As countless Hollywood productions would have us know, the world of law enforcement is a dangerous one: but not just physically, though of course the risk of getting knocked off by a criminal in some spectacular shoot-out is a staple of action thrillers. It's also a morally dangerous world, in which the line between the "good guys" and the "bad guys" can be downright fuzzy. Double Bang is set firmly in the gray area, where personal loyalties can conflict with going "by the book." As the film opens, an honest cop (William Baldwin) is drawn into dealings with the darkest of drug-dealing, murderous criminals when his ex-partner (Adam Baldwin) turns up dead.
Double Bang is an interesting little film, one that in a way has more heart than head. On the surface, it's a police drama with a convoluted plot of double-twists, clever escapades, and a touch of action. At its core, though, it strives to examine the nature of corruption and temptation. The figure of the cop, exemplified in William Baldwin's character, is shown as a man caught in a situation where he can't help but "become dirty." The scriptwriter has taken on a serious assignment here, and admittedly it doesn't quite come through. The ideas that are presented are worth considering, but they're presented in some very staged scenes, in which the characters essentially deliver monologues to each other in place of having real dialogue.
In short, Double Bang is a bit overly pretentious. But then again, this element of taking itself so seriously is the one thing that differentiates the film from the run-of-the-mill police thriller, because in the plot department, Double Bang does fall rather short. The plot exhibits some serious holes, which threaten to unravel the entire storyline if they're considered too closely. It looks to me like writer/director Heywood Gould was stymied by the choice between making a plot-focused intrigue or a character-focused examination of morality, and didn't bring the two things all the way together.
Probably the main attraction of Double Bang is William Baldwin, who, while he doesn't have the list of film credits of his brother Alex, does a respectable job, delivering his lines with a conviction that goes a long way toward redeeming the weaknesses of the script. It's not great art, but Baldwin makes it entertaining to watch.
Artisan has turned in a respectable transfer of a minor title with Double Bang. It's presented in anamorphic widescreen at the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. In general, the image is quite satisfactory, with accurate-looking, if not particularly bright, colors as well as generally good contrast. The main fault of the print is that it exhibits a fair amount of graininess throughout the entire film. As a whole, Double Bang weighs in at slightly above average in the video category.
Double Bang's Dolby 5.1 soundtrack gets the job done, but without much fanfare. The sound is clean and clear, but it's also lacking depth; the film doesn't really make any use of the surround capability of the soundtrack. It's not bad, but for a film with action elements, it's fairly nondescript.
The one special feature on the disc is a set of filmographies for the cast and director.
Double Bang doesn't entirely hang together, but the thoughtful consideration of the pressures of corruption on an honest cop does add a certain element of interest to the film overall. Unless you're a particular fan of police thrillers, Double Bang is probably not a movie to buy, but it makes a satisfying rental for an evening's light entertainment.