Plot: twins wreak havoc on corrupt governments and corporations.
Neil Breen is, or at least should be, considered the preeminent hack of the 21st century. As the Donald Farmer of low budget fringe cinema and Christian proselytizing he has somehow helmed 4 more features since debuting with Double Down (2005) some thirteen years earlier. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to expect some, or any kind, of growth from our favorite Las Vegas hobbyist filmmaker within that timeframe. No such thing will be forthcoming. It’s a sad day indeed when Fateful Findings (2013) is to be considered his magnum opus and the gold standard to which all things Breen are to be measured. While all of his previous features could roughly be classified as thrillers Twisted Pair is his first action movie. Or whatever action means in the Breen-verse. You'd almost imagine that Breen saw Dead Ringers (1988). Suffice to say, old Neil is always happy to oblige. Twisted Pair has all the familiar elements and is easily one of Breen’s most incoherent and unhinged offerings thus far. That’s something…
Neil explored the concept of the duality of man once before in I Am Here…. Now (2009) almost a decade earlier, and the idea of diametrically opposite identical twins was too good not to use again. In theory that should mean that Breen should have gotten better because Twisted Pair expands upon something he did earlier. In actuality Twisted Pair – or his Christian interpretation of Dead Ringers (1988) - is just about as sordid as anything and everything else within his modest repertoire. The biggest change is that time around Neil has decided upon a more action-oriented direction. The toy guns from I Am Here…. Now (2009) have been duly replaced by more realistic-looking replicas and there are plenty of explosions. Since this is a Neil Breen production there, of course, was no money for pyrotechnics, or anything of the sort; and these explosions leave no surface – or structural damage, or even debris for that matter. Yep, old Neil has discovered Windows 95 sprites and CGI gunfire. Twisted Pair is all the worse for it. Twisted Pair might not be the first Breen romp to feature technological advancement and artificial intelligence in his godly mission, but it is the first where it’s pivotal to the plot.
At a young age identical twins Cade and Cale Altair (behold Neil's ability to navigate Wikipedia by naming his characters after the brightest star in the constellation of Aquila) are abducted by an alien lifeform calling itself the Supreme Being. The Supreme Being instructs the twins in the ways of The Force and imbues them with god-like abilities and powers. When they have come of age the two are returned to Earth and ordered to fight the forces of evil. Cade (Neil Breen) is succesfull in his missions whereas Cale (Neil Breen) has consistently failed his objectives. The Supreme Being relieves him of his power and releases him on Earth. Cade has a good home and his loving girlfriend Alana (Sara Meritt) while drug-addicted Cale lives in a decaying apartment with his junkie girlfriend Donna (Siohbon Chevy Ebrahimi, as Siohbun Ebrahimi) and metes out his “own form of justice” by kidnapping, torturing, and killing politicians, lawyers, corporate businessmen, and presidents of the banks. Cade works as a special agent for an unspecified government agency and he’s ordered by the director (Denise Bellini) to track and take down the megalomaniacal Cuzzx (Greg Smith Burns, as Gregory Smith Burns). Cuzzx plans on taking over the world by unleashing a corrupt version of programmable virtual reality on mankind.
If the plot of Twisted Pair sounds familiar that’s because it is. It takes the diametrically opposite identical twins of I Am Here…. Now (2009) (where they were played by Joy Senn and Elizabeth Sekora, respectively) and places them in a premise that draws from both Double Down (2005) and Fateful Findings (2013), and that’s not even the only thing. This is, by far, the most self-referential of the current Breen offerings. First there are the twins like in I Am Here…. Now (2009), there’s a man in black dress shoes just like in Fateful Findings (2013), there’s talks of biochemical terrorism just like in Double Down (2005), there’s mention of a Supreme Being just like in I Am Here…. Now (2009), and in one scene Breen can be seen talking to a skull just like in I Am Here…. Now (2009) and Pass Thru (2016). Apropos of nothing there’s a gratuitous reference to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) that makes no sense whatsoever in the context it appears in, and towards the end scenes from Pass Thru (2016) can be seen in a home theater. Also making a return is Breen’s infamous green screen, and now Neil has discovered CGI. It goes without saying that it all looks terrible. As always, Breen is bestowed with near god-like powers; and as always, there’s a mantra. This time it’s the imminently and infinitely quotable, “I don't need to carry a weapon! I AM the weapon!”
Notably absent are the meandering shots of the Nevada desert, any and all gratuitous implied female nudity, the now-expected stilted seduction scenes, as well as auteur inserted butt shots. Those hoping to catch a glimpse of Sara Meritt, Siohbon Chevy Ebrahimi, or Ada Masters in the buff will be sorely disappointed. There’s not even sideboob in this. The only thing giving Twisted Pair what little production value it has are the locations in and around Nevada State College. You’d imagine that as a successful realtor Breen has access to many locations, but that appears not to be the case. The use of green screen is almost criminal and the visual effects/CGI are so poor that it makes you wonder why old Neil even bothered. The “action” part is laughable, and seems to consist almost exclusively of Neil power-jumping from one location to the next. The editing is as jumbly and choppy as ever; either cutting off too early or too late. Instead of using a body double (or a store mannequin) for the character scenes and inserting close-ups and reaction shots where needed, Breen simply interacts with himself through usage of his trusty (and very fake looking) green screen. For every location he can’t afford there’s a royalty-free green screen or stock photo. It looks exactly as amateurish as it sounds. The same goes for why Neil Breen hasn’t begun shooting in High-Definition or 4/8K yet. If there’s anything to be said about Rene Perez, at least his films consistently look good.
For a filmmaker who has been at it for a decade and a half Neil Breen has shown precious little, if any, growth on either the technical side of things or in terms of writing or production. Twisted Pair is less than half the movie that Fateful Findings (2013) was, and even I Am Here…. Now (2009) was superior from a production standpoint. In the ensuing decade Breen’s productions have somehow gotten worse. His movies have always been spotty from a technical point at very best, but Twisted Pair is Breen at his absolute worst. The lighting is…. dubious, the audio design and quality varies from scene to scene, and where are else are you going to see detective misspelled as “dectective” TWICE IN THE SAME PARAGRAPH. Neil is just as terrible at action as he’s at thrillers, drama and romance – and character studies or whatever it was that Double Down (2005) was supposed to be in the hands of a slightly more sane and competent director.
For one thing, you have to appreciate the tenacity (or ignorance, lack of self-awareness or competence) of a director like Breen. Obviously he’s a man with a dream, or at least a vision. However incoherent or unhinged it might be. He shows no signs of getting better with age, but he’s not giving up either. As always, it’s impossible to tell which demographic this is supposed to appeal to. Neil Breen has carved out a niche for himself, and even if he never rolled cameras on anything again – his cinematic legacy is ensured. Twisted Pair is Neil Breen at his worst… and that’s saying something. As always with the Breen, some viewer discretion may be advised. And the worst part? Twisted Pair is the opening chapter of what is promised to be this epic, multi-episode saga. Yeah, Neil is actually threatening the continuing adventures of Cade Altair. Abandon all hope...