Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung make up the hugely successful pop duo Twins, and as the title ‘The Twins Effect’ suggests, this is primarily a vehicle for them. This also features the first Hong Kong outing for Swiss born Mickey Hardt. Raised in Luxembourg, he was discovered by Donnie Yen while studying acting in Berlin. Donnie then cast him in the first European martial arts TV series ‘Puma’ for a German TV station in 1999.
Reeve (Eking Cheng) is a member of the Anti-Vampire League who loses his partner (who is also his love) in a battle with arch-vampire Duke Delicates (Mickey Hardt). Reeve then takes on Gypsy (Gillian Chung) as his new assistant as he returns to Hong Kong. Helen (Charlene Choi) his sister however is not two impressed when she comes home to find Gypsy in her bed. While it becomes apparent that Gypsy is besotted with Reeve, Helen is indulging in courtship with Kazak (Edison Chen). Kazak is however a Prince of the vampire royalty who has had to flee Eastern Europe as Duke Delicates has been taking the blood essence from the royal vampires, as this is the key to opening the book “Day for Night”. A vampire opening this book would result in him being able to walk freely in daylight. Helen is oblivious to Kazak’s disposition despite his reluctance to eat in front of her and his aversion to sunlight. Being royalty, Kazak refuses to “suck” blood. But when Kazak and his attendant Prada (Anthony Wong) run out of blood, and Kazak confesses to Helen his distinctiveness, this does not faze her and she conspires to steal from the hospital blood bank. However when Reeve discovers that his sister is dating a vampire, he raids Kazak’s den only to find Duke Delicates who then uses Reeve an Prada as bait to lure Kazak so he can extract his blood essence and open “Day for Night”. Helen, Gypsy and Kazak must team up to rescue them.
‘The Twins Effect’ is different in that it features European vampires as opposed to the traditional Chinese hopping vampires as seen in the classic ‘Mr Vampire’. This is much more akin to ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and, as you might expect, ‘The Twins Effect’ is more victorious in it’s achievement. There are however no Taoist rituals, no crosses, no garlic or solid silver weapons. Piercing the heart or decapitating the head is sufficient to kill these vampires and considering the lack of real martial artists, the choreography is surprisingly intricate. The opening 10 minute sequence would make a worthy climax and for the duel between Charlene and Gillian, despite it being obvious that neither are real martial artists, they really give it their all so it still works and remains one of the highlights of the film. Another notable sequence is the alley way duel between Ekin and a vampire. Donnie Yen has handled the action very well and has refrained from using some of his more dubious techniques such as severe undercranking. If this is just a taste of things to come then I look forward to his future projects.
‘The Twins Effect’ is not flawless however. The pacing is actually quite uneven but despite this it remains absorbing which is a credit to the energy and charm of the performers. Even Edison Chen puts in an adequate performance. Anthony Wong however exudes eminence but sadly his most amusing sequence involving him being unable to protract his fangs while attempting to “suck” a young woman is relegated to the end credits. The special appearances by Jackie Chan and Karen Mok don’t really do anything to advance the story but are pleasing all the same.
Despite what flaws ‘The Twins Effect’ has, it never actually suffers as a result of them as it always retains the viewers interest and successfully juggles comedy, action and horror. The CGI is of a high standard for a Hong Kong production and for the most part is integrated well. It also has a fun catchy song during the end credits sung by Jackie and Twins. If mere entertainment is all you require from a film then ‘The Twins Effect’ comes highly recommended. It might not win The Golden Horse for best film, but it will stand up to repeated viewing.