Twin Dragons is a 1992 Hong Kong martial arts-action film starring Jackie Chan, and directed by Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark. The film did not receive an international release until 1999.
Made as a benefit film with the proceeds going to the Hong Kong Directors Guild, The Twin Dragons features many cameos by noted Hong Kong directors including John Woo, Wong Jing, Kirk Wong, Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark.
In the movie, Jackie Chan plays two roles, twins who were separated at birth and ended up with very different upbringings - one (John Ma) became a famous classical pianist while the other (Boomer) became a common crook.
As is inevitable in such a situation, when Ma visits Hong Kong he and Boomer are mixed up with each other and are forced to assume each other's identity. Boomer eventually has to come to the rescue of Ma when he gets himself stuck in the middle of a gang war.
The Twin Dragons was a box office hit in Hong Kong, earning HK $33,225,134. Profits were supposed to go to building a headquarters for the Hong Kong Directors' Guild, but the headquarters was never built.
The Twin Dragons was released in 1,129 North American theatres on April 9, 1999. Reviews were poor, and the film barely made a dent at the box office, earning US $2,829,990 ($2,506 per screen) in its opening weekend, on its way to a total of just $8,359,717. Of Chan's films that were re-edited for North American release, this was the least successful.
The version of The Twin Dragons that was released in North American theatres by Dimension (a subsidiary of Miramax) was given a new musical score, and its dialogue was dubbed to English with participation by Jackie Chan. In addition, this version is 11 minutes shorter than the Hong Kong version.
The version of The Twin Dragons released by Dimension received generally poor reviews from North American critics. Currently, it has a 40% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and 33% with the 'Cream of the Crop. Tellingly, the film was not screened in advance for critics.
Jeff Vice of Desert News was particularly negative:
"Even an entire army of Jackie Chans couldn't make this lame martial-arts comedy watchable. It's filled with dumb jokes, unfunny shtick and long boring stretches between the film's only real highlights, the fight scenes. And frankly, there are not nearly enough of them to justify seeing the movie. To say that 1992's 'The Twin Dragons' isn't one of Chan's best is an understatement. In fact, it makes you wonder why, of all the Chan products out there, a movie studio chose to re-release this one."
One of the more positive reviews came from Lawrence Van Gelder of the New York Times, who wrote:
"Made as a fund-raising project for the Directors' Guild of Hong Kong, this enjoyable blend of action, romance and humor requires only that the audience suspend its disbelief at the popcorn counter, ignore the paper-thin plot and dubbed dialogue and watch the two Chans work out their destinies as twins separated at birth."