Double Dragon (1993– )
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"Double Dragon" was a good show. I used to watch it Sunday mornings on UPN a few years ago. I liked the animation, music, and plot. I also liked the "Double Dragon" video games.
"Double Dragon" told the story of twin brothers who are separated. Billy Lee, raised by the Oldest Dragon at the Dragon Dojo, is the Dragon Master. Jimmy Lee, however was raised to be evil by the Shadow Master at the Shadow Dojo and he becomes the Shadow Boss. Now the two brothers have to fight each other! Now this is a good plot!
My favorite episodes of "Double Dragon" are: "The Return of the Shadowmonster", "Superhighway Warriors", and "The Eye of the Dragon".
Overall I really liked this show. The only thing that disappointed me on this show was there wasn't much use of martial arts. I give this show 8/10 stars.
The pilot episode is loosely based on the NES version of the first Double Dragon (noticed the word loosely). Billy Lee is a martial artist who was raised by a wise old master. As a result, the old master advices Billy that he must leave (actually he dies, but they can't use that word in a Saturday Morning Cartoon), so Billy must take the Dragon Sword and protect Metro City (Ed's Note: W.A.M! I though this was based on Double Dragon, not Final Fight) from a group called the Shadow Warriors.
I don't remember much after that, except that Billy gets reunited with his long-lost twin brother, Jimmy. It seems that everythings that happens to Billy, also happens to Jimmy (this includes stains on clothes). However, Jimmy and Billy's female cop girlfirend, Marian, are kidnapped by the Shadow Warriors and Billy managed to beat the Shadow Bosses' two henchmen: Abobo and Willy and confronts the Shadow Boss, who at the end turns out to be Jimmy (surprise, surprise).
In the series, we learn that Jimmy is actually a pawn of a guy called the Shadow Master (who looks nothing like his NES counterpart). The Shadow Master kills off Abobo and Willy and replaced them with more incompetent bad guys (none which were actually featured in the videogames). Jimmy is betrayed by the Shadow Master, so he becomes a good guy, teams up with Billy and unleash the power the Dragon Sword together, which splits in two. Then they wear ridiculous looking costumes.
This is one of the worst adaptation a video game could have. The animation was bad, the music was cheesy and the writers has obviously never touched a Double Dragon game in their life. Billy and Jimmy wore ridiculous looking costumes and they didn't even use their martial arts. Instead, they fought with magical swords instead. I thought Double Dragon was about martial arts. None of the supporting characters or villains were actually from the video game and the ones that were bore no resemblance with their videogame counterparts.
The anti-drugs messages and voices are the only good part about this show. Jim Byrnes makes a wonderful villain with his deep voice. He could had used that talent as a Highlander villain instead of playing goody two-shoes Watcher, Joe Dawson (or maybe he could have a double role as well). Michael Donovan and Scott McNeil were not bad either.
It's too bad that Tradewest destroyed the franchise with this crap.
There's really not a whole lot I can say. It's true that this cartoon probably isn't going to be for everyone since it does take plenty of liberties which may or may not be agreeable; but a lot of adaptations of works do, it's that fine line of being different and the same at the same time to stand on it's own.
The animation is solid, it's not the greatest animation I've ever saw but it's good enough in my book. Background animation is solid but I like the character animation the most, each of the characters are designed memorably.
The story is solid, I like that they kept the simplistic plot from the game, however they added some things making the show a bit of a pulp fantasy; kinda like the movie "Big Trouble in Little China" which I personally didn't mind since I like that movie. I even like how there was some sense of plot development in some places, though sadly this doesn't completely pay off; most cartoons weren't taken seriously back then what are you going to do.
The action is solid/decent, the martial arts chirography is good and I like the use of the vehicles, weapons and super powers. The theme song is decent, enjoyable to listen to despite some of the lyrics coming off kinda chessy.
I do like how the characters are handled. Supporting characters and villains are solid and seem to each have distinctive specialties and personas which make them colorful though not entirely memorable. One supporting character I like is Marian whom was the damsel in distress in the video game, I really like how they made her a strong female character that is actually useful in some points; kinda like how she was handled in the "Neo Geo" one on one fighting video game where she became one of the fighting characters. The only disappointment is that she never really becomes a permanent part of the team which isn't fair, let alone disappeared as the show went further, so that to me is a weak point of the show.
But I like how the brothers are handled both have a solid back and forth like in any buddy cop film. Billy whom is the serious level headed one. But my favorite character in the show is Jimmy whom is the not so serious one. What's interesting about his character was the fact that throughout most of his life he's been fighting for the wrong team, and throughout the show he's on a road to redemption. I like those kinds of characters/protagonists because I feel it's a good message showing it's never too late you can repent for sin but that it's still possible to be a good person.
The only problems I have including the one I mentioned earlier are, I didn't care about the masks the Dragons wore, they weren't necessary; let alone really didn't make a difference since everyone knows who they were. Also I do think they use their superpowers a bit too much, instead of martial arts skills which I felt was kinda cheating but then again same could be said for a lot of other super hero properties out their, so I can't hold it totally against the series.
Overall, I thought this was a solid adaptation which I'll admit might not be for everyone, but still like any good video game it's worth a try.
Rating: 3 stars