Twin Dragons (1992) Review

"Twin Dragons" Japanese Theatrical Poster

“Twin Dragons” Japanese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Brother vs. Brother
Director: Ringo Lam, Tsui Hark
Producer: Ng See Yuen
Cast: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Nina Li Chi, Teddy Robin Kwan, Johnny Wang, Guy Lai Ying Chau, David Chiang, Jamie Luk Kim Ming, Kirk Wong, Philip Chan, Alfred Cheung
Running Time: 100 min.

By Numskull

One thing you have to admit about Jackie Chan, whether you like him or not, is that he’s not afraid to admit it when one of his movies is a disappointment. Besides the Lo Wei years (his own personal dark ages), he has gone on record and criticized several of the films in which he has starred, including Thunderbolt and Rush Hour (“Too much talk, not enough action.” My God! Somebody else noticed!!!). Some people have accused him of playing favorites and crediting only those films directed by himself and sometimes Sammo Hung and Stanley Tong as his “best.” Well, look at it this way: which double bill would you rather watch, Project A and Police Story or City Hunter and The Big Brawl?

I rest my case.

Twin Dragons…not one of Jackie’s favorites and certainly not one of mine…is substandard but still moderately enjoyable Chan fare, with an ungodly amount of lame mistaken identity humor and a huge cast of characters (many played by HK cinema notables) who never stop to think that maybe, just MAYBE, there is somebody out there somewhere who looks like this guy they’ve been talking to or beating up or whatever…instead, they chalk up “his” tendency to seemingly travel from one side of a room to the other, change clothes, change hair style, and get “his” ear pierced all in the blink of an eye to “blurry vision.”

The way the Jackies swap female companions reeks of American Saturday morning cartoon show. The “mannered” Jackie seems to have no qualms whatsoever about letting Maggie Cheung into his car and…well, uh, okay, I guess that’s not a very good point. Still…lame.

Action is somewhat lacking here, but what’s there is generally pretty good. The final battle in the vehicle testing facility brings back fond memories of the days when Jackie would fight a bunch of people at the end of one of his movies, rather than running amok in a monster truck or hovercraft or whatever. The beaten-to-death mistaken identity aspect rears its ugly head here, too, but doesn’t detract too heavily from the ass-kicking.

All in all, a lesser latter-day Hong Kong effort from the esteemed Mr. Chan, but preferable to anything with Brett Ratner’s name on it. To get a good sense of how annoying the obligatory twin humor can be, read this review twice.

Numskull’s Rating: 6/10

By Ro

Jackie plays twins, separated at birth. One is a mechanic (Boomer), who can fight; and the other is a world class conductor (John), who can’t. Some gang boss wants Boomer to participate in a car race and of course they keep trying to kidnap the wrong guy. The twins wander around Hong Kong for a while before they discover each other. The plot’s pretty silly and some of the mixed identity stuff drags on too long, but most of it’s funny and on the whole, the movie’s still a lot of fun.

The scene at the end in the car testing facility is wonderful! We all know that Jackie never gets in a car normally, but in this scene he shoots out of the window and kicks somebody in mid air! Wow!! Jackie overdoes the low- class Boomer, but he gets to show off his acting muscles in playing the laid back, sophisticated John perfectly! Who says he just ‘mugs for the camera’? Another plus – this film includes the best love scene in a Jackie Chan movie (that I’ve seen so far) – the incredibly sweet kiss shared by John and Barbara at the piano. One negative, Jackie doesn’t dub his own voice and the one they used is perfectly awful!

Ro’s Rating: 6.5/10

By Master of the Stick

I’d heard good things about this movie, so I was pretty excited to find it on the bargain shelf at my local Borders bookstore. However, when I got home to watch it, I found that I had been duped! “Original Subtitles,” my ass! The sound also faded in and out, and the screen was filled with lines of white snow – the tracking did nothing. It’s a damn shame buying Jackie Chan films is such a gamble. Anyway, before I went back to Borders and gave the clerks hell, I figured I’d watch the whole thing. (After all, a poorly dubbed, muffled sounding, extremely fuzzy Jackie Chan movie is still a Jackie Chan movie.) Well, it was worth watching, but I’m not about to go buy another copy.

The fight scenes were cool, though few and far between, and there were some decent action sequences. Unfortunately, the weird attempts at humour just weren’t very funny, and the whole twin thing was stupid. It’s a pretty unoriginal concept, and it wasn’t done very well in my opinion. Maybe it’s the the fact that I got gypped, but I really didn’t like this movie very much.

Master of the Stick’s Rating: 5/10 (7/10 if you’ve got a good copy)

By Marcia

OK, it’s stupid, but you had to know that just by looking at the title and the cover art. You also had to know there were going to be the obligatory mistaken identity gags. Even the twin-A-does-and-twin-B-feels schtik is predictable, and though usually annoying, makes for a good lewd comment when the two first meet up in the hotel bathroom.

Actually, I’m surprised that the Boomer character flew at all with Jackie’s audience (OK, it was the fighting that saved him), considering his ultra nice guy reputation. Maybe the smokin’, drinkin’, womanizin’ Jackie was acceptable in context because there was the contrasting “every woman’s dream guy” (so the producers hope) Jackie as well. Whatever the reason, I thought it was kind of a nice change of pace and allowed Jackie to showcase two very different sides of his public appeal (great fighter, “sweet” guy). Don’t go watch this if you’re looking for something even remotely serious; unless you go in expecting it to be one bad cliche after another, you’ll be disappointed. Otherwise, it’s surprisingly good.

Marcia’s Rating: 7/10

By Shazbot!

The film opens up with good action and a serious tone and deviates into slapstick, almost farcical. It might be less annoying subtitled. The best element of the film is the running gag (which doubles as the plot) of mistaken identity with girls, friends and enemies. The best bit is in the apartment bathroom (The Marx brothers would’ve been proud). The movie ends with the greatly underrated battle in the auto plant, which is also a great comedy bit. JC plays his most arrogant and confident character here. He looks like he enjoyed it. The effects are decent, and not nearly as bad as JC pans them. It don’t look fake- as least not on grainy EP VHS.

Shazbot!’s Rating: 7/10

By James H.

I was at Wal-Mart recently. While there, I happened on a big bin of movies on sale for $4.88. So the curious fellow I am, I looked through. To my surprise I found “Twin Dragons.” Hot damn, I thought. So I quickly bought it and I was on my way. (Note: other titles in the bin were “Fearless Hyena” and “Fantasy Mission Force.”) I must say there was some sort of hype to this movie, at least in my mind anyway. Having two of the biggest names in the Hong Kong film industry (Tsui Hark & Ringo Lam) directing this movie meant it was big. Despite the half-assed dubbing, I was very impressed. Jackie’s acting was great, doing double time as twins. Let’s also not forget Maggie Cheung putting in a great performance and looking as sexy as ever.

It has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster: action, comedy and romance. The mix of action and comedy was perfect, almost too perfect. Near the end of the film, it was as if they were laying it on a little too much. Generally, the scenes with two Jackies were hilarious as were the scenes of mistaken identity. The action is top notch: boat chases, car chases, shoot outs, and plenty of fist fights. This one’s got it all. The fight at the Mitsubishi car testing area was flat out amazing. The choreography was very good as well.

Before I mentioned that there was some romance in the film. It’s something that usually isn’t in a Jackie film, and in this one it worked quite well. The scene with Jackie (as John) and Maggie at the piano was one of the best in the movie. “Twin Dragons” is a great piece of Jackie that everyone should see it’s plenty of fun for the whole family. For $4.88, something has to be too good to be true, and to my dismay, there were no outtakes during the credits.

Note: My copy is the full 100-minute version, distributed by Front Row Entertainment. Check your local Wal-Mart now for more Jackie!

James H’s Rating: 8/10

By Sean Johnson

Chan plays two parts in this slapstick comedy about twin brothers seperated at birth. One is a Hong Kong mechanic (Boomer), the other is a world famous conductor from NY (John Ma). Things get wild when the two meet up with each other in Hong Kong while Boomer’s having trouble with the cops, and John just wants to give a concert. Once the two find each other things get crazy and slapstick prevails. The comedy is funny to an extent, then grows tiresome. However, because of the excellent hard pounding action scene at the Mitsubishi Testing Factory (with cars racing at Jackie) the video is worth buying for about ten bucks.

Sean Johnson’s Rating: 6.5/10

By Andrew

This film is Jackie’s take on the “Double Impact” premise that Van Damme did. Four words: Jackie did it better. There’s a few good fights early on, and an awesome sequence at the end that puts the “Rumble in the Bronx” gang fight to shame. The action drags in the middle, but the confused relationships between the two Jackie Chans and their girlfriends keeps the story moving. The one problem I had with this film was with the three stooge-esqe moments thrown in gratuitously immediately after the boat chase scene. This one is a must see for anyone who enjoyed Rumble or First Strike.

Andrew’s Rating: 7/10

By Vic Nguyen

Twin Dragons is basically a Hong Kong version of Double Impact, only 50 times better! Jackie Chan takes the roles of twin brothers seperated at birth, John Ma and Boomer. John Ma is a successful pianist from New York and Boomer is a trouble making car mechanic from Hong Kong. When John goes on tour in Hong Kong,everything goes wrong. They run into each other and because of confusion, each lives the different lifestyles that the other one has. Caught in the mess are both of their girlfriends. There are some great action sequences, but the one that stands out from the rest is the final fight scene in a Mitsubishi car testing facility. This movie was made to raise funds for the Hong Kong Directors Guild. Recommended.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 8/10

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