Twins Effect II

"I just woke up from the strangest movie..." said Gillian Chung, as she grasped her neck.

Back when Forced Perspective was still in its teething phase, I gave Dante Lam’s 2003 film The Twins Effect a glowing recommendation – albeit, a recommendation as a guilty pleasure. In hindsight, I still feel Lam’s film is more of a “silly” film than a “bad” film for many of the same reasons I’d stated earlier: despite the subpar plot and acting, it’s technically well-crafted and doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’d even forgotten to mention how entertaining Anthony Wong was.  The film was a financial success as well, so it is no surprise that less than a year later Emperor Motion Pictures sprung forth Twins Effect II, a sequel-in-name-only directed by Corey Yuen and Patrick Leung. Like the original, it combines a carefree silliness with a sense of technical skill. The big difference between the two films is that Twins Effect II genuinely sucks.

TE2 takes place in the past (ooh! Historical fiction!), a time when women ruled the world and men were their slaves. Taller Twin Charlene Choi plays a slave trader, and the opening scene is her auctioning off a slave. She’s improved much as an actress from the first film, but I have no clue what her character is named. Keep in mind that I just finished watching this less than an hour ago. I barely remember any of the characters’ names, for that matter, and for the sake of giving you the true movie experience, I will only refer to the characters by their respective actors’ names unless I actually do remember the character’s name. Shorter Twin Gillian Chung comes by a minute later and ruins the party (not sure how), and before we know it, the Twins are fighting!

Yes! This is what I watched this movie for! Except this fight scene kind of sucks. The choreography is good enough (I mean, this film was co-directed by Corey Yuen, why wouldn’t it be?), but there is way too much slow motion, and after a while the wirework and CG becomes grating. At some point I swear that there was a shot of Gillian Chung flying in a circle obviously superimposed over a shot of lava or something. This film managed to do something I previously thought impossible: I was bored during a one-on-one fight scene involving the Twins.

The plot here is much more difficult to follow than the original. There’s some sort of sacred slab of rock that has a tile-based puzzle embedded in it which leads to the palace of the evil empress (Qu Ying). The evil empress is married to Daniel Wu, who I do know actually had a name in this film but I don’t remember what it was. The sacred slab is obtained by Edison “Yo Dawg” Chen, who seems to be working for Donnie Yen, who is named, I kid you not, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Somehow the slab ends up in the hands of Jaycee Fong (Jackie Chan’s untalented son) and Wilson Chen. Jaycee’s character is named “Charcoal Head,” which is something I’m somewhat glad I remembered, because it’s an awful name. I’m pretty sure that was the point in the first place, but it’s still awful. So eventually Charcoal Head falls in love with Gillian Chung and Wilson Chen falls for Charlene Choi.

I’m going to stop trying to describe the plot right there because most of it is a mishmash of completely arbitrary scenes that somehow manage to move the plot forward while seeming like they came out of nowhere at the same time. My words really cannot do this attribute of the film justice. It’s not that the movie is simply being unpredictable, because we know where this is eventually going to end up, but that it’s getting there in a completely scatter-shot fashion. It really needs to be seen to be believed. If you are interested in neither Hong Kong cinema nor the Twins you probably won’t see it and your life is probably better than mine for it.

Twins Effect II is a bad film. It is not a painful film to sit through, however, and can be mildly enjoyable to at times. Still, it’s nowhere near enjoyable enough to truly earn the distinction of being a “guilty pleasure.” Fan Bing Bing and Jackie Chan pop up in there somewhere. That may seem like an unrelated thought after the previous sentence, but Twins Effect II is all about strings of unrelated thoughts that somehow manage to lump themselves into a cheesy Lunar New Year film that is somewhat comprehensible. Somewhat.

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About Adam DiPiazza
I love Peach Snapple.

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