After the success of “Rush Hour”, Dimension is back to re-editing and releasing Jackie Chan’s Hong Kong films in America with this film from 1992. Typical of Chan’s films, 90% of the effort went into the fight sequences with little to spare for the rest of the movie.
The premise is this: Boomer and John Ma (Jackie Chan and… Jackie Chan!) are identical twins separated at birth in Hong Kong. John grows up abroad with their rich parents and becomes a famous pianist and conductor. Boomer grows up with an alcoholic but loving adoptive mother to be a tough martial artist and streetwise hustler. Cut to the present; Johnny’s back in town for a concert while Boomer and his pal Tyson (Teddy Robin) get in deep trouble with the mob. The two inadvertently switch places as they discover each other’s existence. Hilarity ensues.
Atypical of Chan’s films is the reason this film was made. It was a benefit for the Hong Kong Director’s Guild. As such, it was directed by two of Hong Kong’s hottest directors at the time, Ringo Lam (fresh off “Full Contact”) and Tsui Hark (“Peking Opera Blues”, “Once Upon a Time in China”) and features other directors in many cameos and other speaking parts, including John Woo.
If you like Chan’s Hong Kong films, you’ll like this. Much of the “dramatic” work and dialogue are horrible but the stunt work here is actually superior to many of Chan’s films, especially a sequence in an auto testing lab.
Still, it’s a shame this is the only time Chan worked with Hark or Lam as neither put forth their best effort. Both filmmakers were ill-suited to Chan’s style of filmmaking but they were the biggest directors available for the job. John Woo, who had actually worked with Chan in the 70s, was about to work on his American debut, “Hard Target” with [shudder] Jean-Claude Van Damme. This fate also awaited Lam (“Maximum Risk”) and Hark (“Double Team”, “Knock-Off”). As Jean-Claude covered nearly the exact same territory the year before in “Double Impact”, maybe the boy from Brussels could have just squared off against two Chans and saved all the Hong Kong guys the embarassment of their American debuts.