review by Neo

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Twins is back with Jackie Chan's Son in action!
I have been hearing comments about this film being a cheap version of Lord of the Rings, ripping off Harry Porter and guess what my answer to that is: so what? Since when can a rip-off movie can't be a good one, just look at Matrix, one that probably ripped off over 100 Asians movies, but its sequels are so shit that it made the franchise one of the worst in Hollywood history. When it comes to Twins Effect, sure the first film was cheesy but it was alright popcorn entertainment, without a story at all. The good news is that Twins Effect 2 is a better movie on a lot of scale - story wise, casting, budget, effects, but the bad news is the most crucial thing in the hype - the action is pretty plain and nothing interesting. Maybe it is cos of being in Hollywood for too long, Corey Yuen in this movie is no match for Donnie Yen's effort in the first one. The hyped up fight scene between Jackie and Donnie was just utterly boring and yeah - pretty crap. The use of wires are on the level that is almost intolerable, but one good aspect is that, Charlene and Gillian is looking better and better in terms of action moves. So with the hefty criticism on the action, one must be thinking that I will pan this movie, but in fact I reckon it is not bad at all. Sure it is uneven and borrows a lot Hollywood - LOR, but it is surely a good fun ride and surpassing its predecessor's efforts.

Despite that sort of borrowing from other movies, the plot in this movie is better than most no plot movies releasing in HK in recent years. It basically follows like this: This tale is set in Huadu, an ancient land ruled by a cruel empress (Qu Ying), a place where men are subservient to women. The empress' reign is disturbed by a prophecy saying a boy will rise to become king, and restore the male regime. Char (Jaycee Chan), a humble boy, is born to be emperor. He and his adopted brother, Leaf (Chen Po-lin), perform in a traveling show run by their adopted father, Blackwood (Tony Leung). Thanks to their friend, Lao (Edison Chen), the pair receive a stone with a map engraved on it. They set out on a quest for the treasure that the map is supposed to reveal. Two lovely yet lethal female warriors, Blue (Gillian Chung) and Spring (Charlene Choi), join the boys on their journey. The youngsters encounter various challenges before they meet General Lone (Donnie Yen), a master swordsman who seeks to overthrow the empire. To do so he must first duel the Lord Of Armour (Jackie Chan). Wow sounds more like names dropping in that official synopsis., sounds more like a way to fill cinema seats, but that's pretty cool!

Well, really this is a movie that will not disappoint the audience as long as they don't get hype up about it, but rather just sit back the way you enjoyed Twins Effect. So my take is that, if you like the first one, the second is much better than the first. One notable mention must be Gillian Chung, who almost impress me for the first time that she can act. Yes, but that's not saying much, as she usually display forced acting. This is the first time, that Gillian is in a much more natural mood and is actually convincing in her fight scenes. Just as Charlene her counterpart is not getting anymore cuter, Gillian is getting prettier as years goes by (haha sounds like As Tears Goes By). The only problem and mistake in Gillian acting is her crying scenes, where it seems as though she is smiling, so work on that, and she will surely improve. This is Gillian best performance in her popular career. Ah Sa needless to say is very much her usual self, although she is cuddly, cute and very likable, it will only be a matter of time before people stop liking that style of acting, so Ah Sa - if you wanna stay in the long run, there are heaps of room for improvement. (and that is coming from me as a Twins Fan). Her performance here is basically a mixture of her past resume, so you get the picture, but still at the very end, I still like her cute acting style, but that will soon bored me in a matter of time. Sure, twins fans and especially the ones with the same name, will continue to like Ah Sa even when the group breaks up, but that happy go lucky style need to change if she wants to prolong her career.

Let's get to the one key element of the film that most people reading this wants to know - how's Jackie's son going? Well, firstly his name is not Jackie's son, but Jaycee Fong, just think about it - do you want people to call you by referring to your father, sure it is honourable and respectful, but where is your own identity and self-honour. So I will call him Jaycee from now on. Really to be honest, Jaycee is not much of an actor just yet, and clearly does not have the pop star looks of like that idiot Edison, but one positive element that came from this movie is that Jaycee seems very innocent - goody goody type that actually made him very likable as a person. So for that point, he might be around for a few years yet, so what about the long run? Well, my honest opinion is that it really depends on his next few films, and if he wants to go on for a career, he really needs to not rely on Jackie's fame and assistance. In this film, Jaycee performance is not good, but not entirely bad either but one must take into account that this is his first screen appearance, and nerves are definitely showing. If he can maintain his good boy image, he might have his share of fans, but to be honest I am not a fan yet, so it really goes down to how he present himself in the near future. But good luck anyways, and hope you can out do Edison.

As to Donnie Yen's performance, he is a scene stealer and is a great supporting actor. His physical presence is filled and his experience really show, when a person is confidence. Alongside Tony Leung Ka Fai, both helps the youngsters to move along the film. However as I say before the action is the biggest disappointment, as for Corey's standard I can boldly say - crap. Yes, even that Jackie and Yen fight is just boring. However, the production values is good and direction, minus the fight is actually pretty good and cool. Daniel Wu for the first time shows some real screen presence and his acting is improving from his stiff image from movies to movies. The Queen is pretty and slightly menacing at times, but is nothing more than a flower glass.

Overall, Twins Effect 2 is a crowd pleaser, along the lines of Twins Effect, while it is a better movie than its predecessor, it is by no means revitalising the HK cinema or breaking new ground, but rather it does a important thing, getting people to watch it. With a high budget, known casts, presence of Twins, and a few veteran, this movie is a fun movie ride, if you don't get hype up about it. To be honest, in terms of action/drama/fantasy goes in HK nowadays it could be a lot worst, but Twins Effect 2 does what it want to achieve and do so in a pretty fun way. But a final note, bear in mind that I am a Twins fan, even if I don't seem like one!

I rate it 8/10

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Product Title : Twins Effect 2
Artist Name(s) : Gillian Chung| Charlene Choi| Jaycee Fong| Donnie Yen| Tony Leung Ka Fai
Language : Cantonese |Mandarin
Duration : 105 minutes
Reviewed by Neo (Andrew) - August 2004