88 Films Blu ray release from a stunning restoration of Jackie Chan’s classic martial arts action comedy, featuring the original 104-minute Hong Kong cut – OUT NOW!
Double trouble as action megastar Jackie Chan stars in the dual roles of “Ma Yau/ Bok Min”, or “John Ma/ Boomer” in the English version. He is joined by his “Police Story” co-star Maggie Cheung as “Barbara”. Cheung has also appeared to great acclaim in films such as “The Iceman Cometh“, “As Tears Go By”, “Dragon From Russia“, “Moon Warriors“, “New Dragon Gate Inn“, “In the Mood for Love”, “The Heroic Trio”, “Hero“ and many, many more.
Mrs Jet Li, Nina Li Chi stars as “Tong Sam/ Tammy”. Known as the “Marilyn of the East”, Li is a former Miss Asia winner. She has appeared alongside Chow Yun-Fat and Conan Lee in “Tiger on the Beat”, Sammo Hung in “Pedicab Driver”, and of course with her husband Jet Li in “Dragon Fight”.
Singer-songwriter, actor and director Teddy Robin plays Boomer’s best friend “Tarzan/ Tyson”. Robin has composed scores for the “Aces Go Places” series of films, Chow Yun Fat’s “City on Fire” (the film that inspired Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs”), Wong Kar Wai’s acclaimed “As Tears Go By”, and the action-comedy “Tiger on the Beat“, to name but a few. Robin has played comedic roles in the hilarious ode to seventies kung fu movies, “Gallants”, and in Tsui Hark’s Chinese box office smash “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame“.
As this film was a charity project produced by the Hong Kong Film Directors Guild, it features a plethora of cameos from various industry figures, including Anthony Chan, Philip Chan, Sylvia Chang, James Wong, Alfred Cheung, Cheung Tung-jo, John Keung, Chor Yuen, Lau Kar-leung, Kirk Wong, Johnny Wang Lung-wei, John Woo, Tsui Siu-ming, Eric Tsang, Ringo Lam, Ng See-yuen, Tsui Hark, plus many familiar Hong Kong stunt performers.
On holidays in Hong Kong, Mrs Ma gives birth to identical twins. A criminal in the same hospital attempts to escape, taking one of the twins hostage. The child is lost during the confusion and Mr and Mrs Ma return to New York with one child.
Years later, John Ma is a famous conductor and pianist, unaware that his twin brother “Boomer” is a mechanic/race car driver/bodyguard in Hong Kong. When John travels to Hong Kong to give a concert, the twins get caught up in each other’s business, about which they are anything but experts.
Introducing Boomer, the “bad” version of the two twins, Jackie Chan quickly gets into action mode with a fight against various gangsters and thugs.
It’s an impressive opener as he performers his trademark flips off walls and over furniture. It’s also surprisingly hard-hitting considering this film is an out-and-out comedy, having more in common with something like “Police Story” than “Wheels on Meals”.
Ma, the “good” twin, has more of a slapstick introduction to the action. Once the twins cross paths, a strange, supernatural bond is forged between them.
Hilarious High-Speed Antics
Whilst Boomer is involved in a high-speed boat chase (which wouldn’t look out of place in a 1970s James Bond movie), his actions physically affect Ma.
It’s a great crossover of some exhilarating speedboat stunts inter-cut with Ma hilariously embarrassing himself in a restaurant as he bounces round soaking himself and other diners.
This physical bond dictates a lot of the action for the rest of the film, and adds an extra dimension to the usual collection of stunts and fights that fans are familiar with.
The Twins’ Bond and Ensuing Actions are Particularly Clever
What would normally be a fairly predictable car chase has an extra effect on the other twin and vice versa. It’s a particularly clever and funny scene as the twins swap places and having to use their respective skills to cope.
Boomer, the fighter, flips, punches and kicks his way through conducting a full classical orchestra. This manifests into Ma the musician’s actions, as he fights off the bad guys in a van. It is genuinely impressive how the filmmakers were able to choreograph and seamlessly edit two entirely different scenes together so that the action serves both.
Slapstick and Skill Come Together Here
The most Jackie Chan-like scene is during the finale in a car workshop. Both incarnations of the twins use every bit of their surrounding environments, acrobatically navigating their way over and through vehicles, or using everyday objects as a weapon to beat up their foes.
Again, the clever use of Ma as the slapstick element and Boomer as the skilful fighter, allows Chan to express both his strengths as one of the best ever physical action comedy film stars.
Twin Dragons is a fun and entertaining film that showcases Jackie Chan’s unique talents for both physical comedy and onscreen stunts and fights. Chan is excellent in the yin and yang dual roles, and brings his usual energy and charisma to the film.
The special effects and clever camerawork when there are two Jackie Chan’s on screen at once range from impressive to glaringly bad.
In both cases, the high definition restoration amplifies this. It can be quite distracting when it is bad and I think is maybe the main reason this film doesn’t quite attract the same adoration as some of Chan’s other films from the same period.
It’s a shame, because aside from a couple of dodgy effects shots, the many action scenes are well-choreographed and exciting, and the comedy is genuinely funny.
Extra features on the Blu-ray release include an interesting and occasionally amusing new interview with director Tung Wei and stunt actor James Ha recalling making the movie.
There is a very interesting and candid archival (pre Rush Hour) interview with star Jackie Chan analysing his career. Hong Kong movie expert Frank Djeng is joined by fellow expert F.J. DeSanto for an insightful audio commentary that accompanies the full length version.
There are also plenty of behind-the-scenes clips, trailers and deleted scenes from other international versions of the film.
Overall, Twin Dragons is an often overlooked example of what Jackie Chan did best at the height of his career in the early nineties. It’s a fun, funny, and exciting film that is sure to please fans of both comedy and action.
- The film was released in the USA on 9th April 1999 in a dubbed version. The American release of the film cut 16 minutes of scenes involving Wong Jing and Lau Kar-leung in a hospital and a fantasy scene involving Maggie Cheung singing.
- The film was co-directed by Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam
- According to Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam handled most of the action scenes in the film.