s| (1992)
The Twin Dragons


Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 06/09/2011
Summary: Twice as good?

My wife is a major fan of Jackie Chan and I try to be a dutiful husband which is why, for example, I accompanied her to a movie theater to see "The Tuxedo" and why I rented (but didn't watch) "Shanghai Noon".

"The Twin Dragons" was a different story though. I had seen it years ago, she wasn't sure if she had or not and we were both in the mood for a Chan-driven goof fest full of physical humor and some classic use of environmental props--the huge car chop shop--in an extended but always enjoyable set of action scenes that end the movie. A set of twins that are unknown to each other is a classic set up--Shakespeare's comedies are loaded with them: Antipholus and Dromio times two in "The Comedy of Errors" (the Live from Lincoln Center juggling version with the Flying Karamazov Brothers should not be missed); Viola and Sebastian in "Twelfth Night" are the best examples.

Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark handle the interaction of the twins--the tough Hong Kong car mechanic and the refined Chinese American classical musician. As one could expect it is very uneven: mechanic Ma being forced to conduct an orchestra is dreadful but conductor Bok Min is terrific when his lunch with the delectable and marriage minded Tong Sum is taken over by Ma's adventures with gangsters on a boat. There is a bit of cringe inducing bawdy humor when Tong Sum thinks she is getting a massage but instead is treated to some headboard banging sex and a very well done short bit in which the twins are seated back to back in a restaurant that is a triumph of design and set dressing.

All of this leads to the final half hour, one of the signature extended action scenarios in 1990s Hong Kong cinema.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 04/19/2007

Two Jackie's are not better than one or at least not in "The Twin Dragons" where directors Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark refuse to take the road less traveled and repeatedly bludgeon the audience with blunders from the exhausted twins separated at birth motif.

One Jackie is an accomplished pianist in New York; the other is a headstrong mechanic in Hong Kong. Opposites attract and unknowingly cross paths where chaos quickly ensues when one is mistaken for the other.

Until the finale, staged in a Mitsubishi plant, Chan looks just plain silly going both ways.

Off screen, Chan voiced his unhappiness with the shoddy special effects.

Intended to be a benefit film for the Hong Kong Director's Guild "The Twin Dragons" features more notable filmmaker cameos than any other film that year or possibly in Hong Kong cinema history.

While that merits at least a viewing, it is unfortunately the only reason to watch "The Twin Dragons" in its entirety.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 01/28/2007
Summary: Excellent !

For one who normally tolerates Chan's at-times-sickly humour and even-ghastlier sticky-sweet romantic interludes as the price to pay for the great stuntwork and action, Twin Dragons is a welcome change. A Jackie Chan film which is consistently entertaining from start to finish.

I'm puzzled by these comments of "no action until the last 25 minutes". There's plenty of great choreographed stuntwork. Certainly far more than, for instance, the disappointing Rumble In The Bronx.

And unlike many of his other pics, the laughs don't start and finish with the action. The possibilities for comedy with identical twins, though at times overdone, are still kept cooking along all the way.

Overall : Chan's third-best film, behind City Hunter and Drunken Master II. Don't miss it !

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 12/18/2006
Summary: Spot the director

Separated at birth, twins Bok Min and Ma Yu (Jackie Chan) lead completely different lives – one is a wealthy, successful classical musician in the US, and the other a more humble, streetwise mechanic in Hong Kong. The two of them are brought together when Ma Yu visits Hong Kong for a performance. Cue lots of mistaken identity gags with the two leading ladies, Maggie Cheung and Nina Li Chi.

Intended as a charity work to build a new headquarters for the Hong Kong Directors’ Guild, TWIN DRAGONS (or Dragon Twins as it probably should have been called) is nothing more than a “quickie” film. Certainly, it doesn’t seem to tax Jackie too much except for the climactic scene in the Mitsubishi vehicle testing centre. Nevertheless, it was good of him to donate so much of his time to the project. Whereas in the past when Jackie has done “favours” for filmmakers and appeared only briefly, here he’s in virtually every scene – sometimes twice!

Much was made at the time to the groundbreaking special effects needed to create the illusion of two Jackies on screen at once, even going as far as to say they were just as good as the effects on Van Damme’s DOUBLE WHATEVERITWASCALLED – high praise indeed! In actual fact, the effects are usually quite transparent, although there are still one or two shots that stand out and leave me scratching my head.

Along with the Jackies, we have Nina Li and Maggie Cheung rounding out the cast as the two ladies who woo the lead. They look lovely, but don’t add too much to the film, as may be expected under the circumstances. There’s a dreadful musical interlude where Maggie (apparently) sings, and you may well want to reach for the fast forward button.

Being a film for the Hong Kong Directors’ Guild, there’s a plethora of cameos by Hong Kong’s finest (and Wong Jing). It can be quite entertaining trying to spot them all, but Lau Ka-Leung and the three card players (Ringo Lam, Tsui Hark and Ng See-Yuen) stand out for me.

As mentioned previously, the film is obviously a quickie, and this is reflected in every aspect – for instance, I was expecting some kind of payoff to David Chiang’s character, who presumably quit the police force after the intro scene to work in a Hotel. The action scenes are usually brief and not as “showy” as in a proper Jackie Chan production, even of this age. The one exception is the finale in the vehicle testing centre, which does throw out some good gags. One, involving wrenches on a trolley, was obviously so good it was reused with bottles on a pool table for RUMBLE IN THE BRONX. Upsettingly, there are no out-takes to be seen at the end –booo!

TWIN DRAGONS is a very minor film in Jackie Chan’s canon, but when viewed as such can be quite entertaining. I hear that even now, the Hong Kong Directors’ Guild still hasn’t got its new headquarters. Which begs the question – where did all the loot go?

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 07/08/2006
Summary: 7/10 - well worth a watch

Twin brothers Ma Yau and Bok Min are separated at birth, one becoming a famous concert pianist and the other a rough car mechanic. Like all twins, they have a telekinetic connection which means that when they are in close proximity, one's movements affect the other. When Ma Yau comes to Hong Kong to give a concert, their paths inevitably cross and mistaken identity leads to love and trouble with gangsters.

I gather that Twin Dragons was made as some sort of fund-raising effort for the Hong Kong Director's Guild, and features many HK directors in major or minor parts. The co-directing credits for Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam are curious, because the film doesn't really feel like the work of either. More of Tsui than Lam though, I'd suggest, but I think there were most likely other bums in the director's chair for much of the film.

The film is played for laughs, and the scenario yields some genuine funnies - helped by some impressive split-screen+ effects which lets Jackie share the screen with himself in some quite clever ways. His gift for physical comedy is well utilised, and although there's not a huge amount of action, but what you get is of a fairly high calibre. The film features some quite unusual elements for a Jackie Chan film - including on-screen kisses and a quite racy bubble bath scene with the buxom Nina Li.

Given the nature of the project it was never going to produce a classic film, but it's more entertaining than other directorial ensemble pieces like The Banquet, thanks mostly to Jackie's talent and charm. Well worth a watch!

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/08/2006
Summary: yeah, it's alright...

not one of jackie's greatest works, but it's still pretty entertaining stuff. more comedy than action, but it's always nice to see jackie and maggie cheung working together.

what i was particularly impressed with was the scenes when jackie appeared on screen with himself. only one of them looked a bit shit; the rest looked pretty damn good...

i also liked the brief cameos from tsui hark, a card playing car tester, and eric tsang talking about bestialty related porn on the phone.


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/27/2005

The old story of twins separated at birth, done Jackie Chan-style. After a criminal snatches one of the babies from a hospital during an escape attempt, it falls into the hands of a drunken woman, who adopts the baby as her own. He grows up to be a rough car mechanic (who can whip major ass) named Boomer, while the other, John (who grew up in affluence in America) is a conductor. When John comes to Hong Kong for a concert, the twins meet up by accident and both their lives get mixed up. It seems Boomer owes the Triad a pile of cash after losing a street race and they want him to "earn" it back by helping in a robbery. After kidnapping Boomer's best friend as insurance, the Triads mistakenly grab John (who, it seems, is quite a wuss and can't punch his way out of the proverbial paper bag). The two twins must try to assume each other's identities -- John by helping in the robbery and Boomer by conducting a symphony -- all the while trying to keep their respective girlfriends happy. As you might expect, Boomer and John eventually get back together and team up to save the day.

Twin Dragons suffers from a pretty tired plot. The "mismatched twins" thing has been done many times before, such as Van Damme's Double Impact. Chan does nothing to help matters. He's bad as both twins. His attempts to look tough as Boomer by putting his hair in a cheesy ponytail, slapping on a clip-on earring and grimacing are ridiculous. Chan is only slightly better as John, but again, he's not very convincing. I know it seems silly to knock Chan's acting abilities -- after all, who watches a Jackie Chan movie for his acting prowess? But most of his best films (such as Drunken Master II) feature Chan in the slightly goofy "everyman" character that we have all come to know and love. When Chan tries to stretch out his acting chops, it just comes across as very phony and hurts the movie as a whole. There have, of course, been exceptions (such as Crime Story, where Chan turned in a believable, serious performance as a tough cop) but in Twin Dragons it just doesn't work. I guess we should at least be happy that neither of Chan's characters are named "Jackie."

Another problem with Twin Dragons is that it centers around lame "which twin is it?" jokes and even lamer attempts at romance (a ballroom dancing fantasy sequence is so cheesy it almost made me retch) rather than action. Don't get me wrong -- what action is in Twin Dragons (including a huge brawl inside a dangerous car testing facility) is quite good. There just isn't enough of it. The movie's pace slows down to a crawl at points, and in a Jackie Chan movie, that spells death.

The old adage of "too many cooks spoling the broth" applies to Twin Dragons. When you have two different directors on the film with radically different styles it usually doesn't end up creating a cohesive work. It's readily apparent that certain sequences were done by Ringo Lam and some were done by Tsui Hark, and they don't mesh together very well. Add in Chan's own direction in the action sequences and you get a big mess at certain points in the film.

I should probably mention that once again the lovely and talented Maggie Cheung is wasted in a Jackie Chan film, this time as Boomer's girlfriend. At least she isn't as annoying as the air-headed May featured in the Police Story movies.

Twin Dragons isn't horrible, but Chan has done much better. HK film fans will probably have more fun watching out for cameos from many stars and directors (like John Woo) than the actual movie.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]


Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 07/06/2005
Summary: Pure Hong Kong Comedy

I could be wrong, but I think the reason this movie never gets much praise from Jackie fans is they go in thinking it's going to be an action film with at least one mind-blowing stunt. But it's not an action film; it's a comedy.

I really like this movie. It's fast paced throughout, except for the last fifteen minutes or so, which go into hyper drive. The fight scenes are well-choreographed and better than some I've seen in actual action films, and there's quite a few of them. Its technical side is well done; the scene where the two Jackies are talking to each other in the bathroom was timed out perfectly, it's like there really are two of him. But above all, it's funny as hell.

To me, this is quintessential Hong Kong comedy. (Where else do you find characters like Tarzan; where characters are so politically incorect as Nina Li's?) I wish there were more like it. I love Stephen Chow's films, but lately they all have a moral theme (which is okay, don't get me wrong). And I like romance comedies, too, like Needing You. But I also like movies that are pure comedy. This is pure comedy done well.

If you watch it, you won't become a better person, you won't be lifted to a higher spiritual plane, you won't suddenly understand quantum mechanics, you won't gain insight into the inner workings of the opposite sex; but you will laugh. That's enough for me.


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/13/2002
Summary: WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS BEFORE?!

Jackie Chan seemed to have gone down hill from about '92 or '93, all his movies were getting worse and worse. This one was not really his fault I suppose, but he should not have gone ahead with it.

There are enough reveiws to get the basic story, but what I want to add is that fact that why was is when Jackie met Jackie, there was not much suprise?! If you suddenly saw someone staring at you who looked identical, what would you do? Would you casually carry on with your life, would you play a trick on your girlfriend to make her think it is you when it is really your brother? HELL NO. But this is what happens. That one part alone makes this loose face.

True the action is pretty good, but lets face it, that is really all Jackie can do. I remember being disapointed in both Maggie Cheung and Nina Li too, because I usually tend to like their movies, but they were not good here at all.

I don't mean to put people down like this, or turn people off from buying some of these, but there are so many Hong Kong movies that are awful. I mean let's face it, the best work was done in the 70's and 80's, then all the good ideas had been taken. Ever since then, especially with Jackie Chan, it's been rip off after rip off after rip off of other movies.

Rating (out of 5): 2 (only because the action is good)

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 05/05/2001
Summary: Ok-ish

YEah not much action and the emphasis is more on comedy. Worth watching but some people like it and some people dont' and i..............it's ok!!

6/10

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

Jackie Chan does his own "Double Impact" thing, only better! He plays twin brothers who were separated at birth - one raised by an upper middle class family to be an accomplished concert pianist and orchestra conductor, and the other (raised by a working class mother) becomes an accomplished street fighter and works in an auto plant. The conductor can't fight or handle himself in Triad affairs, and the auto worker can't conduct a symphony orchestra, so naturally they meet up - as adults - and find themselves having to switch places and "wing it" in the other's shoes. Fortunately, they have a bit of a "psychic link" which makes each occasionally able to "experience" what the other is going through, both on a sensory and on a physical level. (When one Jackie is going through an action packed speedboat chase, the other is sitting in a restaurant, jerking around inexplicably, and feeling seasick!) Amusing situations abound, when the two brothers, each on the brink of beginning new relationships with extremely eligible young women (Maggie Cheung and Nina Li Chi), find themselves switching places so often that it becomes unclear who will end up with whom... The comedy is well played in the first part of the movie, but action scenes are what dominate the final sequences, including a final confrontation with some Triad boys in an automobile testing facility... Overall, definitely a satisfying film - but not one of the few most memorable Jackie Chan productions. (Some dangerous stuntwork with cars in this one!)


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

A pair of handsome twin boys are separated at birth. Raised indifferent environments, they grow up with very different lives: one is an internationally famous conductor, the other a garage attendant, about to take part in an illegal car race. When racing event organizers kidnap the wrong brother and force him to race, each brother assumes the other's job.

[Reviewed by Rim Films Catalog]


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

To include this as a kung fu movie is being generous. The idea is Jackie Chan plays twins separated at birth. The brothers, by chance, end up in Hong Kong, and let the misadventures start. You have to wait until the last 20-25 minutes of the film for any cool fight scenes, and then they are too short to satisfy. Some funny moments, but don't rent this one for the action.

(6.5/10)



[Reviewed by Dale Whitehouse]


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Chan plays identical twins who are separated when they are babies. One grows up to become a composer who can not fight while the other is a loser who can fight. The two cross paths which leads to a series of mix ups as the loser has become involved with a gang of criminals. A very funny movie with some good scenes in this comedy of misunderstandings.

(7/10)



[Reviewed by Dave Warner]