How 1 Jackie Chan Movie Broke His Character Trend

How 1 Jackie Chan Movie Broke His Character Trend

Jackie Chan is generally known for playing underdog heroes, but his 1992 action-comedy Twin Dragons enabled him to do something different.
Jackie Chan’s 1992 action-comedy Twin Dragons broke a long-standing trend of his on-screen persona in a big way. Directed by Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark, Twin Dragons stars Chan as identical twin brothers Boomer and John Ma, who were separated at birth. When John returns to Hong Kong to perform a live concert as conductor, he and Boomer cross paths and find themselves in a battle against a ruthless Hong Kong crime boss.

Twin Dragons is a product of Jackie Chan’s heyday, with all the wild stunts, action, and comedy one would expect from a golden age Jackie Chan movie. One added element of Twin Dragons is that, in portraying twin brothers, Chan got the chance to deviate rather sharply from his usual big-screen persona. In effect, Jackie Chan plays characters who embody the two extremes of his career at once in Twin Dragons.
Twin Dragons Combined Jackie Chan’s Two Traditional Character Types

As a way to set himself apart from the stoic warrior image of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan sought to portray underdog heroes from the early stages of his career. Chan established this persona in 1978’s Drunken Master and would emphasize it in movies like the Armour of God franchise, the Police Story series, and other movies like Rumble in the Bronx and Mr. Nice Guy. Meanwhile, whenever Chan has headlined less comedically-oriented action movies, he has occasionally portrayed much tougher characters, such as in Crime Story and The Foreigner. In Twin Dragons, he got the chance to play both at once.
As Boomer, Chan is a genuine tough guy very familiar with Hong Kong’s criminal underworld, and a highly formidable martial artist much less in over his head than the average Jackie Chan hero. John Ma, by contrast, is the complete opposite, a cultured and well-renown conductor completely lacking in any fighting skills. It is only through the vague mental link Boomer and John share as twins that John is able to triumph over his opponent in the movie’s final fight, with Boomer essentially taking over John’s body with his punches and kicks. However, this brotherly dynamic was not created without some behind-the-scenes issues.

Twin Dragons’ Production Let Jackie Chan Down
While Chan’s dual performances in Twin Dragons are great and the movie’s action scenes generally fantastic, the split-screen effects whenever both brothers are on-screen together are very shoddy. Scenes of Boomer and John standing in frame together often sees the shoulder or head of one or the other flickering visibly, and it makes many of their scenes together the weakest element of the film. Jackie Chan himself was unhappy with this aspect of Twin Dragons, and in a movie involving twin brothers played by the same actor, that is a shortcoming that cannot be overlooked.

That is not to say that Twin Dragons is an overall letdown. The movie’s comedic mishaps when Boomer and John are switched or mistaken for one another are quite funny, and the fight scenes are spectacular, especially Boomer and John’s showdown with the gang aboard a Hong Kong freighter to save Boomer’s kidnapped friend Tyson (Teddy Robin). When all is said and done, Twin Dragons does great with its action and Jackie Chan’s style of comedy, and in giving Chan the chance to play two polar opposite character archetypes from his career – as long as viewers can overlook the terrible effects whenever they’re on-screen together.

Post navigation


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *