Van Damme was probably the biggest star of the Deadly 3 on my list. He got to play with some pretty hefty budgets in the mid-90s, with the likes of Timecop, Sudden Death and Street Fighter (let's forget about that one!). But the two movies I have chosen showcase the two different types of action movie that Van Damme specialized in at the early parts of his career - the martial arts contest movie and the gun-toting action movie (with a bit of martial arts thrown in). Just watching them again has got my childhood memories racing back to me... Once I managed to stop laughing so hard!
"Aren't you a little old to be playing videogames?"
Tagline: The true story of an American Ninja
Plot: American (with a Belgian accent) goes AWOL from the Army and travels to Hong Kong, to compete in the Kumite - a secret underground martial arts contest where fighters from all countries with all styles duke it out to be the ultimate warrior. American wishes to honor his Japanese father (!!!) and become the 1st Westerner to reign supreme!
Of all of Van Damme's martial arts contest movies, this really takes the biscuit. Sure, Kickboxer has the infamous Glass-and-Nails glove fight, but this is way more fun that that! And here we see the physical skills and abilities of Van Damme in full force... All of which promised that some fabulous movies were about to head our way!
END CREDITS POWER BALLAD: Fight to Survive (Stan Bush)
Double Impact (1991)
"Maybe I'm drunk - tomorrow I'll be sober... BUT YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A FAGGOT!"
Tagline: One packs a punch... One packs a piece... Together they deliver!
Plot: Separated at birth after the death of their British parents, one grows up in LA (with a Belgian accent) while the other grows up in Hong Kong (with a Belgian accent). They meet, fight, fall out and then join up to take down the awful Triad gangsters and corporate traitors to avenge their folks & get back their tunnel-building legacy!
Anyway, back to the action - and time to talk about the Big Bads. In Double Impact we have villains coming out of our ears here. We have our main baddies in Griffith the treacherous financier that took out the hit on our heroes' beloved parents and Zhang the Triad mobster who buys bootleg cognac off Alex and carries a blade in his walking stick (that old chestnut!). Philip Chan makes a welcome return after a bit part in Bloodsport here, but he isn't the only one to return from the previous film... Yep, Bolo Yeung is back baby! Here he has a beautiful scar and a single blue eye contact to really Bond-villain him up, and if anything he has gotten even bigger! There is a fabulous dust-up between Bolo (or Moon, as he is so lamely called here) and Chad - mostly featuring Bolo trying to crush Chad with an oil drum and Chad returning the favour with some non-stop roundhouse kicks! Then there is the guy who only knows how to do a roundhouse kick - but he always wears spurs, making his heels true instruments of death!
But the real baddie highlight for me was Cory Everson as Kara, Griffith's muscular lesbian bodyguard. In truth I have never had a thing for muscle women but Cory could have smacked me down any day! Dressed in tight bondage leather and sporting dark red hair, this villainous bitch has the nerve to touch up our hero's girl and then offer her body to her in return! I was so jealous when I was 13! And don't get me started on the bit where she wraps her legs around Van Damme's head in a choke hold - that would be a real way to die like a man!
Double Impact was a significant success for Van Damme (he is even credited as co-screenwriter!) and his budgets only got bigger throughout the 90s. But I never forgot this movie and it remained a repeat performer on our TV for many years afterwards!
END CREDITS POWER BALLAD: Feel the Impact (Gen)