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Original Title:
Seung chi sun tau

Hong Kong 2007

Action, Comedy

Benz Kong To-hoi

Charlene Choi
Gillian Chung
Wu Jing
Yuen Wah
Sammo Hung
Jess Zhang
Sau Shek
Steven Cheung
Qiu Li'er
Sam Lee
Bobby Yip

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Twins Mission

Story: Professor Mok (Sek Sau) wants to buy the house of his niece Lilian (Jess Zhang), as this is the only thing standing in his way to finally execute his gigantic construction project. However, Lilian doesn't want to sell her residence just like that. Therefore, he works out a perfidious scheme. He wants to steal the "Heaven's Bead", a religious artefact, which is said to have extraordinary healing powers. He wants to exchange it for Lilian's house, as Lilian's little sister Happy (Qiu Li'er) is suffering from cancer and really could put the holy power of the "Heaven's Bead" to good use. Thus, Mok hires a group of criminals consisting of twins, to get his hands on the Bead.
The monk Hay (Wu Jing) and Uncle Luck (Sammo Hung) are the guardians of the "Heaven's Bead". When it is suddenly snatched from them, Hay and Uncle Luck seek the help of the former leader of the group "Twins", Chang Chung (Yuen Wah). Chang has no other choice, but to ask his disciples for help, whom he hid from the criminal dealings of his twin brother (also played by Yuen Wah) at a circus. The circus team is lead by Pearl (Charlene Choi) and Jade (Gillian Chung), who always get into fights about trivial matters, but prove to be unstoppable when teaming up with Hay.

Review: The "Twins" are back again! And I, as anyone else out there, have become really sick of this never-ending marketing campaign around the uber-cute popduo Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung. Maybe this is one of the many reasons why I didn't watch this flick with any high expectations at all. In the end I was surprised that "Twins Mission" actually is a lot more entertaining than what I feared. Still, this doesn't change the fact that this is nothing more than glary and pretentiously well-produced popcorn entertainment of the cheapest sort, which has to struggle with an incredibly weak and at times ridiculous script, offers no interesting characters, and does only mildly entertain because of its action, which reaches a more higher level than expected thanks to Wu Jing an Co.

The biggest sore point is without a doubt the plot. If you actually want to call it plot. That is because there are so many plot holes, that you will gladly shut down your brain a few minutes into the movie out of self-preservation. No doubt, "Twins Mission" isn't the first movie featuring "The Twins" for which the film makers came up with a ridiculous script, so you could say that we shouldn't have expected any profound stuff in this one either, of course. However, what's really painful is the incredible amount of time the director spends on absolutely irrelevant insertions. We see the Twins getting into meaningless fights about a photo of David Copperfield, or there is Sam Lee's supposedly funny interrogation of the witnesses of a murder - scenes that are in no way linked to the rest of the movie and even make us wonder why they are a part of this flick, anyway?
Furthermore, there are numerous scenes, that feel like they have been stringed together without any real purpose behind it. The sudden insertion of Wu Jing and his dying brother feels as out of place as the rest of the story revolving around mortally ill Happy (whereas the script writer really shows his wicked sense for black humor by giving the dying child this very name).

Of course, the emotional scenes don't work out the way they were supposed to, or were they really supposed to seem anything other than ridiculous? Moreover, the film is always interrupted by sudden interludes. This mixed-up mess that the filmmakers want to sell us as an actual plot has to be called serious disrespect of the poor audience's intelligence, but all this would still have been bearable (as there weren't any high expectations to begin with), if the movie wouldn't also lose its focus constantly and severely.
It's really not worth the effort to write a few lines about the characters. They are shallow, comic-like and everything but compelling. Still, one thing that is rather positively surprising is that the "Twins" aren't as much in the movie's focus as you might have assumed. Sure thing, when they are on the screen, there are also certain scenes featuring them that look like as if they wanted to sell us something with their simpering and their artificial cuteness. Still, there aren't that much of these moments, fortunately. However, Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung can do a lot better than here, as their work in "Diary" or "Beyond our Ken" is proof of. The two have the potential to become respectable actresses in the future, but when they continue selling themselves as if being low-grade products, as it is the case in "Twins Mission", then they surely will never gain the respect of any film critic.

As a kind of compensation for this complete nonsense which calls itself a movie, there are some surprisingly well done action sequences. When the Twins engage into combat then this naturally goes hand in hand with lots of Wire-work and slow motion in order to hide their lack in fighting proficiency. The constant use of doubles also won't elude the attentive viewer, but luckily the film also features Martial Arts star Wu Jing ("SPL", "Fatal Contact"), who brings the action onto a higher and more realistic level. The choreographie doesn't seem to know how to make use of Wu Jings speed and agility, but his fights are fun to watch and a feast for the eye, nonetheless. Moreover, he also gets backup by Yuen Wah ("Iceman Cometh", "Kung Fu Hustle") and Sammo Hung, who also show that they can actually do the stuff we get to see on screen.
The action scenes are accompanied by adrenaline-loaden rock-music and there even some nice stunts to be found every now and then. The amount of glass that gets smashed really is almost on par with the shopping mall scene in "Police Story".

Naturally, "Twins Mission" got its name because of its two stars, but we also get to see an impressive amount of real twins. Of course, the director also can't end his flick without a special effects supported fight between Yuen Wah and his twin. The effects used are decent, which sadly can't be said about all of them. There are quite a few CGI-effects, or the chase on the top of a train where you can almost see the blue-screen in the background, that look unexcusable cheap. This stands in strong contrast to the otherwise polished look of the picture, which, however, also gets spoilt by an at times bad camera work.
"Twins Mission" is light entertainment, that proves to be slightly better than what you might have been expecting. The bad script, lots of scenes that were supposed to be funny, but just aren't in the end, really don't play to the movie's favor, though. Director Kong To-hoi who has been formerly known for his action choreographies in several action flicks, manages to scatter the fights well throughout the film, so that not only "Twins"-fans will get their treat, but Martial Arts fans as well. Still, this isn't enough for a recommendation. "Twins Mission" is silly entertainment, which at least offers a good pacing and some decent fights.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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