a bit like Guile from Street Fighter " (Van Damme would go on to play Guile in the Street Fighter Movie. Obviously) or the "muscles from Brussels" as he is unfortunately more commonly known. Set in a bustling Hong Kong of sharp suited Triads and diced frogs it contains a barrage of standard action movie cliches including the quintessential English bad guy, the ex Vietnam vet mentor, the blonde English love interest (no patch on Patsy Kensit in Lethal Weapon 2 but better tits), the one named muscle bound henchman here called Moon and played by the hero who is Bolo Yeung (of Enter the Dragon and Bloodsport fame) oh and did I mention it has Jean Claude Van Damme playing identical twin brothers? In the words of an MGM executive "fuckin A".
The film succeeds by letting Van Damme play to his strengths' namely minimal acting and a lot of impossibly acrobatic splits while kicking people in the head. Twice. It starts with the twins being separated as babies by the murder of their parents (ahem, english bad guy, ahem). Chad or Van Damme 1 or the good Van Damme is brought up in France (which subtly explains the accent but why not Belgium?) by his parents former bodyguard and ex Vietnam vet Frank here played by Geoffrey Lewis (of Lawnmower Man and Maverick fame).
Frank and Chad set up a martial arts school in LA where Chad teaches the ancient combat form of karate in a pair of the most ball restricting blue lycra pants you are ever likely to see.
When news arrives to Frank that Alex or Van Damme 2, the other twin or the bad but not that bad Van Damme has been spotted in Hong Kong where the English bad guy who killed their parents and is now in league with the Triads is also at large, off Frank and Van Damme 1 go. Can you see where this is going?
Cue initial conflict. Van Damme 1 is reunited with Van Damme 2 in a Hong Kong bar whilst being serviced by Van Damme 2's woman (the blonde english love interest, who also works for the English bad guy, Lethal Weapon 2 anyone?) who OBVIOUSLY thinks that Van Damme 1 is Van Damme 2. You following?
Cue acceptance. "Well we both look the same, we must be brothers!!"
Cue "lets get the sonofabitch who killed our parents".
Cue Van Damme 1 being mistaken for Van Damme 2 and having 7 shades of shit kicked out of him by Bolo Yeung.
Cue Van Damme 1 and Van Damme 2 going after the English bad guy and his Triad associate by effectively blowing up a drug meet . This scene sees Van Damme 2 displaying a sublime neck break (see also Bolo Yeung in Enter the Dragon, Antonio Banderas in Desperado, Arnie in Total Recall and the Running Man and Jean Reno in Leon). He also appears to have 2 guns with an unlimited amount of bullets (70? 80? in two guns?), obviously, which he shows to great effect in a classic two gun roll across the ground taking out numerous hoods who cannot shoot for shit moment of genius. Check it here.
Cue English love interest being found out as being in league with the Van Dammes by English bad guy and being molested along the way by english bad guy's lesbian security guard/hench woman/bitch who tries to snap Van Damme 2's neck with her thighs.
Cue english love interest being rescued by Van Damme 1 (the good Van Damme or Chad) sending Van Damme 2 into a jealous rage.
Cue Van Damme 2 drinking a bottle of whiskey straight (not advisable unless you suffer from "testing the boundaries of oblivion on a friday night syndrome") and visualising Van Damme 1 getting some good ol boat sex with english love interest. (much better tits than Patsy Kensit).
Cue the moment we have all being waiting for. Van Damme 1 fighting Van Damme 2! G'wah! This scene includes such immortal lines as "im gona fuck up his face", "you're not bad for a pussy" and "he'll always be a faggot" (unfortunately "he'll always be a faggot" cannot be heard in this youtube clip so you'll just have to go and watch the film).
Cue Frank and English love interest being kidnapped by English bad guy and Triad leader and tortured in one of those smoky red lit chambers you always find on ships.
Cue Van Damme reconciliation.
Cue the Van Damme's joining forces in an action packed climax. Will they save English Love Interest and Frank? Who will take on Bolo Yeung in a fight to the death? What is the most gratuitous way we can kill english bad guy and triad leader in a ship yard? Why have I watched Double Impact twice in three days? These were the questions (not the last one) posed by one Sheldon Lettich and Jean Claude Van Damme over 20 years ago. Their answer was "DOUBLE IMPACT". A must see. An executive at MGM agreed.