“The Rebel”


By Jae-Ha Kim
Janaury 5, 2009

A fast-paced, beautifully executed film, The Rebel works hard at being an epic martial arts picture set in 1920’s French-occupied Vietnam.

While that may sound like a bit much, director Truc Charlie Nguyen does a formidable job creating a plausible scenario with some awesome fighting sequences.

While not quite epic, the film is spot on as an action thriller. Johnny Tri Nguyen–who was a stunt double in the Spider-Man movies and impressed fans with his performance in The Protector–stars as Le Van Cuong, a deadly double agent who battles both the French and his evil, power hungry boss Sy, played by Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street), who we’re accustomed to seeing in sympathetic roles.

Sy is one of those cinematic creations who is seemingly indestructible.

No matter what is thrown at him, he gets right back up to cause more havoc and Dustin Nguyen is up to the task of playing the sadistic part.

Ranked as the biggest Vietnamese film when it was released theatrically in 2006, The Rebel delivers meticulous choreographed fight scenes that show off the martial arts skills of the Nguyens (not related), as well as their female lead Veronica Ngo.

Like Oxide and Danny Pang’s breakthrough 1999 motion picture Bangkok Dangerous, which helped put Thai films on the cinematic map, The Rebel is helping to put the spotlight on Vietnamese films.

This DVD includes the original Vietnamese version (with English subtitles) as well as an English version (the bilingual lead actors dubbed their own voices).


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