Sunday, April 14, 2013

Biehn Scene: American Dragons aka Double Edge aka A Tale Of Two Michaels

A buddy alerted me that MGM has their own channel and yesterday programmed a doozy of a daytime double feature with American Dragons and American Ninja IV:  The Annihilation. AD stars Michael Biehn while AN has Michael Dudikoff.  You SHOULD know Biehn's work from The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Navy Seals, Tombstone, The Rock, Grindhouse:  Planet Terror and many more but I'm here to talk about those lesser known titles, the VHS tapes I packed into my luggage when I moved out west.

American Dragons, titled Double Edge on my VHS copy, is a great direct to video action/crime thriller from the 90's.  Remember those?  Genre flicks of varied quality made on a budget in Los Angeles, Canada or Europe starring familiar (or familiar to genre fans) faces who had their moment but never quite broke through?  Sure you do.  Trimark, Live Entertainment, Imperial, Dimension, New World... No?  Starring the likes of Eric Roberts, Lorenzo Lamas, Lance Henriksen, Shannon Tweed and Joan Severance?  Still no?  Find yourself another online diary!

(Ahem, in gravelly narrator voice) A maniacal renegade enforcer and a shadowy, cold-blooded assassin have teamed up to start a gang war between the mafia and Yakuza in a bid to take control.  It's up to mismatched partners Detective Tony Luca (Biehn) and Seoul Police Department Inspector Kim (Joong-Hoon Park) to stop them!  East meets West in a furious flurry of bullets and blades, fists and fights, racism (all Asians are Bruce Lee, right?), stereotypes (greasy/douchy Italians alert!), bonding through booze and karaoke, pizza, ramen and slow-motion work out montages!  Get ready to feel the Double Edge!  Or, here comes the American Dragons!

Like I said, AD is a great piece of 90's DTV filmmaking.  TV director Ralph Hemecker acquits himself nicely in one of his few feature credits.  It's well made (in Canada) with great production values, exciting action (gun fights, fisticuffs), pulsing music and a solid cast.   Joining Biehn and Park are Don Stark (That 70's Show) as traitorous evil mob henchman Rocco, Byron Mann (Ryu in Van Damme's 1993 Street Fighter movie) as hyper efficient, knife and sword wielding assassin Shadow and Tsang Shung himself, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as a Yakuza boss.

The Biehn showcases a bit of his sensitive action hero side as well as being kind of a dick.  In a funny, "prove me wrong" kind of way.  Definitely one of my favorite performances from him in an utterly enjoyable and re-watchable flick.

Check out the horrible-great video trailer:

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