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Half Twin
Year: 2006

Candy Lo and Carl Ng

Director: Yip Wai-Ying
Producer: Tony Leung Hung-Wah
Cast: Candy Lo Hau-Yam, Eric Kot Man-Fai, Carl Ng Ka-Lung, Bella Zhang, Michelle Zhang
The Skinny: Better than expected, though if you're familiar with Tony Leung Hung-Wah's work, you'll know that expectations here are subterranean. Candy Lo and Eric Kot deserve better.
by Kozo:

     Half Twin is the latest from filmmaker Tony Leung Hung-Wah, the man behind the underwhelming PTU File - Death Trap, plus the all-out terrible Demoniac Flash. Leung only wrote and produced Half Twin, and left the directing duties to Yip Wai-Ying, the man behind the forgettable I Want To Get Married. The teaming of these two purveyors of average cinema should lead any self-respecting filmgoer to seriously doubt the quality of Half Twin. Fortunately, the film is actually better than expected - meaning it doesn't completely, absolutely blow. Obviously, that's not a ringing endorsement.
     Candy Lo does double duty as twin sisters Lok Ling and Lok Yan. A grainy flashback reveals that the two were separated when only nine years old, with Yan going with her father to Shenzen, where he climbed the corporate ladder and gave Yan a decent upbringing and a solid future. Ling, on the other hand, was taken to Hong Kong by her mother, who soon died, leaving Ling to face an unfortunate life without any sort of parental guidance. Ling and Yan meet thanks to corporate sleaze Ko (Carl Ng), who's on Yan's bad side due to some bad business decisions at Yan's company. The first meeting goes poorly; Ling doesn't really want to reconcile with Yan, plus Ko has something nasty up his sleeve. Ko plans to have Ling pose as Yan and cede control of the company to him, thus giving him ultimate power and revenge against the woman who called him a crappy employee. But will Ling go along?
     Yes she does, because if not there wouldn't be a movie. Half Twin focuses heavily on Lok Ling, and Candy Lo gives her noticeable inner life, if not the darkness necessary for the role. Half Twin possesses the workings of a dark and twisted potboiler, and even throws out such sordid details as first-degree murder and the rape of a 10 year-old girl (Yikes!). Still, despite the darkness presented, the film goes soft when it begins to focus on Ling's burgeoning self-discovery. After falling in with Ko and subsequently getting annoyed at his smarmy ways, Ling befriends Yan's boyfriend Wing (Eric Kot), who's under the impression that she's Yan. Ling plays along, the two experience a semi-cute pseudo-romantic interlude, and Ling finally learns that maybe it's not so helpful to be pissed off all the time. For screenwriting students, that's called a character arc.
     Ling's rediscovery of her good side is a likable detail, and the filmmakers manage a few moments of subtle character interaction. The scenes are sometimes lifted from other films, or they're staged in a curiously light manner, but there does seem to be some attention to character in Half Twin. That Tony Leung Hung-Wah and Yip Wai-Ying even bothered trying is worthy of mention, and possibly even credit. Sadly, this attention to character is complemented by a largely predictable thriller plotline that's only tense because the overbearing musical score demands it. For a supposed thriller, predictability + lack of tension + a curiously light tone can only equal one thing: mediocrity. Half Twin achieves that handily, such that whatever character or tension the film creates doesn't seem to matter all that much.
     Sometimes there's even too much character; great pains are taken to explicate the motives of even the most unlikable individuals, presumably because the filmmakers want the characters humanized. Maybe they are made slightly more human, but given the heinous acts they're supposed to have perpetrated, gaining sympathy seems to be asking too much of the audience. None of the bad guys in this film are charismatic or developed enough to be tragic or sympathetic, meaning their personal pains are merely distracting and not that interesting. The actors could be blamed, though it may be more appropriate to blame the filmmakers. Half Twin is ultimately very bland, and is only better than expected because expectations are rock-bottom already. Here's another relative measure: Half Twin isn't bad for a Tony Leung Hung-Wah movie. That may not mean much, but it's something. (Kozo 2006)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Kam and Ronson
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of Kam and Ronson Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen