Twins

October 14, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Double Trouble

DOUBLE ENJOYMENT

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“.
THE SKINNY
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.
THE VERDICT
“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!

October 3, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Twin Dragons

DOUBLE LACKING

Well, well, well we meet again. I take it that two Jean-Claude Van Dammes wasn’t too much for you. After all he does happen to speak with an accent…if you haven’t noticed. This can be confusing for some… apparently. All aboard the Action Movie Time Machine!
The year is 1992. Yeah, we’re back in the early 90s… again. Not much has changed since that last time we visited. TWA declares bankruptcy. Mike Tyson plays his own game of Punch-Out with a woman he is convicted of raping, and there were plenty of toy related movies to watch. Ironically enough, both “Toys” starring Robin Williams is released as well as the direct to video “Demonic Toys”, for those of you who thought “Toys“ wasn‘t creepy enough. All this and Jackie Chan discovers that he has a long lost twin brother in “Twin Dragons“.
THE SKINNY
The film begins in black and white during the mid-60s. A woman has just given birth to a pair of beautiful baby boys. Meanwhile, police are wheeling in a wounded man who made an attempt to escape capture. However, this man still has some fight left in him. He regains consciousness, swipes a cops gun and starts to shoot his way out of the hospital. He is cut off from the exit and makes his way to the very same room the mother is in with her sons. Using one of the boys as a human shield, he leaps through a window and makes his escape. The human shield is soon discarded and later discovered by a drunken slut.
Now modern day, we learn that one brother, John, has been raised by his loving parents and at a young age became a piano prodigy. As an adult John is a world renowned conductor. On the other side of the coin we have Boomer, who practically raised himself and is now a hard fucking, shit talking stock car racer/mechanic.
 
This story gets interesting when we see John travel to Hong Kong for a piano concert, and during this concert, Boomer, who happens to be repairing a car, suddenly can’t control the movements of his fingers. The twins are somehow psychically connected when they are near each other.
Soon we see Boomer and his friend Tyson, another racer, making their escape. As it turns out the duo owe a local mob boss a considerable amount of money. Boomer and Tyson hustled them into a race, thinking they could win…they didn’t. Now the mob wants them to pay up.
A boat chase ensues that lands Tyson in a body cast. The hospital Tyson is staying in happens to pay protection money to the mob, so for the time being he belongs to the mob and is their prisoner. To guarantee Tyson’s safety, Boomer gets roped into taking care of the mob’s dirty work. Driving mostly. In fact there is a plot to sprint another, higher ranking mob boss.
 
This gets complicated when John arrives in Hong Kong to conduct a concert. Soon the two are thrust into a constantly evolving case of mistaken identity that involves the mob, an angry Iron Maiden fan, kung-fu conducting and the love interests of both men which results in fast paced slapstick fight scenes. At one point, both brothers share a bath with one of the women — one brother pretending to be a mirror so they don’t get found out like it was some sort of Marx Brothers gag.
As far as their love interests are concerned, each brother has a female acquaintance who the other brother falls for. This is an obvious set up for hijinx that will later result in some sticky situations, a romantic ending and even an opportunity for them to be taken hostage. The later never happens. I guess the mob figures that Tyson is good enough.
 
Anyhow, once John and Boomer have understood that they are twins, they decide that they are in this together and hatch a plan to rescue Tyson.
The brothers head to the mob’s hideout near the docks. The next twenty minutes of the film are one big fight sequence that moves form the docks and into a Mitsubishi car factory. First the showroom, then the crash test area and later the assembly line.
For a brief time Boomer is trapped in some sort of cage and John, a man who know music not fighting, must defend himself. With his wonder twin powers, Boomer throws punches and kicks that force John’s arms and legs to move. Boomer controls his brother this way. Lol He moves him like a puppet and ends up saving his life.
 
The brothers rescue Tyson and send the mob boss, Boss Wind, rocketing into a wall inside one of the crash test cars.
The film ends with the two brothers marrying their women in a twin wedding. I told you there would be romance in the end.
THE VERDICT
Much like “Double Impact“, this action film stands out from others because it features twin brothers. Unlike “Double Impact”, this film features the fast paced and often humorous fight choreography that is often found in Jackie Chan films. “Twin Dragons” also tries to build upon the supposed supernatural connection that twins are said to possess. If you hadn’t thought of it yet yourself, “Twin Dragons” has a lot like in common with Cheech & Chong’s “Corsican Brothers”. Of course in that film each brother feels the physical pain of the other and in this film the brother’s physical movements are caused by the other when they are in close quarters.
While the action in this film is pretty good, my only complaints focus on the plot and how it unfolds. I feel that too much of the film focuses on the humorous hijinx the brothers experience during their travels, which is entertaining, but this makes the story seem watered down and even vacant in parts. The mob boss doesn’t even have a clear criminal plot. They have Tyson as a hostage and that’s about it. I wish there was a plot mechanism that forced both brothers to work together to fight the mob. Instead they decide to work together because… they look alike? Maybe because they are together each time the mob assigns them to the next task, i.e. deliver a brief case, drive a getaway car, ect…
The thing that’s strange about this “separated at birth” story is that the two brothers never discover that they are brothers. Not until the very end anyhow. This whole movie they  think it’s strange that they are doppelgangers and even say that they would make good brothers.
I think some of this poor story telling has to do with the English dub. While it sounds good and doesn’t come off as odd as many dubs do. I feel like something has been lost in translation. The character names for instance are John, Boomer and Tyson, but according to IMDB the original names were Ma Yau, Die Hard and Tarzan. Weird and wild stuff.
 
In the end “Twin Dragons” isn’t the best twin related action movie. It isn’t even that great of a regular action movie as it feels more like a comedy. But it will hold your attention and might be worth checking out if you are a fan of Jackie Chan.
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!
September 30, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Double Impact

DOUBLE BLAND
All aboard! Keep all hands and feet inside the time machine at all times. This week we embark on a journey thru time to pay visit to several films that will leave you questioning your very eyeballs. In a series I’m calling “Double Vision”, we will be covering action films featuring twins. Or actors playing twins anyhow.
The year is 1991. Jerry Springer began conducting paternity tests on midget clansmen. The Terminator got a sequel. Vanilla Ice writes an award winning “Ninja Rap” and Sonic the Hedgehog began running all over the damn place. All this and Jean Claude Van Damme played vengeful brothers in “Double Impact“.
THE SKINNY
Young Chad, Jean-Claude Van Damme, has grown up the ward of his uncle Frank, Geoffery Lewis, who owns and operates a fitness club in Los Angeles. One part for aerobics and another for karate. Working in the fitness club with his uncle, in both aerobics and karate, has afforded Chad all the benefits of each. Ass whoopin’ kicks and top notch split flexibility.
 
One day, after receiving some important info from a contact in China, Frank sits Chad down and informs him that Frank isn’t his uncle at all. Frank worked as a bodyguard for Chad’s father when he was just an infant. During this time Chad’s father designed and build a tunnel that connected Hong Kong with the mainland of China. His business partner Nigel Griffith and secret underworld financier Raymond Zhang put out a hit on Chad’s parents. With them out of the way Griffith and Zhang would inherit the tunnel. Why? Don’t ask me.
Frank shows up moments too late and narrowly escapes with Chad as the hitmen fire at him. The head hitman and underling of Zhang is a man named Moon, played by Bolo Yeung. This makes the second time JVCD and Bolo Yeung squared off against one another.
But that’s not all! It turns out that Chad has a twin brother names Alex who was raised in and still lives in Hong Kong. It’s now Frank’s idea to take Chad to Hong Kong, meet Alex, lead the brothers in a war against Griffith and Zhang and take control of their birthright — the tunnel.
 
Once Frank and Chad reach Hong Kong they meet Alex who is less interested in what Frank has to say. He understand how difficult it will be to take out Zhang with all of his hired guns and crime resources.
While they are getting to know each other and forming a plan, days pass and the film turns into a combination of a “fish out of water” comedy with Chad in Hong Kong eating exotic food and what not, and an “odd couple” drama with Chad trying to win over his long lost brother. This is no easy task. Alex grew up on the streets and has resorted to less than legal business means to get by. He’s one tough cookie.
But forget all that. The brother make their presence known. First they stealthily break into one of Zhang’s cocaine manufacturing facilities and blow it sky high. Lol, it’s always cocaine isn’t it?! Then the brothers make an assassination attempt during a meeting between Griffith and Zhang at one of Zhang’s nightclubs. Alex and Chad, pretending to be the same person, bring several cased of “Cognac” to the party per Zhang’s request. But these aren’t your beverage bottles of the French tonic. They’re bombs!
Griffith and Zhang catch wind of what’s going on and escape the explosions, but not before they learn about the twins. Now knowing who was behind the drug bombing, Zhang’s forces track the twins and devise a plan to lure the brothers in so Zhang’s top enforcers can rub ‘em out. How will they do this? By kidnapping Frank and Alex’s love interest Danielle.
Alex and Chad follow to a docked cargo freighter. As Griffith gets his kicks by torturing Frank, the brothers slowly make their way to the engine room where their loved ones are being held. But before the final boss battle, each brother must defeat Zhang’s enforcers. Chad fights and electrocutes Moon, while Alex takes on Kara, Corinna “Cory” Everson, a She-Hulk muscle woman.
 
The end of the film parallels the fights with the enforcers, as the twins each separately hunt down the conspirators. Alex beats Zhang before dropping him to his death from the top of a crane. Chad manages to misdirect Griffith long enough to get the drop on him, and by that I mean Chad drops a cargo container onto him. The End.

 
THE VERDICT
Here is the part where I say whether or not “Double Impact” is a good movie or not. Well this won’t take long. It isn’t bad, but I can’t say that it’s good either. It’s a competently made film with decent special effects, fights and acting. However it isn’t the most original action movie I’ve ever seen. The same could be said about most late 80s and early 90s action movies, but bare with me.
“Double Impact” is about twin sons who grow up and avenge their parents death. Whether it’s avenging a murdered father, or mother, or brother or wife, that concept is in plenty of action movies. The question becomes “How does Double Impact take that idea and expand upon it?”. Well… there are twins…
Yeah that doesn’t do a lot for me either. More than anything it’s down right strange  watching two JCVDs walk around talking about wearing silk underwear. The film even has to stretch to explain why both brothers happen to have the same accent even though they grew up on opposite ends of the world. Alex was dropped off at a Chinese monastery run by French nuns, while Frank had sent Chad to a reform school in France. I guess if you are born in Belgium that means you’re French to the rest of the world. It amazes me how often films feel the need to explain why JVCD has an accent. Action movie fans don’t really care, and if JVCD disserves an explanation than why not Arnold? Why not Stallone?
There is one last thing I want to point out. The tunnel is the birthright of Alex and Chad. What a strange thing to fight over. I mean, I guess you could put up a toll and make yourself some money. But honestly, who gives a shit about a tunnel?
 
When all is said and done “Double Impact” isn’t bad, but it’s also rather forgettable. I would only recommend it to die-hard fans of Van Damme. Otherwise you can pass this one over.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes our ride on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Things are only going to get better… or strange from here, so 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!
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