One of Van Damme’s best, and the first in many ‘dual roles’, Double Impact has strong martial arts scenes mixed with some old style gun action, some good performances, and a typical story which works well. With a bigger budget Van Damme was able to hire better writers, directors, and actors, and here it shows. Still, there is nothing new story-wise but it is exciting, explosive, and should definitely be seen by those even with a passing interest in the action genre.
Van Damme plays two twins separated at birth after their parents were brutally murdered by a gang-lord. Chad is raised in Paris by Frank- a friend of his parents, and his old bodyguard, and he has had a quiet, safe life where he is a fitness instructor and martial artist. His lost twin is a small time hood called Alex who lives with his girlfriend in Hong Kong. Alex has been raised alone and has had a difficult life where he has learnt to become street smart, tough, and wary of outsiders. When Chad finds out about his brother he travels to Hong Kong to find him. Alex doesn’t care, especially as Chad is so damn nice and naive, but he becomes paranoid about his Chad’s relationship with his girlfriend Danielle. They find out that the group that killed their parents is in town for a major deal, and soon prepare for revenge. However, the bad guy Griffith has an army of defenders including femme fatale Kara, Raymond Zang, and good old Bolo Yeung (whose appearance at the age of 50 is quite frankly shocking!). The brothers must confront their differences if they are to avenge their parents.
The story and characters are basic, but Van Damme does a good job in portraying the two in a different manner, and is helped by a fine supporting cast. Some of the dialogue is of course funny like most in the genre, and if you are not a fan of the genre you will probably not ever see this. However it has many good fights and strong action, and the actors are likable enough so if you are not a fan you should give it a try before any of Van Damme’s earlier movies. This was a step towards action and away from pure martial arts for Van Damme, and it was his best film so far.