Double Impact (1991) Review



Double Impact remains one of JCVD’s most entertaining films and despite some dated visual effects, it still packs a punch.

Plot: Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a dual role as Alex and Chad, twins separated at the death of their parents. Chad is raised by a family retainer in Paris, Alex becomes a petty crook in Hong Kong. Seeing a picture of Alex, Chad rejoins him and convinces him that his rival in Hong Kong is also the man who killed their parents. Alex is suspicious of Chad, especially when it comes to his girlfriend.

Review: Double Impact will always be one of my favourite JCVD movies as he is clearly having an absolute blast playing two very different brothers who reluctantly team up to take down the men who murdered their parents years earlier.

It’s directed by Sheldon Lettich who has helmed several of Van Damme’s movies (Lionheart, The Order, The Hard Corps) and knows how to get the best out of our Belgian hero.

I want to put on record that I absolutely love this flick; it was the first JCVD film I saw in theatres and it really cemented him as my all-time favourite action star. It’s the one Van Damme film that I always wanted a sequel to because Chad and Alex Wagner were such great characters.

What Van Damme manages to do is make them feel like very different people and you genuinely believe that these guys are twin brothers. The initial distrust between them feels real and the way their relationship develops is well done.

Alex is awesomely bad ass who smokes cigars, smuggles and has a hot blonde girlfriend; he’s basically JCVD as Han Solo. Chad is Mr. Black Silk Underwear and is more of a smooth-talking ladies man and is arguably the more likeable of the two. That’s what makes the dynamic such fun between them.

The fight scene between the two brothers must have taken ages to make it believable and for the most part it works well.

Although the effects are a bit dated with the 2 Van Dammes, they still pull it off; it also has some great action, in fact, the action in this movie is why I love it so much. You’ve got JCVD vs. Bolo Yeung as a nice nod to Bloodsport and there’s also the “silhouette fight” where Van Damme fights the cowboy in the darkly lit room, then proceeds to beat him to death.

The finale at the docks is action movie Heaven with the two brothers teaming up and kicking some serious ass. There are some quality bad guy deaths too with Bolo having his ass handed to him and eventually getting electrocuted.

It’s really well paced, the fight scenes are very well choreographed and the acting is generally pretty decent. You can never go wrong with an English villain like Griffith who is brilliantly smug; his comeuppance is especially satisfying as he is the man who betrayed the brother’s parents all those years ago.

I love Geoffrey Lewis as Frank Avery, the man who raises Chad and brings the brothers together; he’s a complete hero who cannot be corrupted and sticks by the brothers no matter what.

Is it cheesy? Sure, especially the song “Feel the Impact” from the end credits but that’s part of the fun.

Overall, Double Impact remains one of JCVD’s most entertaining films and despite some dated visual effects, it still packs a punch.