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Film review: Twin Dragons

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The theory behind "Twin Dragons" is simple: If audiences enjoy watching Jackie Chan, they should go absolutely nuts for two of him.

However, even an entire army of Jackie Chans couldn't make this lame martial-arts comedy watchable. It's filled with dumb jokes, unfunny shtick and long boring stretches between the film's only real highlights, the fight scenes. And frankly, there are not nearly enough of them to justify seeing the movie.

To say that 1992's "Twin Dragons" isn't one of Chan's best is an understatement. In fact, it makes you wonder why, of all the Chan products out there, a movie studio chose to re-release this one.

(Note to the studios: Next time, pick something like "Drunken Master 2" or "Dragons Forever," which feature a better blend of action, plot and humor.)

In "Twin Dragons," Chan plays twins separated at birth, Boomer and John Ma. The two have grown up to lead very different lives.

Whereas John Ma was brought up by his natural parents and has become a world-famous pianist, Boomer grew up on the streets, eventually becoming a somewhat shady auto racer.

Their paths finally cross in Hong Kong where John Ma is to perform in concert, while Boomer and his pal, Tyson (Teddy Robin Kwan), are running from a mob boss (Alfred Cheung) seeking vengeance.

This leads to a comedy of errors, as everyone mistakes each one for the other. That includes their respective love interests (Maggie Cheung and Nina Li Chi) and the gangster's henchmen, who have a ball picking on the hapless John Ma, who is sorely lacking Boomer's fighting skills.

Admittedly, the story has promise, and the action sequences (particularly those in the final third) are exciting. But co-directors Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam (both Hong Kong veterans) don't seem particularly inspired, and the comedic scenes lack punch.

That's not necessarily the fault of Chan, who isn't really given enough characterization to chew on. Nor for that matter, does the film afford him enough time to cut loose, physically.

Besides, it's hard to like any movie that so wastes the talents of Maggie Cheung, one of Hong Kong's finest young actresses. Here, she's relegated to an underwritten supporting role.

This movie was not screened for critics, and the studio has altered it from the 100-minute Hong Kong version to this 88-minute, dubbed print. Keep in mind, this review is based on the original film.

"Twin Dragons" is rated PG-13 for martial-arts fighting, brawling, gunplay and scattered profanities, some vulgar references and brief female partial nudity.