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A surprisingly good Hong Kong vampire movie, despite the lack of hopping vampires! One bad vampire wants to kill all the vampire princes, but one of the princes wants to date a human and some other ridiculousness takes place. But, somehow, it works! It does help that Jackie Chan has a small role in this modern action-filled vampire ta
Donnie Yen Action with Hong Kong Pop Singers! And It Works!
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 02/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Playful Hong-kong actioner "Vampire Effect" is also known as "The Twins Effect" which describes its nature more precisely. The film was a big hit in summer 2003 in Hong Kong partly because its stars -- enormously popular singers, "Twins." The duo Gillian Chung and Charlene Choi play the main characters of the film, kind of the Oriental "Buffy" vamipre killers, and any mention of the name Jackie CHan means just a cameo (though it comes with a good action).The story is too simple and unoriginal to take seriously. Reeve (Ekin Cheng) is a vamipre hunter whose sister Helen (Charlene Choi) falls in love with ... yes, a handsome and benevolent vampire prince Kazav (Edison Chen). But a villainous European vampire (Swiss-born Mickey Hardt) comes all the way to Hong Kong, to seek for the secret of the holy book, and so on and on. You also meet a novice vamire hunter (Gillian Chung), who naturally falls in love with Reeve.Just because this film is a vehicle for the two pop idols does not mean "Vampire Effect" stinks. The fact is, because of the participation of Donnie Yen ("Blade 2" or Jet Li's "Hero"), the action sequence is more than satisfactory, and even the two heroines' actions are not bad. Donnie Yen provides very good stunts, especially when he uses swords, and though the girls are not perfect fighters, it is easily felt that they did hard training for the film.I found the acting "Twins" acceptable, if not great. Though some may hate it, I thought their way of screaming or smiling very cute. And you should remember, this is "Buffy" not runner for the Oscars. If the girls look cartoonish (and they do), why complain? They know what they are doing. Jackie Chan appears, but his extended cameo (he shows up twice) means a few (but respectable and funny) stunts. This time he uses an ambulance in his fight scenes, and some of them are really hilarious. And see his "marriage" with Karen Mok (opposite to Jet Li in "Black Mask" or the cop in "So Close"), which proves their great comic sense. Also you see Anthony Wong ("Infernal Affair") and Josie Ho. The effects are sometimes cheesy, but overall decently done. (See the opening "London" station scenes which are in fact shot in Bangkok in Thailand). The film is making fun of some of the rules of vampire films, but the film belongs mainly to martial arts action.It's a popcorn movie in a good sense, and never takes itself seriously. Still it has some great stunts, plus pretty girls (or vampire hunters). Just have fun, that's all you have to do."
Lots of fun
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 03/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Here we go again: no sooner do I brag about how I can't stand to watch vampire movies, how I simply won't watch another one no matter how many people sing their praises, than I'm sitting down in front of the television for yet another excursion into this tired genre. In my opinion I've seen too many Count Dracula knockoffs, too many stakes pounded through chests and too many wholesome maidens swooning in the arms of a cape wearing bloodsucker, to give a darn about the latest vampire effort. I should say I have seen a few films in this genre that I liked and would watch again, namely "Fright Night" and some of the Christopher Lee/Hammer pictures, but I have no desire to spend a day or two a month plodding through the expansive library that must surely now exist for these films. It seems like every young director with a love for horror and a dream makes a vampire flick on his first or second outing (zombie and slasher pictures rank high, too), and I won't have it anymore. MAKE SOMETHING ELSE! Use that gray matter between your ears and come up something original for once! Please, no more vampire pictures!
Having said that, I kneel before the alter of hypocrisy when I say that I liked "Vampire Effect." In fact, I think it's a dandy little picture with a lot of charm. It's a story set sometime in the future (amazing how the future looks like a couple of years ago, but that's o.k.) when vampires present a big problem. There's even some agency that trains people to go out and defang these monstrosities, an agency that provides its operatives with little glass vials of vampire blood so as to grant these soldiers a few minutes of supernatural fighting ability. "Vampire Effect" opens with one of these agents, Reeve (Ekin Cheng), and his female partner as they prepare to launch an assault on a pack of bloodsuckers in a train station. The resulting combat sequences involve shattering glass, lots of cartwheeling bodies, and a tragedy that forces Reeve to cast about for a new partner. Surprise! His next comrade is a female too, Gypsy (Gillian Chung), who is a sassy little firecracker with a secret love in her ticker for the stoic Reeve. In order to convince him she's up to the task ahead, Gypsy tries to make nice with Reeve's sister Helen (Charlene Choi) who is currently weathering her latest shattered relationship. Sadly, the two don't get along and end up battling on a rooftop with huge bamboo sticks
Enter Prince Kazaf (Edison Chen), a vampire who sets up operations in a church (!). He happens to fall in love with Helen and subsequently decides he doesn't want to drink her blood. What follows is as sappy as it is amusing: Kazaf's fellow vampires express dismay with the leader's newfound love, Kazaf calls Helen on a cell phone from his coffin, and the two even go out on a date during the day time. How is this last event possible? Because Kazaf puts on an ointment to protect his skin from the sun--at one point he starts smoking when some of it wears off--in order to hide his true identity from Helen. Helen would never notice her new beau is a vampire (she's a ditz), but events soon arise that reveal Kazaf's true identity. A European vampire by the name of Duke Dekotes (Mickey Hardt) and his minions want to kill Kazaf in order to procure a very special item, an item of great power and importance to the undead. It should go without saying that Helen, Reeve, and Gypsy soon end up in the middle of this epic series of events. Who lives and who dies isn't nearly as important as the fun special effects in the climactic battle scene. I should also mention that Jackie Chan shows up in a bit role as a man preparing to marry a promiscuous alcoholic. You have to watch to see how that fits in, let me tell you.
"Vampire Effect" is a fun, mindless movie. Gillian Chung and Charlene Choi are a lot of fun to watch as they ham it up endlessly in their respective roles. They spend most of their time onscreen mugging and gesticulating wildly, but somehow manage to pull it all off without coming across as ridiculous. What I liked best about the film is what I usually like best about these types of films: the action scenes. The bamboo stick fight is choreographed quite well and is great fun to watch. So are the combat sequences between the vampires and the vampire killers. Even Jackie Chan ends up caught in the middle of one of these showdowns (hanging out of an ambulance and using a light pole to great effect, respectively). Unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of gore here, but I think that stems from the fact that the two stars of the film, Choi and Gillian, are pop singers in their native land. For some inexplicable reason pop music fans tend to stay away from films containing exploding heads or flying viscera. No matter, however, as "Vampire Effect" is entertaining enough without lots of bloodshed. Heck, I didn't even mind the over the top CGI effects.
The only extras on the DVD that I saw were trailers for "Returner," "Tokyo Godfathers," "Underworld," "The Medallion," and "Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters." I might have to reassess my opinion of vampire flicks after watching this one--nah, I won't. I still want to stay away from the genre as much as possible, but movies like this one at least make me think once in awhile about what I might be missing. Give this one a shot if you like Asian horror, Asian comedy, cute Asian chicks, or if you wonder what all three of these elements would like under one roof.
A Pleasent Surprise!
Jonathan Willbanks | Bethany, OK USA | 06/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll be honest, when I rented this, I wasn't expecting much. Let's face it, any film called "Vampire Effect" with Jackie Chan as the headlining star isn't going to win any academy awards. I must say however that I was pleasently surprised. The refreshingly simple, yet compelling plot was enough to draw me in, however it was the special effects that made this film so fun. The fight scenes, CGI, and wirework rival the first matrix film and are thoroughly impressive. The film does not have the cheap feel that plagues many Hong Kong films. The english dubbing is for the most part excellent, however, this sometimes cheapens the experience. I would definately watch it with the subtitles the first time. This film's only downfalls are some overly cheesy dialogue and a few scenes of stupid humor that feel completely out of place in this film. Watch this film with the right mindset and I guarentee that you won't be dissapointed."
Cute and stupid, but fun
Cherie Priest | Seattle, Washington | 06/30/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Vampire Effect (aka., The Twins Effect) is a campy Hong Kong fooey flick, featuring a pair of Chinese pop stars--the "Twins" Gillian Chung and Charlene Choi. So imagine, if you will, a Buffy-esque movie featuring a pair of uber-cute punk-adorable pop stars, a slick-yet-inexplicably-corny gang of "royal" vampires, a vicious pack of (one must assume) lesser proletariat vampires, and an extended cameo wherein Jackie Chan attempts to wed a staggering alcoholic. In short, there is no taking this movie seriously; but this is acceptable and even enjoyable, because no one ever took this movie less seriously than the people who made it--with the possible exception of the people who are "acting" in it. The plot is remarkably unremarkable: a froofy European vampire is nancing about the globe killing vampire princes in order to open a magical book that will endow him with extra super special Vampire Powers of Doom?. The last of these vampire princes has taken up residence with his entourage in a spooky church, which he uses as courting headquarters to gain the affections of (you guessed it) a bad-assed vampire hunter's baby sister. These star-crossed lovers spend their courtship giggling on the phone, crashing the occasional wedding (see previous reference to Jackie Chan), and slinking around behind big brother vampire slayer's back.Of course, as part of this classist fable of economic disparity where wealth and social status equal moral virtue, the hot young vampire prince with a pre-teen spikey hair-do is really a good vampire--unlike the unwashed vampire masses, who eat babies and kick puppies. This upstanding royal lad becomes the target of Mr. Evil European Vampire, esq.,--a big blonde man with blood-red eyes and a deep-seated desire to be Anne Rice's lap cat when he grows up. Wackiness ensues.And by "wackiness" I mean, "Watch Jackie Chan, a helpful paramedic, stuff antidepressants into vampire goons' gaping maws--a course of action which turns the goons into very slow breakdancers with stilted white-guys-on-quaaludes moves, enabling our heroes to escape sharp-fanged, Mr. Roboto-style peril." So you see, I do not use the big "W" word lightly. In the end, this movie is saved by the grace of its writing. The characters are charming even when they're behaving nonsensically, and the dialogue is so goofy that it's downright believable. Also, the people are hot and well dressed. Hot, well-dressed people can do a lot to save a poorly-made movie."
Kunkoh | Seattle, WA USA | 05/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My friend and I were just coming back from seeing Van Helsing and were a little disappointed with that movie; so we decided to just rent something to fill out the evening. From the box and cover, this looked like a fun/campy vampire flick.Boy were we surprised with how GOOD this movie actually was! It had some really great fight scenes; the acting was good; the special effects were surprisingly well done as well. Even the plot was decent!If you like the vampire or kung fu genre of flicks, you'll love this one.I'm definitely buying this flick for my collection!"