Before Better Call Saul, Peter Gould Co-Wrote This Video Game Adaptation Flop

It's likely that Peter Gould will be a name remembered throughout television history. After all, he helped write some of the best episodes of "Breaking Bad," including a small episode that introduced a certain strip-mall lawyer with connections to the drug trade. When that series exploded in popularity and acclaim, he was promoted to co-showrunner of its spinoff, "Better Call Saul," working on the series until its recent, heart-wrenching finale. With these two shows under his belt, it's safe to say that he's already cemented his legacy.

Of course, he didn't start his writing career off on such a high note, as he had to work his way up to the status he's achieved now. As a young man pursuing an MFA at the University of Southern California, he primarily directed commercials until his big break in Hollywood came in the form of a film adaptation of a popular arcade beat-em-up named "Double Dragon." While it sounded like a big deal back in the early 90s, Gould's first screenwriting credit is considered to be one of the many examples of a bad, unfaithful video game movie that disappointed fans at the time, but might be garnering a new audience over the years.

A conveyor belt of writers

It's important to note that Gould is not the only person responsible for putting the story of "Double Dragon" on the big screen. Concert and music video director James Yukich made his feature debut with the film, and the original script was written by none other than Paul Dini, a figurehead in the DC Animated Universe. If it had stopped there, the script could have been very interesting, but it didn't.

According to a retrospective published by Game Informer in 2019, the original Dini script was then brought over to Gould and Michael Davis, who would go on to write and direct 2007's "Shoot 'Em Up." After the edits made by Gould and Davis, the script finally received the final pass-through by comedian Mark Brazil for punch-ups. Brazil would later go on to co-create "That 70s Show" alongside Bonnie and Terry Turner.

"All three writing teams were excellent," Yukich told Game Informer during the interview. "It's hard to believe how it came out."

And what came out were lines like "look who's talking, 'Ug' Lee," and "ah, Huey! Lewis! Any news?" Those are perhaps some of the least cringy lines in the entire movie, which is saying a lot! There were various different visions for what the movie could be, all crammed into one 95-minute movie.

"You have to have one unified direction, or it's not going to make sense," Yukich told Game Informer, "and we didn't really have one unified direction."

This is the legend of the Double Dragon

So, what is the movie actually about? In the decrepit future of 2007, brothers Billy (Scott Wolf) and Jimmy (Mark Dacascos) find out that their adoptive mother, Satori (Julia Nickson), has been keeping half of a powerful medallion called the Double Dragon, entrusting it to the care of the brothers. Unfortunately, a powerful businessman named Victor Guisman (Robert Patrick), who wants to be called Koga Shuko, is on the hunt for it in order to conquer the earthquake-destroyed city of New Angeles. Along with their friend Marian (Alyssa Milano), Billy and Jimmy must protect their half of the Double Dragon medallion, becoming legendary kung-fu fighters in the process.

However, there is a bit of a goofy charm to it that, even with its worst lines, can't be overlooked. The ridiculous fights, surprisingly funny villain (a white guy whose big joke is his obsession with Japanese culture, akin to many modern-day weeaboos), and overall earnestness in its production are hard to ignore, even if it isn't exactly the most faithful to the already-established "Double Dragon" lore.

Why Peter Gould should acknowledge its existence

Gould hasn't publicly discussed his experiences while co-writing/editing "Double Dragon," and it's probably understandable — after all, the movie was critically lambasted and grossed only around $2 million domestically (via Box Office Mojo), which is still really bad for a mainstream action movie in the early 1990s. Given his success on television, it's no wonder he hasn't spoken about it. Maybe he has become like Yukich, who told Game Informer that he has rarely thought about or remembered the movie.

However, it would arguably be really fun to hear him talk about his experience co-writing the movie. Besides, it was his first ever mainstream project, and it was one that had plenty of issues during its development. It could be nice to hear him discuss what it was like working on "Double Dragon" and what he learned that he applied to "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul." At least, I think it would be fun.