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The Twins Effect (2003)
Director: Dante Lam

review by Christopher Geary

Expert slayer Reeve (Ekin Cheng, The Avenging Fist, A Man Called Hero), of the Anti-Vampire League, loses his fighting partner Lila (played by Josie Ho) during a mission against ferocious European bloodsucker, Duke Dekotes (Mickey Hardt). Following Lila's death, Reeve vows he will never love again - but later, he's attracted to feisty new sidekick Gipsy (Gillian Chung). Meanwhile, Reeve's younger sister Helen (Charlene Choi) has fallen in love with sentimental vampire Prince Kazaf (Edison Chen from Gen-Y Cops), a self-confessed New Age fiend wholly dependent on retainer-come-butler Prada (Anthony Wong, star of Beast Cops). When Reeve discovers that his sister's been dating a coffin geek, and the Duke is about to return to Hong Kong, his personal loyalties are tested against his professional obligations. The lone hero does his utmost to stop the evil schemes of the vampire who would be king, of course, but Kazaf is actually the Duke's intended victim, as the weakling prince holds the secret of unlocking a 'dark bible' called Day For Night - the magical source of ultimate power for vampires. The final super-powered showdown, between the nasty Duke and our reluctant kung fu heroines, is just as eagerly anticipated as it is predictable...
   Primarily a vehicle for adorable Canto-pop duo Choi and Chung, who are both likeable as the sassy leads, this is clearly inspired by the success of TV's Buffy and Angel, and the big screen comicbook outing Blade. That said, The Twins Effect (aka: Chin gei bin, and re-titled The Vampire Effect for American markets) is a lightweight action comedy with contrived romantic subplots, not a scary horror drama, and its gang of baddies (unavoidably reminiscent of The Lost Boys) are hardly more sinister than snarling pantomime villains. The wannabe tragic figure of aristocratic Kazaf, who lives in a church and happily drinks blood from bottles while refusing to suck it from necks, fails to realise his potential, except as pacifist bystander during the numerous combat scenes - all of which are superbly choreographed by martial artist Donnie Yen.
Ekin Cheng as Reeve Edison Chen as Kazaf
Jackie Chan has an extended cameo as the nervous groom whose wedding party is gatecrashed by Helen and Kazaf, and Chan reappears later in the car chase sequence as an ambulance driver, to ably demonstrate how differently and more energetic his usual acrobatic stunts play compared to the overused wire-fu of the film's main characters. Minor guest star roles for the likes of Karen Mok add to the film's wide-ranging appeal, but the best performer here is heavyweight character actor Anthony Wong, in an inspired bit of casting as the film's comic relief. Wong has appeared in crime actioners as varied as Fist Power, Hard Boiled, Full Contact, later entries of the Young And Dangerous gangster drama series, and the recent Infernal Affairs. Here, he tackles ironic humour and witty subgenre in-jokes with remarkable ease.
   Good fun overall, then, if you like Asian fantasy-action produced with Hollywood style polish, and there's a sequel in the works now.
Twins Effect

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Charlene Choi as Helen

Gillian Chung as Gipsy

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