TALKING PICTURES is an interview series in which I talk to the people behind some of my favorite movies. From cult movie directors to character actors, from seasoned veterans to brilliant newcomers, from celebrated artists to filmmakers who haven’t received the recognition they deserve – these folks have made some great movies and have lots of fascinating stories to tell.
As part of our focus on the video game adaptations of the Nineties, I spoke to Jim Yukich, director of DOUBLE DRAGON – an adaptation of the popular beat’em up video game series. The movie came out in November 1994, one and a half years after SUPER MARIO BROS. and just a few weeks before Steven de Souza’s STREET FIGHTER movie, so it’s actually the second video game movie to be released – and just like SUPER MARIO BROS., it was a commercial and critical failure, even though the film is much better and more enjoyable than its reputation.
While DOUBLE DRAGON was Jim Yukich’s first movie, he had already established himself as a very prolific music video director. Jim shot videos for artists like Genesis, Phil Collins, Iron Maiden, David Bowie, Kenny Loggins, Foreigner, Jeff Beck, Mike & the Mechanics, Pat Benatar, REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Whitney Houston and a ton of other famous musicians. He created Michael Jackson’s „Liberian Girl“ video which featured superstar cameos by the likes of Steven Spielberg, Quincy Jones, John Travolta, Weird Al Yankovic, Richard Dreyfuss, Dan Aykroyd and many others. While Jim has made only one more movie since Double Dragon, he remains busy creating concert videos for bands like Crosby, Stills & Nash, Def Leppard and even Megadeth.
In this episode, Jim shares how the DOUBLE DRAGON movie came together. He talks about how he and producer Alan Schechter, actually a good friend of his, didn’t quite see eye to eye on the tone of the movie, whether it should be a tough dystopian action picture or a cheerful and fun adventure for kids. Jim also recalls several of the problems the production ran into, like the original director of photography, Tony Mitchell, injuring himself right at the beginning and then trying to continue working on the film from a stretcher. And he also talks about how the film turned out to be very popular on a small island in the Pacific.
For more on the video game movies of the Nineties, please check out our other interviews here on Talking Pictures, including an interview with Rocky Morton, co-director of SUPER MARIO BROS., an interview with Steven de Souza, writer/director of STREET FIGHTER, and with Kevin Droney, the writer of MORTAL KOMBAT and WING COMMANDER.
If you speak German, there’s also episode #38 of our Lichtspielplatz podcast with in-depth discussions of all these movies. The interviews and the podcast are part of a series on video game adaptations – you can find all of the relevant articles and links here.
So here’s Talking Pictures with director Jim Yukich!
Photo of Jim Yukich (C) Jim Yukich.
DOUBLE DRAGON photo: (C) Christian Genzel.
Special thanks to Dr. Wily, my Lichtspielplatz podcasting partner for audio editing. The music was created by Clark Kent.