Looking around in my local multiplex on a boring Sunday afternoon, me and my friend chose to check out the recent Indie film circuit and this was how we stumbled on a Taiwanese action buddy comedy flick “Double Trouble”. I wasn’t too familiar with Taiwanese director David Chang and I am not impressed with Jaycee Chan’s acting resume (Jaycee is the son of martial arts legend Jackie Chan) and this included the Hong Kong action flick “Invisible Target”. But hey, after I see something more mainstream, I often go for a more independent kind of movie and “Double Trouble” fits the bill. Honestly, I wanted to see this because of Jessica Cambensy of “Beach Spike“ fame, who may be one of the hottest Asian models/actresses on the planet…a guy has to have his own moments of guilty pleasure and idiocy. "Hubba-hubba" moments I can say....
The film begins as we see Jay (Jaycee Chan) and Ocean (Xia Yu) tied face to face on chairs. The film tries to begin in the middle of the action and then, the viewer is taken two days before that scene when the two had a almost ‘milk’ incident. Ocean is a tourist from China, taking time off from his job as a security guard and Jay is a part of a security force assigned to a museum which is about to display one of Taiwan’s 400 year old national treasures. Jay’s ego and the desire to work alone soon results with a fumbled art robbery of two sexy cat burglars (Jessica C and Shoko- since, well, sending in your sexiest, scantily-clad female operatives usually result in success). This leads up to the lost treasure being hauled off by a tour group. Jay now stands accused as part of the heist and he must work with Ocean to clear his name and find the missing artwork.
“Double Trouble” is your standard, light-hearted, semi-fun buddy flick that gets released in America, and I wonder how a movie such as this could even be released on a limited run here in the States. I guess this is why most people I know always see Asian movies as something that cannot compare with Hollywood, and yet no one can deny the influences of Asian action films in Hollywood’s best action movies. Director David Chang’s film can be watchable and fun in a very cursory sense. I know most buddy comedies rely on the chemistry and charisma between the actors and for some reason, this film reminded me of the movie “National Security” as with what I saw it was supposed to be. For a formula film with a very limited script to succeed, the direction needs to establish its stakes and give the viewer cause to root for the lead characters.
The problems begin with the movie when it seemed to get dragged down with a lot of unnecessary scenes that was supposed to be funny and yet it isn’t. It couldn’t get me to sympathize and become attached to Jay and Ocean. It wasn’t because the two weren’t charismatic or didn’t have any chemistry; it was because the script was trying too hard to become more than it was intended. The pace and the flow of the film gets dragged with one scene dragging into the next; and the supporting cast who were meant to add some dimensions got in its way a little too much. I mean there is Idol (a tourist guide annoyingly obsessed with American Idol), there is the “little mermaid” mother and daughter team and there is “Brother Wu” who is a gangster. They were intentional outrageous characters that became unneeded stops that killed the movie for me. Chang should’ve focused on the development of the bond between Jay and Ocean a little more carefully; and the villains led by a handsome tall guy were severely underused (hey, there was a S & M scene that went nowhere), and this made both the good guys and the bad guys very dull.
There was nothing that made the flimsy and uninspired screenplay much more likable. Ok, save for the two sexy cat burglars, there is nothing truly entertaining in the movie (too bad Jessica C had very limited screen time). The comedy was a little forced (ok, I laughed at times) and the action scenes were laughably so bad. It was so obvious that Jaycee was using wires to pull off the moves and the fights range from bad to mediocre as in the choreography and camera work. Jaycee may be charming to the ladies (or so I was told), but he cannot pull off the moves like his father could. To make things worst the final act was anticlimactic and a little too short. What makes it worst is the predictability of the little so-called surprise twist. The over-usage of green screen also gets in the way of the action; and this isn’t usually what one expects from an Asian action movie.
Sure, the film may be a success in the low-budget film circuit and some scenes in the tour bus can be a little cute (the actress who played Jane is very attractive) but this is your typical, run of the mill buddy comedy that proves to be a lot more shallow than most buddy movies I have seen. It is too bad, there is the potential talent working behind the movie, but the unskilled direction and laughingly bad screenplay just failed to do anything with them. I have to tell you, I am not a Jaycee Chan fan, and this is a huge step towards the wrong direction. Now, if Jessica C. had significantly more screentime (ahem) I may have enjoyed this a little more.
Skip it [1 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
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