Who doesn’t love The Twins? I mean really, what’s wrong with you? We’re talking about the cutest, bounciest, quirkiest, manufactured - in the nicest way possible - cultural phenomenon in the world today. Part-time bedroom wall fodder, full-time teenage wet dream. I don’t care if they can sing or not, I’m not going to buy their records. Hell, the kind of people that would buy their records probably don't even know what records are. When it comes to The Twins, I want them to look good, tone it down and keep me entertained. If you loved The Twins Effect, chances are you’re going to love this too. We'll ignore The Twins Effect 2 for now, despite the fact it starred both Donnie and Jackie. What a mess of a movie that was.
House Of Fury is commercial Hong Kong cinema at its best, not to mention its very worst, so we’ll focus on the good for now. Anthony Wong (not a bad start) is one of Asia’s unsung heroes; he also happens to be one of Hong Kong’s finest actors. You may have seen him in the third chapter of The Mummy franchise, but we'll focus on the positives for now. His hard boiled character shtick - combined with a talent for lighthearted, breezy banter - works really well, and there's a good chance you'll miss him when he's not around.
The Twins are restrained as well. Thought that might get your attention. Sadly - for both fans and critics alike - we’re not talking about the bound and gagged variety here; that’s a whole different website. Whom ever your preference (I’m a Gillian fan myself), The Twins are definitely less annoying than they have been in the past. Both girls are on fine form, and even though Gillian gets the lion's share of the action, Charlene fans aren't short changed either. There’s something about these girls that I can't resist, and I’m kind of hoping that will stand up in court one day.
The action choreography is of a very high standard, even Wong - who isn’t getting any younger - manages to convince in most of the OTT action sequences; though one latter face off involving Daniel Wu really wasn’t necessary. The brand of humour, particularly in the opening act, is well-observed too. Stephen Fung holds fire on the juvenile, annoying and occasionally embarrassing comedy styling that graces many a Hong Kong action movie. House of Fury is genuinely amusing at times; maybe I have the bottle of wine to thank for that.
So what about the glass half empty approach? Well, anyone anticipating a Beast Cops style return to cinematic greatness for the pairing of the two Wong's can forget about it; Michael is pretty much wasted as the films big bad. The decision to have Rocco speak English hampers Wong's performance at every turn, and his character lacks menace, bravado and cunning as a result. Wu fans will come away disappointed as well. His appearance is hopelessly bloated, deeply unnecessary and adds little substance to an enjoyable lightweight endeavor.
On the other hand, it’s great to see Josie Ho and Wu Jing on our screens again; colour me happy indeed. Jake Strickland - playing the part of Michael Wong’s son - is a breath of fresh air too, appearing in one particularly memorable action sequence. All in all, House Of Fury is an entertaining action comedy that ticks the right boxes and satisfies in all the right ways. I’m not saying it’s perfect cinema, that would be silly, but it is an enjoyable way to spend an evening, and fans of Hong Kong cinema can - and have - seen far worse. If you don’t like The Twins, and you’re not a fan of Jackie Chan produced action comedy, this frothy fight-fest is unlikely to rock your world.
The rest of us can enjoy it for what it is, without running the risk of being arrested and having our hard-drives confiscated. This is a Twins movie after all, the viewer alone is judge and jury. Probably best if we keep it that way. AW