Posts Tagged ‘Clash


HIFF 2010 Review: Clash with Q&A

Action stars Johnny Nguyen and Veronica Ngo clean up good during Clash (Bay Rong).

The Film:

Finally! My third night working the festival and I closed out working my shift by seeing the last film of the night, Clash (or Bay Rong as it is originally titled in Vietnam). Having read the basic synopsis written by the festival, I was pretty sure I was in for a decent Vietnamese action flick. What I got was a pretty cool experience.

Basic Plot: Trinh (Veronica Ngo) puts together a team of mercenaries to pull of a snatch and grab job.  Of course you have a bunch of diverse personalities on this team, including Quan (Johnny Nguyen), who has a somewhat checkered past. Their target, a laptop computer with sensitive information held by French gangsters. It’s not going to be easy and nothing appears as it seems when you’ve built a team who gets paid to fight.

What I Liked/Found Interesting:

  • Great action. Throughout the film the fight sequences were superbly choreographed and shot. It was fast paced and unlike a lot of US action films, you could see what was happening as the camera wasn’t zoomed in super close to the action. The action looked really authentic as well with the actors really looking like they were giving and taking punches. Needless to say the mid air double kicks/punches were crazy.
  • Revolvers? Very early in the film when this crack team of mercenaries gets put together the only weapons they have to use are a bunch of six round revolvers. Now ordinarily you’d think that if you’re going up against a bunch of gangsters that you might need a little more firepower than this. While this seemed a little odd (why couldn’t they have automatic weapons?) it didn’t affect the story at all since the team turned a disadvantage into an advantage.
  • These guys can take punches. This is sort of relates to my first point about loving the action, but there were times when I literally thought to myself “wow, is this for real? did that guy just take a couple of stabs to his torso and is still fighting?” Also, for the final battle, could the bad guy have taken as much punishment as he did for that amount of time?  Whether or not these things could have actually happened or not, it was definitely entertaining.

Overall I had a fun time with this film. It’s definitely comparable to any mid-range US action flick I’ve seen the past couple of years. The story is basic and while there are no big set pieces, the great action sequences more than make up for this.

The Q & A:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Our showing of Clash got out well after midnight so I was actually a little surprised that people stuck around for it. Director Le Thanh Son seemed really down to Earth and showed up to the screening by himself setting up a banner for the film in front of the theater entrance all on his own. You wouldn’t know it from watching the film (or maybe you would if you were a better film viewer than I) but apparently the film was shot very low budget. Great job considering how much it was shot for. Hope you enjoy the post film Q&A.


HIFF 2010: The Preview Continued . . .

Now, where was I? Oh yes, continuing the HIFF 2010 preview. Continuing the list, here are eight more films that interest me at this year’s festival:

5) Fire of Conscience

"Don't look now, but this is gonna be an explosive movie."

HIFF Page // Trailer // Official Website

HIFF Description:

The investigation of a prostitute’s murder brings headstrong Detective Manfred in an unlikely collaboration with shady Inspector Kee from the Narcotics Bureau. When DNA of one of Manfred’s colleagues is found at the crime scene, Internal Affairs comes sniffing around. In the line of fire between high levels of corruption, Manfred must solve all the twists of the mystery, reluctantly with Kee. Together, the duo will wage a two-man war and uncover a conspiracy that will threaten to upend the entire police force, and paint the streets of Hong Kong with blood.

Why I Want to See It:

Yes, if you can’t tell by now, I’m easily entertained with Chinese actions flicks–especially those that involve crime stories. Again, there’s a lot of great action to be had in the trailer, but it seems like there’s going to be some added “drama” when we get the age old plotline of ‘when the good guys get mistaken for the bad guys.’ Should be fun.


6) Red Hill

"Get ready for a rough ride partner, this might be the start of a trilogy."

HIFF Page // Official Website & Trailer // Facebook

HIFF Description:

When a young police officer, Constable Shane Cooper, relocates to the small town of Red Hill with his pregnant wife, he does so in the hope of living a quiet and peaceful family life. But when news of a prison break in the city sends the local law enforcement officers – under veteran officer Old Bill – into a panic, Shane’s first day on duty quickly turns into a nightmare.

Why I Want to See It:

To be honest, I can’t quite put my finger on why I’m very intrigued by this film–and no, it’s not because the lead actor (Ryan Kwanten) is on HBO’s True Blood. If I had to say, I guess it’s probably the story and the need of needing to know what happens. Billed as a ‘modern day’ western, from viewing the trailer it could turn into a “new guy going against corrupt old guy” situation ala Training Day. Also, in what could make this film that much more interesting, director Patrick Hughes has expressed interest in making this film the first in a “revenge” “colors” trilogy.

7) Clash

A Vietnamese version of The Expendables? I'm Ron Burgundy?


HIFF Description:

CLASH is another reinvention of the Vietnamese action film. Ex-convicts Quan and Cang are part of a hit squad assembled by Trinh to steal a hard drive from French mobsters. Trinh works for an elusive criminal mastermind who seeks the hard drive to get control of Vietnam’s first and only satellite.

Why I Want to See It:

If you take some pretty cool martial arts fight scenes, cut them up and put them together with some intense music, and took out all the speaking and subtitles, I might tell you that you have a damn fine action flick on your hands. Well ok, you probably do anyway, but I really love how the trailer for this film was put together as it mimics Hollywood promo techniques.


#8 How I Ended This Summer

"Think you've had a rough day? Try being stuck in an oil drum for a few hours."


HIFF Description:

One place. One day. Two men. – The place is a polar station on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean. A day up here in the far north lasts weeks, since the sun never sets during the summer at this high latitude. This used to be an important research station but, Sergei, an experienced meteorologist and Pavel, a high school graduate, are now the only inhabitants. Soon a ship will arrive to pick up the two men. Sergei is anxious about returning to his wife and child on the mainland, while Pavel hopes that he might yet be able to experience the kind of real adventure he was dreaming of when he volunteered for an internship in this desolate region. And then one day when Sergei is out angling, Pavel picks up a radio message that he daren’t communicate to Sergei.

Why I Want to See It:

I’m going to admit, the description of this film alone intrigued me. Here you have two guys, all alone in a remote location . . . already this is a setup for all kinds of cabin fever tension. Then of course the young, happy-go-lucky younger guy who’s there looking for an adventure unexpectedly finds it. Chaos and conflict ensue between the two. I’m in!


9) Bill Cunningham New York

I guess the lights of New York really inspire this guy--he's been photographing people in NYC for years.

HIFF Page // Official Website // Facebook

HIFF Description:

BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK chronicles a man who is obsessively interested in only one thing – the pictures he takes that document the way people dress. Bill has lived in the same small studio above Carnegie Hall for fifty years, never eats in restaurants and gets around on a worn-out bicycle– his sole means of transportation. The contradiction of his monk-like existence and the extravagance of his photographic subject matter is one aspect of his private life revealed in the movie. He wants only his independence to be able to point his camera when beauty crosses his path. With this singular goal, he has managed to create a poignant and ongoing chronicle of the intersection of fashion and society in New York over fifty years — in effect, a portrait of New York City itself.

Why I Want to See It:

Here’s another example of me need to just read the film description to be sucked into a movie. Take a somewhat eccentric Manhattanite, bring to light some of those eccentricities, and throw in his uncanny artistic sense and what you have is the perfect mix for a documentary about an eccentric Manhattanite with an uncanny artistic sense. Seriously though, call it OCD, dedication, routine, what have you–I’m sure this guy is getting some great photos. Who wouldn’t want to take a view into this guy’s life?


10) Norman

What's a festival list without some kind of quirky indie drama?

HIFF Page // Official Website // Facebook

HIFF Description:

Norman is a good high school kid whose private burdens have made him a self-destructive loner. His mother has died, and now his father is succumbing to stomach cancer, a circumstance that is certain to leave him alone in the world. Norman’s confused method of dealing with such stress is to punish himself in small ways, one of which is to endure public humiliation by making a grotesque audition for the school’s theater program. Then one impulsive, thoughtless act—a lie—gets way out of hand and makes him the focus of school-wide attention.

Why I Want to See It:

Again my big ‘Hollywood’ sensibilities are kicking in. While it doesn’t have as much of a loaded cast as The Tempest does, it’s got my guy Richard Jenkins, as well as somewhat known actors in Adam Goldberg and Dan Byrd (of Cougar Town & Easy A fame) all propping up the film. It also has what sounds to me like a decently interesting storyline. And it’s also in English, so that’s a plus too right?


Other Notables at HIFF This Year

Some of these sound interesting while others I’m not really interested–but are getting a lot of buzz and could potentially be big this year:

  • Blue Valentine: Gala Presentation drama starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a couple whose marriage is disintegrating. Wide release currently slated for December 31, 2010.
  • Bodyguards & Assassins: Period piece giving us more Chinese/Hong Kong action cinema.
  • Conviction: Big Hollywood film starring Hilary Swank who puts herself through law school just so that she can free her brother, Sam Rockwell, from prison. Currently in limited release.
  • Get a Job: Local comedy starring a number of local entertainers/celebrities. Not my cup of tea, but it’s getting some buzz due to backing from the likes of Willie K, Augie T, Jake Shimabukuro, and more.
  • The Girl That Kicked the Hornet’s Nest: The Millenium Trilogy continues at HIFF. Limited release slated for October 29.
  • Housemaid: This actually could potentially be very interesting. A Korean take on a husband’s infidelity with his housemaid.
  • One Kine Day: Looks to be decent interpretation of local life in high school.
  • One Voice: Gala Presentation that takes you behind the scenes of the year leading up to the Kamehameha Schools’ Song Contest. From sheer backing alone by KS this movie should be big.
  • The Runaways: The Joan Jett/Cherie Curie biopic starring Kristen Stewart & Dakota Fanning gets a showing at HIFF as part of the Sound x Vision showcase.
  • Sound of Noise: All I have to say about this movie can be summed up in two words: musical terrorists. This movie has been getting a lot of buzz on the festival circuit and event took home one of the top honors at last month’s Fantastic Fest.

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