After seeing Johnny Nguyen in Tom Yum Goong opposite Tony Jaa and in the excellent The Rebel, I was looking forward to his next project which was The Clash another Vietnamese action movie which was the highest grossing film in Vietnam in 2010.
The lead figure is Phoenix, played by the lovely Ngo Thanh Van. She leads a posse of bad boys all given nicknames to hide their real identity, and set out to recover a missing laptop for a feared mob boss named Black Dragon (played by Hoang Phuc, and looking a lot like Hong Kong actor James Tien!). Phoenix’s principal recruit is Tiger (Johnny Nguyen), a recruit who is more than he seems. Phoenix also has another motive, to get back her daughter kidnapped by the mob boss. When things don’t go according to plan it is left to the two of them to bring the mob boss to justice, but the cost may be higher than they think.
The look of the film is very grim, the characters are not really given much backstory and most, apart from the lead female are not very likeable. Ngo Thanh Van is very sultry and deadly when needed. Tiger is a chain-smoking brooding anti-hero, not exactly a great role model but when he does let loose is excellent, using a mixture of Muay Thai and MMA take-downs. Action highlights are the finale and the section where our two leads take on a gang of French hit-men in a hotel room.
The problem with the film is you never really care about what is happening and it’s all very depressing. For an action fix its ok, just don’t expect much of a compelling story. The two leads have great potential, let’s hope its shown a bit more in their next projects.
5 out of 10