Sheer loyalty and affection for the Twins has brought us to this one. Not only do the two lovelies represent the beloved Xbox 360 in Asia, they've also grown quite a bit since the early 2000's, when they were unbelievably annoying in fare like Summer Breeze of Love.
Intervening years have seen them partake in more involved projects and become deeper rooted in "serious" acting, to wit Charlene's recent Diary and Gillian's role in 49 Days. Well, maybe this has worked better for A-Sa (Charlene to the uninitiated), but you get our drift.
Rejoice, then, for all that progress has now been swiftly given a kick in the boot and almost sent packing with Twins Mission, third entrance in the eponymous Twins cinematic franchise, and one that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the previous two.
While the first Twins Effect was a capable film, starring favorite sons Ekin Cheng, Edison Chen and Anthony Wong, this new release has hardly any meaningful highlights to recommend it. Stroywise, you get the same old tricks and excuses to send the dashing heroines by way of all kinds of menacing baddies and hazardous situations, with little else going on.
This flies in the face of the talent deposited within. Aside from the maturing Twins themselves, who are not as irritating as their younger selves from six years ago but hazardously close, Mission has Sammo Hung with his cigar-munching habits, a fact that has long-standing martial arts fanatics cheer as he enters the stage. However, even mighty Sammo can only do so much, and he's been in a couple of duds over the last few years. Here he's just as affable as ever, albeit in too limited a capacity to affect salvation.
Similarly, Wu Jing brings his usual subdued charm and kick-ass gong fu prowess to the fore, and may every action star be like him. But potent he may be, one thing he's not is a superman. There's no helping a run of the mill movie even with all the skilled fighting in the world.
Another unexpected boon are bona fide twins Mona and Lisa Ch'ng, brash and alluring as a pair of evil lookalikes who attack the goody two shoes titular Twins (who, of course, look nothing like each other) at every possible Guangdong turn. Yes, Twins Mission doesn't even have actual Hong Kong locales as best we could tell, pulling an X Files by relocating production across the border to cheaper environs.
But since the technical aspects of this motion picture are at least acceptable, and the martial arts choreography quite impressive, one has to surmise it's the screenplay that took the greatest budget hit, since Twins Mission has a most minimal story.
A gang of scheming, hostile twins (including the super sexy Mona and Lisa- check them out!) holds up a train carrying a mysterious Tibetan artifact, which then accidentally makes its way to Hong Kong (most likely de facto Shenzhen).
This is where our intrepid non-biological Twins join the adventure, aiding and abetting Lau Hey (Wu Jing) and Lucky (Sammo) as they fight to get the magical object back to prevent some unexplained calamity. The artifact has great healing powers and is thus coveted by many, including greedy developers and an innocent, H2-driving beauty (Jess Zhang) who needs it for her way-too-young sister.
Yuen Wah makes repeated appearances as both the main villain and the Twins' mentor and Principal. There's a bit of going on about how some twins go down the good path while others become twisted (like Mona and Lisa, don't forget), and in the end almost every character seems to have some doppleganger or other, but none of this makes the slightest bit of difference. As don't a few enjoyable comic relief moments featuring surprising ethnic diversity and an amusing Steven Cheung. Even in its comedy, Twins Missions come out short.
You can go into this affair expecting an action bonanza and emerge disappointed, for in spite of a few good sequences, it isn't all that. You could also sit back and behold the pretty young women on screen and come out satisfied, but then again that's not saying much for longevity.
We're just hoping to get more servings of Mona and Lisa soon, that's the bottom line here.
Rating: * * *