In a mythical land where men are subservient to women and an evil Queen rules the land, Charcoal Head is a lowly actor in his father’s wandering troupe. But when he finds himself in possession of a mysterious stone he begins to realise that he may be the ‘Star of Rex’, prophesied to return gender equality to the land. Matters are complicated by two beautiful but deadly assassins. Blue Bird wants to protect the kingdom, whereas 13th Master wants her slaves back and the Queen will stop at nothing to prevent the prophecy from coming true.

The Twins Effect 2 aka Blade of Kings (2004) – Director: Patrick Leung, Corey Yuen

Is The Twins Effect 2 aka Blad of Kings appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 106 mins

Starring: Gillian Chung, Charlene Choi, Daniel Wu

Genre: Martial Arts, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

 

REVIEW

Blade of Kings’ is a sort of sequel to the hugely entertaining ‘Twins Effect’ (you can read our review of that movie here). It features most of the same cast and roughly the same blend of drama, comedy and kung-fu, but the plot and setting is completely different. Indeed, the plot is an unfocused mess. The setting in fantasy version of ancient China where women rule the land and men are under the boot of oppression. Whilst the unfairness of gender stereotyping is occasionally touched upon, the focus of the movie jumps from a magical adventure, to comedy slapstick, to balletic kung-fu and then right back to straight-faced drama. It is therefore rather difficult to ever get a decent hold on what is supposed to be happening.

Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung (who, when not acting, perform as Chinese pop duo ‘Twins’) are again very watchable as two strong-minded female leads. They each have respective love stories which are fun and sweet to watch despite the often bizarre logic that keeps them apart from the men they are attracted to. One such man is Charcoal Head played by Jaycee Chan, son of Jackie Chan (who has a small cameo as ‘Lord of Armour’, a guard statue that suddenly comes to life for a kung-fu showdown. No, really). Chan brings a put-upon lovability to the role which is a nice contrast to the somewhat cheeky Blockhead (Bolin Chen). When ‘Blade of Kings’ then throws in random sorcery (like a love cheat sister’s soul being imprisoned into a rock), some underground people driven to mimicry madness (who are introduced as magical bandits but then are defeated by constant laughter), and guilt-ridden high priest in love with the Queen and doing her bidding (Daniel Wu), what is left is an entertaining but thoroughly confusing movie. Regardless the high energy on-screen at all times will keep adults and children glued to the screen, although for the adults this may be due to pure confusion.

IS ‘TWINS EFFECT 2’ AKA ‘BLADE OF KINGS’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The tone of the violence varies throughout this movie but is generally never particularly strong. In the opening scene there is a panning shot and voiceover explaining that many men are kept as slaves. One man is seen to be branded and he yells in pain, but this is a 2 second shot and the tone is generally comedic.

One scene shows the Queen’s fortune teller: a young woman’s sprit trapped in a large rock. The spirit emerges from the rock and is clearly naked, although the effects show only her upper shoulders and her chest is obscured. She holds two men aloft by their heads and they writhe. The Queen orders her to kill them and the spirit then throws the men into a ravine, although the camera pans out at this point and it happens in the background. The Queen then uses magic on the spirit to hurt her. The spirit cries out for mercy but the dialogue makes it clear that the Queen has a deep hatred for her. The Queen also has blood oozing down her chest from roughly where her heart would be and this constantly flows throughout the film. A flashback shows a knife pressing in the same spot and blood trickling down it. This same flashback also has a short moment where a man and a woman are lying in bed. Her bare shoulder can be seen and it is clear that they have just been intimate.

During a fight scene where the main party are attacked by tribal barbarians, one of the attackers has an arrow driven through his mouth. This happens in the middle ground and is not gory, but is lingered upon for about 5 seconds. At the end of the movie two characters are run through with a sword in a dramatic finale although this is not gory.

When we meet the Queen she talks about ‘whorehouses’ with disdain. She is shown to hate all things in love. There are two cute lovebirds flapping nearby and she uses magic on one so that it becomes frozen into a stone pillar with the outline of the bird remaining visible. This may upset children sensitive to animal cruelty. Similarly there is a later scene where the good characters are hungry and one of the men is told to fetch a rabbit for dinner. He then chases rabbits along the grass plains and holds one up by its ears, although he does let it go unharmed. Also it is suggested that the Queen draws some power from a large eagle. During the climactic fight, the eagle is shot with an arrow and dragged off camera where it is implied the character is ripping off its feathers and then bashes the eagle against a wall several times.

There are some scary moments in this movie. The tribal barbarians mentioned above have sharpened teeth and there are various quick shots showing them in close up as they threaten the good characters. When our heroes get to the ‘Haunted City’ this is depicted as a forest covered in a blanket of fog. We hear strange noises and the ground begins to shake. Furry ‘people’ with glowing red eyes emerge from the ground as huge plumes of black smoke that then form into human shapes. They attack the party whilst roaring like lions. This is an extended scene of around 5 – 10 minutes which is played for fear and so could be a little intense of younger viewers. However, as circumstances develop, the threat diminishes.

Lastly, there is a large amount of unusual sexual humour in this film including a strange bit where one of the male characters says he will cut off his penis. He turns his back to the camera and makes a sawing motion with a knife. However, he then holds aloft a carrot. In the final third of the movie a magical curse begins to fall on the men which have the effect of partially turning them into women. Men begin to grow breasts and the camera constantly zooms onto their chests to show large bulges budding forth. The chests are always covered and this is treated rather comically, but it is completely unexpected when it happens. The phrase ‘sex change operation’ is used in the subtitled dialogue.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘Twins Effect’ was in essence a comedy action movie. ‘Blade of Kings’ takes each individual element of comedy, drama, magic, romance and martial arts and then pumps each one up to the extreme. The result is that, where ‘Twins Effect’ was a fun and fresh movie, good for most audiences, ‘Blade of Kings’ is doomed to be purely for the die-hard Asian cinema fans. Due to the fear element of the Haunted City, mild violence and rather strange physical humour, we would suggest that this movie is not appropriate for children aged 9 and under.

  • Violence:  3/5
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5
  • Fear Factor: 3/5
  • Sexual Content: 3/5       
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (one use of a moderate swear word)
  • Dialogue: 1/5 (the Queen is pure hatred and her dialogue may be distressing) 
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of destiny, personal betterment, slavery, gender equality and fighting prejudice.

Words by Mike Record

 

Blade of Kings [Blu-ray] [2004] [US Import]


New From: £14.74 GBP In Stock

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