Ooh yeah, Veronica Ngo Thanh Van and Johnny Tri Nguyen

Here are some quick quiz questions about Bay Rong/Clash: why would you give a movie the English title of Clash, when the translation of its Vietnamese title is the much cooler Seven Dragons? Why the hell was someone as incompetent as Ox recruited for a heist team? Why is the main antagonist so evil? How the hell do some of those French dudes keep fighting, even with a glass shard in their side?

Answer: trick questions! None of that matters, in the face of awesome fight scenes and very, very attractive lead actors. Bay Rong (or its English title, Clash), is a simple, Hollywood-style action flick. Lots of style, lots of sexy, and and lots of kicking ass. All set in Vietnam.

Clash was the feature film at the UCLA venue for the Vietnamese International Film Festival. It stars Johnny Tri Nguyen and Veronica Ngo Thanh Van, who are, apparently, Vietnam’s answer to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. I can dig that. Van plays Phoenix, a no-nonsense, gun-toting hench…woman for the mysterious Black Dragon. Nguyen (her real life husband) plays Tiger, one of the strongmen she hires to help her steal a laptop from a bunch of French guys (why the French guys have it is beyond me, but really, who cares?).

I had no idea what the movie was about going in, so when rock music started playing, and people started battling with swords and guns, I was delighted. When action movies are done right, it doesn’t matter how formulaic the plot is, because you’re too busy rooting for the good guys to whoop the bad guys’ ass and end up happily ever after. Good action movies are an adrenaline rush, and that’s what Clash was. It was an extra bonus that the movie was set in Vietnam; it’s the first time I’ve seen a Vietnamese movie like that, so it’s good to know that my people can fire guns and sex it up with the best.

I was probably laughing at inappropriate moments–the film could be over-the-top sometimes–but I enjoyed it a lot. I have issues with Phoenix’s agency, feminism, etc., but seriously, I would buy this DVD so I could watch it again.

Watch the trailer here.


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