of Kings has taken the best part of eight years to
come to the UK, with a title change along the way. It was originally
released in Hong Kong in 2004 as Twins Effect II,
which suggests that it is a sequel. That’s not exactly
the case though.
Twins were (and for all I know still are) a HK pop group featuring
Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung, and both this and the original
Twins Effect were aimed at cashing in on their
success. The actual films, however, are unrelated, and it’s
unsurprising that the titles have been changed for markets where
Twins are unknown.
Also popping up here is Jaycee Chan, son of Jackie making his
acting debut, and – to bolster the commercial appeal without
adding anything to the plot – there are brief appearances
from Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen, who manage a rather unconvincing,
wire-effect heavy fight scene that is clearly bolted on to the
story, and have little else to do.
The film itself is a period martial arts-fantasy-comedy, set
in a mythical time and place where a bitter and evil Empress
with a hatred of men has set up a female-dominated society.
Here, men are treated as slaves, disparagingly called ‘dumbbells’
(because of a tinkling bell on their slave collars. When 13th
Young Master (Choi) loses her dumbbells during an attempt by
royal bodyguard Blue Bird (Chung), a series of events are started
that see the pair joining forces with renegade actors Charcoal
Head (Jaycee Chan) and Blockhead (Wilson Chen), who have some
into possession of a stone tablet that is destined to find the
man who will eventually become king. While 13th Young Master
dreams of wealth and power by following the map, Blue Bird has
been charged with stopping the chosen man from achieving his
fate. But as their adventure continues, loves begins to blossom
amongst the four.
This is throwaway stuff, but it’s also undeniably entertaining,
with some typically broad comedy, a few decent fights and a
suitably spectacular finale. It looks very slick for the most
part, and you’d have to be pretty miserable not to be
swept along in the fun of it all. The cast seem to be enjoying
it, and Choi in particular is a delight as the petulant, childish
and cute opportunist.
Don’t expect anything earth shattering from this. But
if you fancy 100 minutes of disposable but enjoyable fluff,
then this might be just the thing.
IT NOW (UK)
IT NOW (USA)