Man, the action movies of this vintage were really reaching with this gimmicky subject matter. All the straight forward stories about alien hunters in the jungle and war vets returning to NAM to “take pictures” had all run dry and Hollywood writers must have been looking to cartoons for inspiration. All aboard! Out destination today is 1992...AGAIN! If I’m not careful the year 1992 is going to get stuck in the internal memory of the time machine and I’ll never be able to escape the early ‘90s.
The year is 1992. Peter and David Paul, aka “The Barbarian Brothers“, are identical twins who spent most of the ‘80s body building in Southern California before making the jump into acting. They had a gig driving a “D.C. Cab“, they hung out with “The Flamingo Kid” and even starred in a film that seems to have been titled after then, “The Barbarians”. As the ‘90s began things were really looking promising for the Barbarian Brothers and they even landed a role in the film we‘ll be visiting today, “Double Trouble“.
This films begins with Peter, Peter Paul, making a phone call to the police from a plush high-rise apartment in the dead of night. Who is he calling? The police. Why is he calling them? The apartment has been robbed…by him. I’ll admit this isn’t the smartest thing I’ve seen a criminal do, but much like the “Wet Bandits”, this is his calling card.
Moments later he is apprehended on the roof by detective…umm… David, David Paul, Peter‘s twin brother. He isn’t so much apprehended as he is shot by David. The two start bickering about how Peter can’t stay out of trouble and how David takes life too seriously. David gets frustrated and shoots Peter in the arm. Peter stumbles, falls off the roof and makes his escape.
This doesn’t matter much because a day or two later Peter is up to his old cat burglary tricks when he heists a collection of valuable diamonds. Again, Peter calls the police but this time he asks them to send David. Peter tries to get even with his bro for shooting him by setting a booby-trap but instead gets caught in it himself.
After spending the night in the jail house, Peter cuts a deal with O’Brien, the chief of police, played by James Doohan of Star Trek fame. Apparently Peter overheard some juicy information the last time he was in prison, some of which helped him find the diamonds he tried to steal. The rest involved Philip Chamberlin, Roddy McDowall, a diamond exporter who the police suspect is using his exporting connections as a way to traffic drug money. O’Brien decides to team Peter up with David and let them work together to dig up dirt on Chamberlin.
As the brothers investigate they learn that Chamberlin has paid off all the right people, including city council who approved the plan to build a subway underneath the nearby diamond exchange. He then made friends with Kent, the man in charge of the subways construction. The plan is to use the unfinished subway to blow a hole in the wall of the diamond exchange’s underground vault. It’s just an old fashioned robbery. I guess the police shouldn’t have been so concerned with Chamberlin’s drug money trafficking.
Once the brothers are hip to Chamberlin’s plot they rush to the diamond exchange, but it’s already too late. The diamonds have been stolen and Chamberlin and his goons are headed to the airport to skip town. The twins follow.
Once Chamberlin and the rest arrive he shares a celebratory toast with his criminal cohorts. The funny thing about criminals thou, they are greedy and can’t be trusted. Chamberlin poisoned the champagne so he could wouldn‘t have to share the booty.
Chamberlin grabs the diamonds and heads to his private plane but surprise, the brothers beat him to the punch in a way that only Barbarian Brothers or a Mentos commercial could. The plane is upside down.
Now the typical cat and mouse chase ensues before David corners Chamberlin and blows him away. The blast from David’s shotgun throws Chamberlin’s body through a plate glass window in a display of true detective work that would make Dirty Hairy proud.
With another case closed, David stops to wonder where his brother is. And that’s when he notices, the diamonds are gone. As the credits roll David chases Peter into the early morning sunrise. The End.
“Double Trouble” plays better as a comedy than a straight action movie. Hmm, am I experiencing déjà vu? Didn’t I just say that about “Twin Dragons“? The sheer absurdity of these two walking behemoth twin brothers pitted against each other in typical odd couple fashion doesn’t do much to help the poor acting and less than amazing plot that was later stolen for “ Die Hard with a Vengeance“.
But I have to admit, it’s pretty entertaining all things considered. The Barbarian Brothers share good comedic timing and some of the humor isn’t half bad. The jokes are low hanging fruit in most cases but it was enough to get a few genuine laughs out of me.
I also enjoyed all the familiar faces. James Doohan and Roddy McDowall are great. Even David Carradine was kind enough to make an appearance as an old prison friend of Peter’s. Here is someone I bet you forgot existed, Bill Mumy. He plays one of Chamberlin’s enforcers, but you might remember him as the little boy from the “Lost in Space” television show or the episode of “The Twilight Zone”, “It‘s a Good Life”.
So, in the end I can’t say “Double Trouble” isn't all that bad, even though I expected it to be. In fact I had more fun watching this than I did watching both “Twin Dragons” and “Double Impact“. Go figure. I guess you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover even if it’s cover is a muscle-bound pair of twins who probably shouldn’t have been actors.
Now I bet you‘re wondering what happened to the Barbarian Brothers right?.. Right?! Well they went on to star in a few other films, their last being “Twin Sitters” from 1994 in which they play baby sitters who get caught up in all sorts of hilarious hijinks. Oh but that’s not all! They also recorded the “Twin Sitters” soundtrack and on four of those songs they rap. LOL Why? WHY, DID EVERYONE RAP BACK THEN?! I guess there weren’t many good ideas in the early ‘90s. I blame everyone’s struggle to kick their cocaine habit -- a remnant of the ‘80s.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes our ride on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi!
For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!