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Jackie Chan’s son Jaycee Chan follows in his father’s footsteps with mismatched buddy comedy “Double Trouble”, very much in the traditional Hollywood style of “Rush Hour” and other such hits. The film marks the debut of director David Chang, who recently provided action choreography for Jiang Wen’s amazing “Let the Bullets Fly”, with stunt work from Nicky Li (“Shaolin”), and co-stars Xia Yu (“Wind Blast”) in the role of Chan’s foil/nemesis/bromance love interest. The Taiwanese production also features plenty of local talent, including model Vivian Dawson and television variety show hosts Chen Han Dian (“Jump! Ashin”) and Chang Fei.
The action takes place in Taiwan, with Chan as impetuous, non-team player museum security guard Jay, who runs into trouble when a crack squad of international art thieves led by the sinister Z (Vivian Dawson) steal a priceless piece of Chinese artwork on his watch. Suspected of being involved himself, he sets out to retrieve the treasure and clear his name, being forcibly partnered with visiting Mainland security guard Ocean (Xia Yu) after buffoonery lands the painting on his missing tour bus in the possession of an attractive young woman (Deng Jiajia, “Any Other Side”). The two rush around trying to keep one step ahead of Z and his bondage leather wearing henchwomen (actress/models Jessica C. and Shoko) while dealing with the attentions of a tricksy gangster (Chang Fei) and Ocean’s shameless tour guide (Chen Han Dian).
“Double Trouble” is a straightforward and unpretentious film which sets out its stall from early on and plays to its strengths, never really trying to offer anything other than knockabout action and comedy. As a buddy movie it unfolds entirely in the usual manner, Jay and Ocean spending the first couple of acts bickering and getting in each other’s way before falling for each other and launching into full-on brotherly comradeship. Since both Jaycee Chan and Xia Yu are on reasonably likeable form, this is all perfectly palatable for viewers in the mood, and while their bantering is at times utterly random and pointless, it does make for a few amusing moments. This is true of the film’s comedy in general, with lots of slapstick and stupidity, not to mention the expected misunderstandings and vague Mainland/Taiwan culture clashes making for a respectable smattering of laughs. The rest of the supporting cast are similarly fine, Dawson hamming it up to daft effect and Chang Fei and Chen Han Dian both adding in extra comic relief.
Taiwan certainly plays a big part in the film, which at times feels like an extended glossy tourist advert for the country, with lots of shots of famous sights and comments about delicious food. David Chang does an adequate job on his first outing as director, and though the film suffers from an uneven pace and lack of focus, going off on various tangents and with Jay at times seeming to not be particularly bothered about finding the painting, it’s engaging enough in its own modest way, with solid production values and a slick look. The action scenes themselves work well and help to inject a few thrills here and there, Nicky Li’s choreography being basic though fun, and there are a handful of impressive fight scenes involving the attractive, if wholly gratuitous duo of Jessica C. and Shoko – both of whom also feature in some mildly sleazy breast grabbing gags and one very odd and surprising scene of sweaty Japanese style rope bondage.
Though there’s nothing outstanding about “Double Trouble” whatsoever, this all adds up to an easy-going hour and a half of entertaining nonsense, and viewers not looking for anything more are unlikely to feel short changed. Jaycee Chan continues to prove himself a perfectly capable performer both as serious actor and clown, and he and Xia Yu go some way to helping David Chang deliver a decent combination of action and lowbrow laughs.
Hsun-Wei David Chang (director)
CAST: Jaycee Chan … Jay
Yu Xia Yu Xia … Ocean
Jiajia Deng … Jane
Vivian Dawson … Crime Boss Z
Jessica Cambensy … Treasure Thief V
Shoko … Treasure Thief M
Chun-Tian Lan … Captain John