Twins Effect (HK 2003)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 9/19/04
Alternate Title: Vampire Effect (U.S. Title)
Director: Dante Lam
Action Director: Donnie Yen
Cast: Ekin Cheng, Gillian Chung, Charlene Choi, Anthony Wong, Jackie Chan, Karen Mok

A bizarre attempt to cash in on the popularity of the cantopop group Twins (Gillian Chung and Charlene Choi), this is a movie about vampire hunters in modern day Hong Kong. Reeve (Ekin Cheng) is a master hunter whose latest partner has been killed by a nasty European vampire known as The Duke. The young, clumsy, and enthusiastic Gypsy (Gillian Chung) shows up as Reeve's new partner, and she falls in love with him. Meanwhile Kazaf, the fifth prince of the vampire royal house, has moved to Hong Kong with his faithful servant (Anthony Wong). He and Reeve's sister Helen (Charlene Choi) fall in love, which leads to various comedic situations and moral dilemmas. Eventually, the four of them team up to stop The Duke, which culminates in a special effects laden kung fu showdown.

This film is surprisingly good, thanks to Donnie Yen's action choreography and direction. The fight scenes are energetic and well paced, and the execution, cinematography, and editing are right on target. Ekin Cheng, Gillian Chung, and Charlene Choi all handle their action scenes with flair and confidence, and perform admirably. Their fashion sense, on the other hand, needs a little help. The comedy elements are passable and mildly amusing, as are the silly romantic side plots. Jackie Chan's cameo as an ambulance driver is odd, but definitely entertaining. I saw the American version of the film ("Vampire Effect") which is reportedly much different than the original cut of the film. Not having seen the original, all I can say is that "Vampire Effect" seemed cohesive and able to stand on its own. Several scenes show up during the closing credits which look like they may have been cut from the film, including an excellent training session between Reeve and Helen. However, other scenes just look like outtakes or comedic anecdotes that don't belong in the film. Overall, if you enjoy light Hong Kong action comedy, "Twins Effect" is a good way to pass an evening.