When one Chan is not enough.
Minor Spoilers follow – You have been warned.
Twin Dragons is not a new film (1992), but I have just watched it through the magical medium of DVD. Twin Dragons stars Jackie Chan as twin brothers that got separated at birth – the one left with his parents moved to New York and became a world-famous concert pianist/conductor (John Ma) while the other is left in Hong Kong who grows up as a street racer and martial artist (Boomer). John Ma travels to Hong Kong in order to perform a large concert, leading to many humorous situations of mistaken identity that they eventually use to their advantage…
Jackie Chan is in fine form in the film and produces his usual excitingly ridiculous fight scenes as well as his trademark slapstick humour throughout. However, what is impressive is that the script is at times genuinely funny – particularly in moments of romance with Boomer and John Ma’s love interest, Tammy (Nina Li Chi) – despite the completely ridiculous premise of the film, something that Chan takes in his prime, providing a good comedy performance at the same time as his well-choreographed action scenes. The rest of the cast do well in their minor roles, but Jackie Chan really does steal the show.
While there is an overarching plot involving Boomer’s long-time friend – Tyson (Teddy Robin Kwan) – it is fairly confusingly paced and at times hard to follow: this is of particular importance at the start of the film, in which I had no real idea what was going on. But you do get the film eventually, and when you do, you start to enjoy its lunacy.
Twin Dragons is very much a comedy – nothing is taken seriously – and as one, it works well. Don’t expect a hilarious film that will have you splitting your sides on many different occasions; it is often quite funny, perhaps more so than you would expect – but it’s no Shaun of the Dead, or more linkable, Rush Hour.
Major props go to the cinematographers (Arthur Wong and Wong Wing-Hung) here. The film has a lot of interesting and cool camera-work throughout; it looks like it should have been made for 3D, as you get a real sense of depth in various shots during the 85 minute running time. There are also a lot of fish-eye shots throughout the film, which looked nice. The key word for the cinematography in the film is stylish, which is odd for a fairly low key comedy as Twin Dragons: but it looks nice and actually livens up the film to some extent.
Twin Dragons is stylishly shot, genuinely funny and contains many well-choreographed action scenes. However, the film’s confusing pacing (perhaps a result of the 15 minutes of cuts suffered from the transition to the west) and at times clunky special-effects are negatives worth consideration.
The film’s zany premise and feel may put off some, but any Jackie Chan fan should give it a go. While not Chan’s best, it is a fun little curio for his fans: 70/100.