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IN SHORT: The Silliest Jackie Chan flick ever. Boykids'll go bananas.
Cranky didn't get to a theater until Saturday night, but what was posted on the message boards pretty much sums up what I've said and think (based on previous reviews of Jackie Chan action flicks). So Thanks to Robert P, wherever he is...
Chan's earlier efforts have all averaged the pay per view $4 level, though Robert's guess is a buck too high 'cuz the English dubbing in Twin Dragons is hideous. It will bother the adults but won't distract the boy kidlets aged 3 to 11 -- I checked when we were waiting on line in the bathroom afterwards -- who were shrieking with glee. A 7-year old down the row from me was actually bouncing up and down in his chair. The boys all went "eww" at the kissing scenes, too. Ah, youth...
Here's the deal: Chan plays double roles as Hong Kong born twins separated at birth when a gangster grabs one of 'em out of a hospital as a hostage. Boomer (Chan #1), raised by the lady that found him, grows up in Hong Kong. He works on cars for his racer wannabe buddy Tyson (Teddy Robin), though that part of the background is relatively unclear. The brother he doesn't know, John Ma (Chan #2) is raised in New York and turns out to be a musical prodigy. Boomer wonders why his hands wobble in the air uncontrollably. John Ma wonders why he sneezes at random. This psychic (sic) link between twins will play a major role as the story plays out.
Tyson, whose comic relief serves mainly to hurt whichever Chan he is with at the time, has the hots for a lounge singer named Barbara (Maggie Cheung). Boomer's defense of his buddy means a trademark Chan fighting sequence. It also will put this pair $400,000 in debt to the mob boss. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Hong Kong, John Ma has arrived to conduct a concert. His duplex hotel room is dressed to the nines, as befits the visiting celebrity, and it also comes with the lovely Tammy (Nina Li Chi) whose father is seeking a good marriage, whose boyfriend is a leather clad fool and whose body is partial to incredibly short, tight miniskirts. Fine by me.
Not only do the brothers swap jobs, they swap girlfriends as well. Tammy even gets a simultaneous bubble bath with both men as Twin Dragons races towards a frenetically frenzied, and incredibly silly, peak. Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam get directing credit, but the press notes drop the tantalizing thought that each action sequence had a different director (the film was made as a fund raising effort by the Hong Kong Director's Guild), including John Woo. Cranky can't tell which is which, but there are at least half a dozen good oohs and aahs in the final battle sequence that Robert mentioned.
Twin Dragons is definitely for the VCR, though if you've got youngsters of the aforementioned demographics they're going to love it. Yeah, I know, they loved Baby Geniuses, too (shudder). Twin Dragons is much more tolerable for us dad aged gents. As far as kidlet quality goes, the bad guy gets it at the end and the death is not explicit. There is some suggested nudity (Tammy's bare back) at least one Chan has time for a quick one and a cigarette afterwards. The suggestion of sex went right over the kidlets heads (remember that "eww"?). The fight sequences are just about everything you'd want to see from Jackie and the film adds boat chases, car crashes and explosions galore. When the two Chans come face to face, let's just say that some of the sequences are remarkable. They do not fight side by side but they do fight together, which is something you'll have to see to understand.
A couple of things to note, though. Jackie Chan has got a set system of rules for what he will and will not do in a movie -- you will never see him as a bad guy, for instance. The fact that Boomer smokes surprised me. And the credits rolled over a black screen, another surprise. It's a given of all Chan flicks that the credits roll over the film's outtakes -- a stronger "do not try this at home" warning you can't make, 'cuz Chan usually gets banged up pretty bad.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Twin Dragons, he would have paid...
The dub truly is hideous. That's probably the reason the studio didn't want to show it, though the rest of the flick is so silly it almost covers.
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