Movie Review: The Huadu Chronicles

While it is being called the Twins Effect II but it is NOT a sequel to Twins Effect I to which involved vampires so don't expect any of those bloodthirsty creatures here.  So where do we go?  So we travel all the way back to ancient China where Jaycee Chan makes his first big role as the naive hero Charcoal Head and his sidekick Block Head (acted by Wilson Chen) where they are set in a dystopian Chinese society ruled by a cruel Empress (Qu Ying) who has destroyed the gender balance by making all men outcasts and women ruling over women.  Pretty much like the Amazons of Greek mythology but she's got one huge reason to hate women.

I would say this movie has insane amounts of kung fu more than the first one and a lot I mean a lot of swords and wire fu.  So the Empress is worried that the Star of Rex will appear, which "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (played by Donnie Yen) declares that both genders will be balanced once more which the queen dreads.  The story of the queen was somewhat revealed too early in the form of a play where Edison Chen (Peachy who dies pretty off soon and leaves a plot hole to whether or not our heroes find out he's dead...) and eventually shown by the Empress' past.  In the past, Wei Liao who serves the wicked Empress as her only male attendant was once the Emperor, he swore his love to the current Empress who had a twin sister.  He was found sleeping with her twin (but it was a deception) which the Empress turns to witchcraft hoping to punish ALL MEN for the sin of her lover.  Wei Liao castrated himself (off-screen, thankfully) to serve the Empress out of blind love and loyalty, at the same time hoping to end all problems.  Qu Ying DOES a very good part as the Empress and she's pretty gorgeous as a bonus.  I wanted Liu Xue Hua to play this part but I guess they wanted a younger woman to play the part... oh well.

There's that rather impressive fight scene done by Gillian Chung (Blue Bird) and Charlene Choi (Spring) at the beginning before the character "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" appears which ties to Fan Bing Bing's short role as Red Vulture who seeks to overthrow the empress to rule the land on her own.  I woulds say that the slave trade is pretty feasible for women seeking a husband but if they fall in love with the husbands they purchase, the Empress kills them.  WTF?  So Edo Bowman (acted by Xie Jingjing) who's an overweight marshall while serving the wicked Empress is actually lovesick for her husband Blackwood (Tony Leung Ka-Fei) who also seeks to overthrow the empress. Blackwood is also the mentor of our heroes Charcoal Head and Block head.

So the story of the "Star of Rex" is that the chosen one will arise to defeat the Empress and restore the balance of two genders.  Spring a slave trader and Blue Bird an agent of the Empress and the dethroned emperor Wei Liao get tied into it. There's also a short role from Red Vulture who seeks to become empress to where she dies eventually.  Along the way, both Spring and Blue Bird discover the errors of the wicked empress especially when they run into a group of underground people who stand for gender equality.  These underground rebels hate the Empress for the fact that she really considers love as disgusting, throwing all her frustrations at the wrong people.  Sheesh, she should get a life and get her facts straight!  Also the "Star of Rex" story, the sword known as the Blade of the Rose to which we discover that Charcoal Head is destined to rule the land and restore balance at the same time, romance develops ruining whatever plans Spring and Blue Bird have for the men.  Also there's that while not really plot contributing but still awesome fight between Jackie Chan as the Lord of Armor (whose role here is SO minimal) and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon which was most likely just fanservice for the older audience.

That doesn't go well for the Empress who's shown to be still bitter towards her twin.  Earlier, we see the Empress lock up her twin sister in torture, and also the dethroned emperor Wei Liao still loves her and hopes to free her from her hatred.  Not willing her evil regime to end, she uses both Blue Bird and Spring as her puppets in hopes to finish the heroes.  It becomes dramatic when the Empress' evil ways even causes her own army to rebel against her when Edo Bowman is reunited with her husband Blackwood and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon convinces both the Empress' army and his army to join forces.  Now the sore loser of a witch casts a spell to turn all women into men, sheesh she's killing humanity with what she does.  So I guess her magic would turn her army who betrayed her into men?  Not known but Edo Bowman and Blackwood show their love for each other a lot.

Now here's where things get really badass.  Charcoal Head and Block Head end in a battle with their love interests to where they free them by removing the Empress' spell.  The wicked Empress uses her witchcraft to try and defeat Charcoal Head, wishing to take her revenge on all males but eventually fails.  After she is near defeat, Wei Liao shows up, breaks the hatred in his ex-girlfriend's heart, they kiss passionately as the Blade of the Rose is thrust into them.  As the hatred is broken, the Empress repents of her wickedness, the wound she inflicted on herself earlier is healed and both genders regain balance.  So yeah, happy ending but instead of Charcoal Head becoming king, he declares Block Head the king of the new dynasty with Spring as the new empress.  And the ending is pretty hilarious while Charcoal Head and Blue Bird are probably now living their life as husband and wife, the new imperial family has TWINS.

My rating?  9/10.  A very good action comedy movie.  In fact, I find this better than the first Twins Effect movie.

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