Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Do you folks remember when you couldn’t wait for some movie or another to come out of Hong Kong? Some movie with Tony Leung, Andy Lau, Anthony Wong, Lam Suet or even the much maligned Ekin Cheng starring in it? Not to say the movie you were about to watch was going to be great or anything, but you were almost certain that it wasn’t going to suck. You would probably see some circumvention of movie convention that you didn’t expect that would have made your viewing time worth while. Well perhaps due to some inequitable NAFTA deal that China has made with South Korea, those days seem to be over. Sure you get the occasional decent Hong Kong film, but all of the surprising, edgy, cutting edge stuff has been coming out of the Land of the Morning Calm recently, with Chinese films either consisting of the occasional Yimou Zhang epic or a music pop-star bubble gum flick. We definitely have the latter with Toi-Ho Kongs ‘Twins Mission’ which despite some bravaru fight scenes, still was far too lightweight for my tastes.

Jacky Wu (or Wu Jing, I’m not sure which moniker the man prefers) is Lau Hey, a Tibetan (or Shaolin – hell, I don’t know) monk who is on his way by train to Hong Kong with his uncle luck (Sammo Hung) to see his dying twin brother. The two monks are carrying a little device known as the Heavens Bead which is alleged to have magical healing powers, and no sooner than we are shown this little bauble is the train attacked by two sets of kung fu dynamite twins who want the treasure for their very own. After a rather spectacular fight set in which Wu and Hung show why one’s a legend and one soon will be, the trinket is lost and now the race is on to retrieve it.

Oh but there is so much more. (sigh) So much more. There’s a pair of twin circus performers named Jade and Pearl (Chinese pop sensations Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung) who are also Kung Fu experts and used to be part of a ‘Twins’ network of a

thieving acrobatic team taught by The Principle (Wah Yuen). There’s also a businessman (Shek Sau) who needs a piece of land owned by the lovely Lilian (Jess Zhang) who is caring for a baby sister with leukemia and who has been told that the Heavens Bead will cure her illness. There’s the evil twins brotherhood which consists of four sets of twins lead by a mysterious somebody, who you can guess is the twin of some cast member, who are trying to steal the Heavens Bead for some purpose or another, and there are other plot elements tossed in that we won’t bother to go into here which ultimately culminates into one big, huge, overblown chaotic fight sequence.

I’m fairly certain that some thirty something year old dude sitting in his living room in the Midwest of the United States of America isn’t the target demographic for ‘Twins Mission’, so I’m curious how this thing played out to its target demographic, which I’m going to assume are 8 year old Chinese girls. I don’t know any 8-year-old Chinese girls, so it is presumptive of me to speak for them but I’m gonna do it anyway. This unnamed girl sitting in a theater in Hong Kong is probably wondering why does this relatively lightweight film have such a crazy convoluted plot? She may also be curious as to what exactly is the whole concept of the twin organization and why does it exist in the first place. I can imagine how cheap she will feel when her father leans over and tells her it’s simply a marketing ploy of Choi and Chung’s management team to pimp out their cute pop superstars in order to extract as much cash as humanly possible from the poor Chinese populace in return for viewing a film of such sub-marginal entertainment value. This girl would certainly be impressed by the acrobatic, high flying and well staged fight scenes and I’m sure she’s bugging her old dude right now for some Wu Jing (Jackie Wu) posters to stick on her wall, though she would be concerned about her favorite pop duo’s decided lack of Kung Fu skills compared to her new love crush Wu. She would also be amazed at how freaking HOT real life twins Mona and Lisa Ch’ng are in their roles as a pair of evil ass kicking sisters. She would be thinking how great it would have been if this crazy fine pair of twin sisters did their butt kicking in, I don’t know, their underwear or better yet, completely naked. Yup, I’m almost certain that’s exactly what she would be thinking.

Obviously I was disappointed by ‘Twins Mission’ as it was convoluted, disjointed, confusing and not very entertaining. Wish me luck though, I just got a copy of ‘Kill Zone’ in the mail which came out a couple of years ago. I’m watching it tonight, and hopefully it will rekindle some fond memories of what I remember how Hong Kong cinema used to be.

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