AKA: Billy & Jimmy
As seen in: Double Dragon (Arcade)
Also in: Double Dragon II: The Revenge (Arcade)
Distinguishing feature: Knee high white boots, sweet vests
Strengths: Mastered Tornado Kicks before Ryu made them fashionable, elbow punches, baseball bats.
Weaknesses: Giant guys busting through walls, fratricide, life beyond the early ‘90s, depth perception vis-a-vis pits.
Profile by Rene Decoste | January 19, 2010
Excerpts of interview with William and James Lee
From Rolling Stone magazine, April 2006:
On Double Dragon:
Billy: We were discovered after we rescued my girlfriend --
Jimmy: Our girlfriend.
Billy: -- in 1987. We didn't think anything of it. I mean in our town it was hard to find a girl who didn't have a penchant for skin tight purple spandex and a huge 'fro. I mean, it looked like Scatman Crothers hotel room in The Shining, fer chrissakes.
Jimmy: Yeah, and even if you hooked up with one of these broads, you'd get lashed for hours on end, and then their giant green boyfriends would push through your bedroom wall with their chests and try to clap your head.
Billy: It was a bad scene. So we headed out from our garage [the Lee brothers were originally mechanics -- ed.] and into the woods to look for Marian.
Jimmy: She was pretty hot, but I was surprised at the lengths these guys went to stop us. Dudes were hucking dynamite and boulders at us. One of these guys threw a switch blade into my heart!
Billy: They were wimps, though. Real poseurs. This one guy had white pants and a pink tank top. He looked like Don Johnson. I elbow punched him down an elevator shaft. Some of these other guys were dressed like '50s greasers, for some reason. I guess they really liked Grease.
Jimmy: Our other brother, Tommy, was even hanging out with these guys. He had left town years before to become a drummer, so we were surprised to see him. He wore green. Idiot. He was strung out pretty bad though. We ended up breaking his face several times with a baseball bat. Suffice to say we are off the Christmas card list. Tommy, if you are reading this, go to hell!
Billy: We eventually arrived at Willy's headquarters, which was some sort of gilded palace in the hills outside of town. We grew up there, we had no idea that there was all this weird shit in the woods. A statue with a spear stabbed me in the shoulder! We carried onwards though. Things were getting pretty grisly, though.
Jimmy: Yeah we were kicking guys into spike-lined pits. That isn't buddies. We grew up with some of these guys.
Billy: It kept escalating as well. When we finally arrived at the main chamber Willy was waiting for us with a M-16.
Jimmy: It was a little excessive, but inevitable. We were naïve. We thought we could take on some crazy street gang with a mountain fortress on and not get shot. We were lucky that all the greasers and Don Johnson look-alikes were too coked out to shoot us.
Billy: Or fight, really...
Jimmy: Willy himself was kind of a pushover though. Something must have been wrong with his gun. It only shot 3 comically oversized bullets at a time and they were maybe going at 500 yards an hour. Not really a threat. The real threat was ourselves.
Billy: Jimmy had the temerity to attack me afterwards.
Jimmy: (laughs) Who, me?
Billy: After a flurry of elbow punches he was down.
Jimmy: I only lost because of repetitive motion injury from all those elbow punches.
Billy: Marian was all mine. The story became a national sensation.
Jimmy: Technos approached us with their concept. Tradewest (our label) published, and we became instant celebrities.
On Double Dragon II:
Billy: This was sort of a fictionalized version of the events that led to our stardom.
Jimmy: Just enough so we wouldn't get sued.
Billy: Marian didn't want to be involved so she was written out...
Jimmy: Yeah, she was "killed!"
Billy: Things were getting a Hollywood makeover. There were helicopters, off shore oil rigs and underwater bases. Fat guys with magic masks. These are high ticket items for a street gang who doesn't use guns. We had to step it up a notch as well. We were used to just brawling. Our style of Sosetsuken was pretty lousy, honestly. As action stars we had to live up to the hype.
Jimmy: The problem was my repetitive motion elbow punch injury. It was our signature move, and I couldn't do it without excruciating pain or a ton of oxycontyn.
Billy: I could still do it, but I didn't want to upstage my brother now that we had reconciled. We devised a fighting system where you so a punch kick combo always in front and to make up for elbow punch a reverse kick behind. 1-2-3-4!
Jimmy: It was sexy and marketable. We sold it as an exercise system in the '90s on VHS. We beat Blanks to the punch there.
Billy: We also perfected the cyclone kick in this period. And our pompadours got huge!
Billy: We were having a blast! Women, money, booze, drugs, double a batteries, women. You name it.
Jimmy: But things were a little out of control. We went to this party at M.C. Hammers house. Billy got in an argument with Brett Micheals.
Billy: I thought it was Shawn Michaels? Or was it Bret Hart?
Jimmy: Anyway... it got heated and he hurricane kicked him through a solid gold karaoke machine!
Billy: We were rich! We could do anything we wanted man. I snorted ritalin off of a T-Rex skull! With the singer from T-Rex!
Jimmy: Everybody loved us. Marian was out of the picture, but there were plenty of others. We put Wilt Chamberlain to shame. It was nice not having to be "brothers" with your brother, if you know what I mean.
On Double Dragon 3:
Jimmy: This one was expensive and exhausting.
Billy: We were going all over the world this time. The Great Wall, a ninja village, the Coliseum, the great pyramid of Khufu. Do you know how hard it is to get permits in some of these places? We paid the commies a ton of bribes.
Jimmy: We had an artistic vision though, this was to be our masterpiece. We were surrounded by yes men. None defied us. We were the Lees!
Billy: We didn't know what the hell we were doing though. We introduced a bunch of gimmicky new characters, ninjas and kung-fu masters. We were fighting an ancient Egyptian evil. A mummy! Embarrassing really. Part 3 was called The Rosetta Stone. We didn't even know what that was. It just sounded cool.
Jimmy: Some of our old cast was sick of us too. Abobo wouldn't return our calls. He went on to invent Photoshop or something. We had to fill his place with some sort of third-rate Swartzenegger wannabe.
On Battletoads & Double Dragon:
Jimmy: I want to apologize to all of our fans for this one.
Billy: We were just in it for the money, but we kinda got screwed over by Rare. Technos had nothing to do with this, and Rare was sort of the equivalent of Cannon Films.
Jimmy: It was supposed to be Double Dragon & Battletoads, because, seriously, who the f*** are the Battletoads? I remember at the wrap party Michaelangelo and Raphael crashed it. Raphael asks me: "Who the f*** are these a******?". We didn't really know either. He seemed to think that we would go down with them. He was right.
Billy: It seemed like a good idea at the time. I thought these guys (Rare) were on the level. They spent a lot of money getting Abobo back on board. But everything was focused on the Battletoads style. It was terrible.
Jimmy: It was the equivalent of Burt Ward fighting Bruce Lee and it ending up in a "draw." I don't care how big Pimple's hands and feet get; I can totally stomp his ass.
On the decline to obscurity:
Billy: After BT & DD we were struggling for work. And the work we did was very derivative. The writing was on the wall. You used to see the Lee boys everywhere. But in the '90s, I remember going to an arcade and seeing posters of some Ken Masters jerk or Johnny Cage. Who were these guys?
Jimmy: Tournament fighting was big, but Double Dragon V and Double Dragon Neo Geo were embarrassments. We still thought we were a big deal and could hang with the big boys.
Billy: We couldn't. Robert Patrick saw to that.
On the present:
Billy: Things are pretty good nowadays though. I am working as a martial arts instructor in Idaho. I own an acreage. It's a quiet life. I raise daschunds.
Jimmy: You can see me next month as "Mr Bumble" in a production of Oliver! at Jubilations Dinner Theater in Saskatoon. Tickets are on sale now!