Go ahead, internet. Take your best shot. If there was ever a video game that needed a proper film treatment, it’s not fuckin’ Halo. That shit is already cinematic. Trying to punch that kind of epic storyline into a film that will appeal to the gamer community and non-gamer community is bound to crash and burn in only the grandest manner. So let’s look to another video game series that truly needs a proper film treatment: Double Dragon.
That’s okay, I can already hear a lot of groans and moans from the various people reading this. I know, I know. We’ve already had one Double Dragon film and it was terrible. Not even in a ‘so terrible, it’s awesome’ kind of terrible. It was straight up TERRIBLE. To that point, I will agree. The 90s family oriented Super Mario Bros meets 3 Ninjas is hard to defend in almost any regard. The film lacks any kind of truly inspired action and the attempted depth of its class war plot is hardly anything worth your time. So why don’t we just remember the lessons learned here and move on with our lives. Let’s take this game and give it a proper treatment.
|No more of this, please.
The key for this reboot to work is that the initial audiences for the first Double Dragon film were the same individuals that played the game – kids. I was nine when the movie came out and my brother and I were stoked to see it. We were fans of the games and I remember renting Double Dragon II repeatedly from the local video store. So it was meant to appeal to that same audience and that’s how, in hindsight, it ended up being shit. Now those kids are adults. Take that rather simple beat n’ bash game and convert it into a film catered towards adults. Kids might not understand what Double Dragon is any more, so play it to the audience that does. It actually seems pretty legitimate if you think about it.
The core of the original Double Dragon game was damn near designed to be a martial arts/action flick. The story is simple and the action is relentless. This caters perfectly to the action film world. You can keep some undertones of political unrest or even throw in a bit of the mysticism that would show up in the game, (Fighting shadow doubles? I’ll fucking take that) but keep the film simple and focused. Take The Raid and blend it with a hint of The Purge: Anarchy. You could probably even take this film and make it ridiculously high quality for nothing in budget. Make it gritty, but keep it entertaining.
|More of this, please.
With that kind of tone and concept, one could do a lot with the Double Dragon franchise tag. Build a nice little universe for it to exist in, populate it with gimmicky (but not cartoonish) characters, and let it develop itself. If you give it to a director who knows low budget action and how it works (my choice would be Isaac Florentine, but then again I’d like him to direct every martial arts action movie for US audiences) and throw in two charming stuntmen turned actors in the lead two roles and this is born to feed into its own fan base.
Truthfully, a rebooted Double Dragon franchise only makes sense. You can make it for cheap, cater to the audience that grew up with the game, and with a streamlined script it doesn’t even have to be complicated. Look at the success that Mortal Kombat: Legacy and Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist are having online. Maybe I’m just a starry-eyed action dreamer, but give me an adult oriented action film version of Double Dragon and I’ll be there in my Sunday best.
Written By Matt Reifschneider
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