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Two Jackie Chans, half the fun and only 89% of the film
on 21 November 2007
What do you get when you take two of the best action directors in Hong Kong near the peak of their powers - Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam - add two Jackie Chans and throw in his Police Story co-star Maggie Cheung? A load of rubbish, unfortunately. Made as a fundraiser for the Hong Kong Directors' Guild, Twin Dragons was painful enough in its original 100-minute version, but rescored, redubbed and shorn of 15 minutes by scissor-happy Miramax offshoot Dimension Pictures it's gone from being a vaguely comprehensible bad picture to an almost completely incomprehensible even worse one.
It's the usual Corsican Brothers/mistaken identity plot (separated at birth, one twin grows up to be a streetwise hustler with an irritating sinus problem, the other an acclaimed conductor and concert pianist until - well, you know the rest), but thanks to perfunctory writing and tired unimaginative staging it's a bit of a chore to watch. Despite some good opening stunts it's mostly a rather inept comedy with a leaning towards bedroom farce, not helped by some variable special effects - at one point Chan walks through his brother's arm in a muffed process shot that really should have stayed on the cutting room floor but which typifies the "It'll do" spirit of the enterprise. As for the truly irritating vertically challenged sidekick - Randy Newman's Short People could have been written with him in mind.
There is one good (not great, just good) fight scene in and around various cars in a test laboratory, as well as a neat cameo by the two directors as cheating card players (John Woo also turns up in one shot as a priest), but it's definitely not enough for any but the Chan completists. As with all of Buena Vista's back-catalog of dubbed and re-edited HK releases there are no extras (though Chan does dub himself in the English-language version, whereas in the Hong Kong cut he's dubbed into Cantonese by another actor), but after seeing this, the only extra you'd be interested in is an apology. Of course, as you would expect with a turkey, the 2.35:1 transfer and sound are both very good.