Twins Mission
Hong Kong 2007
Directed by Kong Tao-Hoi.


I can't help it -- I like the Twins (Charlene Choi and Gillian Cheung), and have often found their performances enjoyable in the many Hong Kong films they have appeared in over the past half-dozen years. But alas, all good things must come to an end. Maybe it's just this movie, and not indicative of a general trend, but the thrill is gone, and not even packing the proceedings with martial arts action by Yuen Wah, Sammo Hung, and Wu Jing can disguise the fact that this film is going nowhere fast, and collapsing in on itself, as nature abhors a vaccuum.

The plot, such that I can make out, involves two groups of groups of twins, each run by Yuen Wah, playing two roles, a good brother and an evil brother. The good one tucks his sets of twins away in the circus. The bad one trains his sets of twins to be criminals and goes to steal a tibetan healing pill, guarded by monks played by Sammo Hung and Wu Jing. Or maybe they were just visiting the monks, as the whole monk angle gets dropped after the opening scene. Anyway, the special thingy ends up in the hands of mall rat Stephen Chung (of boy band Boy'z). And, there's a young girl in a hospital with cancer or something who whines and looks pathetic occassionally. The villains want to trade the pill to her sister in exchange for, I don't know, some kind of evil real estate deal. It''s not very clear, or perhaps I stopped paying attention.

The gimmick of this film is actually pretty fun -- all the different sets of twins squaring off against each other in fight after fight. Most of the twins appear to actually be twins, with the exception of the Twins themselves, and amusingly, long time "ugly" support character actor Bat Leung-Gum and his female twin partner.

Director Kong Tao-Hoi is a long time action choreographer, and this is his first directorial effort. As such, it fails spectacularly in the non-action scenes to sustain any viewer interest whatsoever. Worse, the action scenes themselves are sometimes plodding and overly choreographed, peppered with clumsy wirework and packed with about 300 panes too many of breakaway glass. Both the direction and the action choreography needs tightening that it doesn't get. In the end, some dodgy snake CGI put the Twins in peril, but, when it seems hopeless for them, suddenly they show up in another scene without explanation as to what happened with the snakes.

TWINS MISSION as a whole suffers from scenes, like the snakes above, that appear, then are dropped and forgotten. At the beginning of the film, the girls are fighting over their love for David Copperfield. This goes on forever, but then is completely dropped. Later, Wu Jing does some magic to cheer up the dying girl, but the Twins don't even blink an eye or swoon, like you might expect given their interests.

What's worse, the film doesn't even properly end, and text appears saying, "KEEP WATCHING to see how it ends!" right before the credits appear. OK, I'm game, that's a fun idea to let people know there will be a short stinger at the end of the credits with some clever little something to end the film. But then, the credits just keep going, and going, and then, the movie ends. Apparently this end text was supposed to suggest there would be a sequel, but it was so poorly written, like the rest of the film, that audiences were expecting something different.

"Expecting something different" is the catch phrase for TWINS MISSION. Given the cast, and the production values, we expected something good, or at the very least, entertaining. What we got was mostly horrible with a few decent action scenes thrown like scraps of bread to a starving child.

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on September 15, 2007.


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