Double Impact [1991]

Jean-Claude Van Damme gets a kick out of himself in this clever if barely competent action thriller, in which the likable Muscles from Brussels plays twin brothers separated at birth by a murderous Hong Kong crime syndicate. While the genial Chad lives the posh life as a California aerobics instructor, his sibling Alex chews fat cigars back in China, running a mahjong parlor and making some extra bucks as a smuggler. A quarter-century after being sent to different corners of the globe, they reunite and decide to seek vengeance against the cartel that killed their parents. From there the story and action set pieces are fairly predictable, but that hardly matters since the film's real appeal is in the amusing way the two Van Dammes deal with sibling rivalry, especially where women are concerned. Van Damme, seeking his box-office breakthrough at the time, might have received more of a commercial boost had this movie simply been directed with greater professionalism. The lighting, editing, and shot selection are often ridiculously below the standard of low-budget features. But Double Impact does have its compensations, especially in the casting of leather-clad Cory Everson and exemplary villain Bolo Yeung as a pair of killers who cross the twins' path. --Tom Keogh

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