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(1992/1999) (Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung) (PG-13)

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Action/Adventure: Twin brothers -- one a world famous maestro, the other a streetwise martial arts master -- meet for the first time when a case of mistaken identity causes both to deal with the Hong Kong mob.
Separated at birth, John Ma (JACKIE CHAN) and Boomer (JACKIE CHAN) are identical twins who've never met. While John Ma is a world famous maestro and pianist, Boomer is a Hong Kong mechanic and martial arts master.

When Boomer steps in to help his diminutive, but bigmouthed friend, Tyson (TEDDY ROBIN), defend Barbara (MAGGIE CHEUNG), a new club performer from some local gangsters, he suddenly finds himself in hot water. After losing a racing bet with the gang's local leader, Boomer and Tyson try to head for mainland China.

That's when they run into John Ma who's arrived in Hong Kong for a performance. Accompanied by Tammy (NINA LI CHI), an attractive young nurse forced into his company by her father, John Ma sets out for the concert hall but accidently meets his long lost brother. The two initially don't tell anyone about the other, setting up some mistaken identity moments when Barbara and Tammy think the brother they're with is the other.

Things get more complicated when the local mob also confuses the two, leading to the passive John Ma having to drive their getaway car while the hapless Boomer is left to compose a full orchestra. As the mob nabs Tyson, Boomer and John Ma join forces to battle them and save Boomer's friend.

If they're fans of Chan or any other sort of martial arts film, they probably will.
For some shootings, nonstop martial arts violence, and sensuality.
  • JACKIE CHAN plays both a passive, but world famous maestro and pianist, as well as a streetwise martial arts master who fights off many villains and smokes.
  • TEDDY ROBIN plays Boomer's diminutive, but bigmouthed friend who gets them into trouble with the local mob.
  • MAGGIE CHEUNG plays a nightclub singer who falls for Boomer.
  • NINA LI CHI plays a young nurse who ends up sleeping with Boomer thinking he's really John Ma.


    OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
    Although the incomparable Asian martial arts actor Jackie Chan has been a star throughout most of the world for decades, it wasn't until the success of last year's surprise hit, "Rush Hour," that Chan became big stateside. Obviously hoping to capitalize on that, Dimension films has unearthed one of his older films -- from 1992 to be precise -- and has given it the once-over polish to deliver to unsuspecting audiences who will believe it to be a new picture.

    While the rerelease of his older films often means for some fun on the big screen -- considering that he's younger and more agile in them and hadn't had the cumulative effect of so many bumps, bruises and broken bones from doing his own stunts -- those who first set eyes on Chan in the highly polished, big budget "Rush Hour" will surely be disappointed not only in this film's technical quality, but also in the movie overall.

    Like most of Chan's other older films, this one's filled with plenty of amazing fight scenes, but also laughably bad English dubbing, mediocre acting at best, and a throwaway script designed only as a sparse skeleton upon which to hang the elaborate fights and stunts. It's that latter element, however, that really kills this film.

    Playing off the ages-old notion of twin-related mistaken identity that stems back to the days of Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni's comedy, "The Venetian Twins," and continues up to modern film's such as "The Man in the Iron Mask," "The Parent Trap," and 1991's "Double Impact" with John-Claude Van Damme (that more than closely resembles the plot here), the film has potential, and the thought of Chan appearing as two characters should presumably mean twice the fun, right?

    Unfortunately, we only really get one truly standard Jackie Chan character (of the butt-kicking variety). In addition, and despite the proven comedic mistaken identity formula, its execution here is as poorly done as the dubbed English. Instead of feeling natural, clever or inventive, most of the related material feels artificial and forced and consequently is anything but funny.

    For instance, in what could have been a hilarious scene where the twins feel and react to the other's movements as one tries to conduct an orchestra for the first time while the other experiences driving through a gun battle also for the first time, the end result is maddeningly inane instead of gut-wrenching funny. The same holds true for a boat chase/dinner in a restaurant scene and another where Chan's twin characters flip and flop their way through trying to cover for the other in a filled bubble bath sequence.

    While the potential is there and the results could have been great, especially if they'd been coupled with Chan's amazing dexterity and gymnastic abilities, it just doesn't happen. Worse yet, the film's dual directors (Tsui Hark & Ringo Lam) and four screenwriters (Barry Wong, Tsui Hark, Cheung Tung Jo & Wong Yik) spend so much time trying to make the mistaken identity plot work, that the film is shortchanged of the reason everyone will come to see it, and that's to watch and behold the wondrous Chan do his stuff.

    By that we mean his climbing up walls, leaping great distances and doing things with his body that just don't seem humanly possible. While this film finally gets around to just a hint of that in the climactic fight scene, most of the material is simply standard-issue hand to hand (and foot to foot) combat material.

    Although that's still fun to watch, it's not of that jaw-dropping variety found in Chan's other films. What's really missing, however, is Chan's unique use of ordinary props to do his fighting (such as the incredibly fluid use of a step ladder to ward off attackers in "First Strike") that have become his signature trademark.

    The film is also hurt by its low-budget feel and look (especially when compared to "Rush Hour"). Beyond the obligatory bad dubbing, guide wires used to move people or objects (which are supposed to be invisible and are removed nowadays with the aide of computers) are more than readily visible.

    The effect of having Chan's two characters in the same scene is also quite bad, with the one that occurs in a restroom being rather distracting. Although the film is seven years old, the effect should have been more seamless (although a skimpy budget probably curtailed that), but instead looks incredibly bad with one character all too obviously being superimposed into another shot (with flickering, jagged edging around him).

    There's also the standard one-dimensional villains and their goal that doesn't ever really make sense (it usually doesn't need to since we're distracted by all of the wild stunts), a sidekick who's far more annoying than funny, and more than enough inane material (such as nearly everyone stupidly fainting upon the sight of the twins together or having Boomer continually snort so that we can more easily identify him from his brother) to make you want to get up and leave before the end credits.

    That's usually a bad move when watching one of Chan's films, since they're often filled with a bevy of out-takes at the end that are occasionally more fun to watch than the film itself (since they show the near calamitous accidents and flubs that occurred during the production). Unfortunately, and to add insult to injury, this film is out-take impaired and by the time the final fight is over, you'll be more than motivated to beat the traffic out to the parking lot.

    I'm a big fan of Chan's films and despite their inherent goofiness, weak acting and threadbare plots, I've always found them to be a blast to watch. That's not so with this one that is easily the least enjoyable of all his films that I've seen.

    With a comedy plot that simply doesn't work and two many gaps between the physical material that when present easily pales in comparison to what's appeared in Chan's other films, this one comes off as nothing less than lackluster -- an adjective you probably never imagined you'd hear describing Chan or one of his films. Alas, it's true, and as such, we give "Twin Dragons" just a 2 out of 10.

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG-13 rated action flick. Like most Jackie Chan films, this one is filled with all sorts of martial arts fighting scenes where people are hit by many punches and kicks and the villains have guns (and other weapons) that they use to shoot at the protagonists or actually shoot and wound other miscellaneous characters.

    One of Chan's characters has sex with a woman off-camera, some very brief partial nudity is seen and some sexually related comments are made. Profanity is mild with at least 4 "s" words as well as other words and phrases being uttered. Some smoking occurs as does some drinking (with a minor character being drunk).

    Beyond the obligatory bad attitudes of the villains, the film's remaining categories are relatively void of major objectionable material. As always, however, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home, you may want to take a closer look at the content that's been listed.

  • We see an inebriated woman walking along with a bottle of liquor in her hand. As she finds the infant Boomer, she asks, "Do you want a drink? No? Well, I do."
  • Later, we see this woman walking and drinking from a bottle and see more bottles of booze in the baby carriage she's pushing (along with Boomer).
  • Mob members have drinks at a club.
  • The mob leader has a drink.
  • Boomer has a drink after having sex with Tammy.
  • In a black and white flashback we see a gangster who's a bit bloody as he's wheeled into a hospital. When he grabs a gun and shoots some people, we briefly see blood squirt out from their wounds.
  • The lead mob figure has some bandages that appear to have some blood stains on them.
  • We see a tiny bit of blood from both Boomer and John Ma's noses.
  • Obviously all of the gangsters have both for being involved in organized crime as well as threatening or trying to kill Boomer, John Ma and Tyson.
  • Boomer and Tyson purchase a reportedly stolen boat.
  • Tyson tells a thug that "you're fighting like a girl."
  • Tammy's jealous boyfriend tries to beat up Boomer/John Ma.
  • Although none of it's played to be too suspenseful, some viewers may find scenes listed under "Violence" as somewhat that way.
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Shotguns/Harpoons: Used to threaten, wound, or perhaps kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Machete like weapon: Carried by a thug.
  • Phrases: "Laid" (sexual), what sounded like "Bitch," "Shut up," "Take a leak," "Idiot," "Moron," "Piss me off," "Punk," "Twerp," "Scum," "I'll kick your ass," "Bastard" and "Loser."
  • Some kids may want to imitate all of the martial arts action that occurs in the film.
  • Tammy's jealous boyfriend spits on Boomer.
  • None.
  • A mild amount of standard and action-oriented suspense music plays in several scenes.
  • None.
  • At least 4 "s" words, 1 slang term for male genitals ("pr*ck"), 9 hells, 6 asses, 6 damns, 3 S.O.B.'s, 1 crap, and 2 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "Oh God" and "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • As John Ma plays the piano, Boomer's fingers move in unison and end up inadvertently doing so on a girl's clothed butt in his garage.
  • The mob leader sings to Barbara that he wishes she would come upstairs with him.
  • Tyson runs up and unknowingly puts his hand on the breast of a topless statue.
  • Tammy shows some cleavage and John Ma eventually tells her about that. Then thinking that she's there to get a husband (upon her father's insistence), she reacts to John Ma's massaging her (for platonic reasons) as something sexual and says "So soon?" after he tells her to "come and lie down." She then says, "Wouldn't it be easier with my clothes off?"
  • Tammy shows a lot of thigh as she sits in a short dress in an auditorium.
  • As Boomer begins to fight Tammy's jealous boyfriend, Boomer backs up and a mannequin's hand touches his butt. He then moves that mannequin so that its hand now cups the boyfriend's crotch.
  • Wanting another massage from John Ma (who's really Boomer), Tammy tells him that she can't wait any longer. He then takes off his shirt, unbuttons his pants and jumps on top of her on a bed and starts kissing her (to her surprise). The next scene shows them in bed together under the sheets, presumably after having had sex. He then refers to that as a "workout." Later, and thinking that he's the maestro, Tammy tells him that he has to get ready because "thousands of people are going to see you perform," causing him to say, "We've got to do it in public?"
  • As the brothers talk about their twin connection (one feeling what the other is doing), Boomer asks John Ma, "What do you do when I get laid?" John Ma then asks, "With a girl?" and Boomer responds, "What else would I mean?" and John Ma adds, "I hope it's not too kinky."
  • Boomer asks John Ma, "So, did you sleep with Barbara?" causing his brother to say no because she's Tyson's girl.
  • Tammy asks John Ma if they're going to take a bath together since they already did so (but it was Boomer and we didn't see it) and that "you put your hands all over me..."you were so naughty..." (she says this as he looks at her being topless, but we only see her bare back). As she gets into the tub, however, we see a very brief glimpse of the side of her breast.
  • Boomer smokes more than five times, Barbara smokes a few times, while Tyson, some thugs and other miscellaneous characters also smoke in various scenes.
  • In a flashback we see John Ma and Boomer's parents upset over the abduction of the latter.
  • Whether identical twins actually have any sort of "psychic" connection between them (where either can feel what the other is experiencing).
  • In a flashback, an injured gangster grabs a gun in a hospital, shoots and wounds a cop, shoots at others, and then shoots off his handcuffs. He then struggles with Boomer's father and grabs the infant Boomer while pointing the gun at the father. He then shoots another cop in the shoulder, struggles with the mother and pushes her aside and then falls from a window down onto the roof of an ambulance. A cop then lowers himself down from the window and the gangster tries to run him over with the ambulance. The cop then shoots out the tires of the ambulance and it crashes and the cop holds his gun to the gangster's head.
  • In another flashback, a young Boomer knocks a cigarette from another boy's mouth and then flees as he and others chase him.
  • In a brief fight, punches and kicks are thrown as Boomer fights with several people.
  • In a longer fight scene, Boomer fights a large group of mob guys, hitting some with a microphone stand, and others with his hands, feet and head (head-butting one of them). Boomer then holds a handgun on them, but it turns out to be fake. The fighting then continues with plenty more punches and kicks. One of the men tries to hit Boomer with jagged and broken glass table top (and then does so on his back), and then all of the men gang tackle Boomer and hit him. A thug then prepares to smash Tyson's legs with a baseball bat, but they talk him out of it.
  • During a boat chase sequence, some boats ride up over top or hit others, and some thugs fire harpoons at Boomer and Tyson, hitting the latter in his life vest (but he's not injured). A speedboat crashes into a larger tug boat and explodes (but the riders jumped off before the impact). Boomer then jumps onto the thug's boat and fights them (punches and kicks). Tyson's boat then goes up onto a dock and crashes with nearby cars also crashing.
  • A large truck hits a mafioso sending his body (comically) bouncing back and forth between it and an adjacent van.
  • Mob thugs hold their guns to Boomer's head in a hospital.
  • Tammy's jealous boyfriend, Rocky, shows up and goes after John Ma, throwing a chair at him and overturning a piano in the process. As John Ma and Boomer are then mistaken for each other, Rocky tries to punch Boomer, who in turn, repeatedly punches him back (and Tammy bites into Rocky's arm). During this fight, Rocky throws a punch that hits a store clerk and then tries to hit Boomer with a baseball bat. The store clerk finally punches Rocky causing him to fall down a flight of steps.
  • Mob thugs open fire on police with machine guns and handguns on the street. A car crashes and explodes and others fly through the air and crash. More machine gun fire hits John Ma's vehicle and glass flies everywhere. A police van then crashes into cars that explode and a huge truck then smashes into that van and a car.
  • Tammy accidently hits Boomer on the head with a large vase.
  • Boomer punches a bad guy and takes his gun. Some thugs punch John Ma. Boomer drops two barrels from the sky and shoots them before they hit a dock, causing them to explode (catching a few thugs partially on fire). The thugs then shoot at Boomer, and he later returns fire, appearing to hit one of them.
  • In a vehicle testing center, the thugs fire a warning shot at some workers. They then shoot at John Ma and Tyson. Boomer then gets into a fight with some thugs and others shoot at him.
  • A mafioso shoots his shotgun at John Ma and Tyson, and then rolls a canister of some sort of compressed air and shoots it, causing it to explode. Boomer then fights more thugs (with plenty of punches and kicks) and is almost hit by several cars in a testing center.
  • A thug beats up John Ma, but Boomer then uses their twin connection to make John Ma punch and kick the thug.
  • A test car smashes into a wall in the test center with Tyson in it (he's okay). The same happens again, but with a mafioso who apparently wasn't wearing his seat belt (although we only see what happens to the car and not him).

  • Reviewed April 9, 1999 / Posted April 10, 1999

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