Bay Rong/ CLASH


 The premiere kick-off of BAY RONG/ CLASH at Orange County’s Westminster 10 theatre was not only a big success, VanJohnnyInterviewbut a whole lot of fun for everyone that attended. Lead stars Johnny Nguyen and Veronica Ngo were very accessible for press, video, photographers, friends and well-wishers.  Standing in front of the large promotion poster for Bay Rong, photographers flashed as everyone grouped together with the leads to take pictures.  There was lots of laughter and an opportunity for old friends VanJohnnyKat2smto get together with Johnny Nguyen, who lived in Orange County for several years and is well-connected to the OC Vietnamese community.  What better way to make a homecoming as a successful international star?  Well, that’s just simply a dream come true.

After the lobby pre-fun, everyone went into the theatre to enjoy the film. With a title like CLASH and knowing Johnny Nguyen’s background as a Wushu Martial Artist, you can expect a high action martial arts movie.  But I must say when I think about this film which has many attributes, the martial arts were at such a high level, I found myself reacting with Wow! Oh My! and Holy Cow! It was excellent. Nguyen commented, “that they did a lot of teaching and training for the actors.” Honestly the action choreography defied gravity, was high end, difficult and well directed. Nguyen’s triple-roll side flip and side-kick are something to see. Just to get these scenes shot was pretty miraculous and a credit to the cast and Director Lê Thanh Son.johnnyhigh

The film, shot in a sort of glaring and gray cinema style, opens with a gritty roadside scene with Phoenix (actress Veronica Ngô) establishing her character as a deadly hit woman complete with high-end martial arts. You immediately wonder why a beautiful young woman like this is involved in a rough street scene and is so tough and unhappy, later to be revealed that she is basically the work hostage of an elusive criminal mastermind, the Black Dragon (Vietnamese Actor, Hoàng Phúc), who fished her out of prostitution in some back alley of Cambodia and then trained her professionally to do his dirty work.  Black Dragon keeps her under wraps dangling the carrot that he has her daughter and will return the girl to her mother once she retrieves the “laptop.”

Phoenix’s mission is to work with a rough and questionable hit squad to retrieve the hard drive that controls the VINSAT –1 satellite. Enter Johnny Nguyen, smart and cool along with the other members of the team, all given code names- White Tiger, Snake, Hawk, and Ox.group_shot

When the film began I found myself trying to figure out what’s going on, what’s happening? Granted the film is in Vietnamese with English subtitles, but I don’t think that made much difference.  Watching the movie, it starts to move right along as Phoenix and her team begin plans to obtain the laptop from French Mobsters.  You don’t wait long until things go wrong and some martial arts action begins.  From there the story unfolds and you find yourself on a pretty fast action packed movie.  You know you’ve got a good script when you become involved in the film and begin to enjoy its nuances revealed at just the right times. In the middle of a major action scene, with tough, thick-bodied Frenchies, guns firing off, martial art legs wrapped around necks and people fighting for their lives, one of the team members stops and cannot move seeing a hot little number busting out of her clothing trying to escape. Comic relief in the film is provided when you least expect it. Same for the developing love theme. You don’t necessarily think of a deep love relationship in the middle of a gritty, life-at-stake situation, but Tiger falls for Phoenix with a love scene that delivers, but is tastefully filmed.

There is nothing like a good action film with all the components. What is also special is that this is the cutting edge group of Vietnamese filmmakers that are making it happen in the Vietnamese Film scene and that have entered the International Film Community. I couldn’t help but feel extremely happy and proud of this group, many whose parents were displaced by the Vietnam War forcing them to adapt to another culture. Perhaps a silver lining for many growing up in America, was to attend film school and have the opportunity to develop in a way they might not have otherwise. And even though some have moved back to Vietnam, the two worlds are not far apart. After all, who doesn’t love a good film!


Premiere Attendees:

Left to right-
Cat Ly (The Owl and the Sparrow), Vanessa Nguyen (Hong Van) (News Anchor KXLA & KTSF),
Katherine Bowers,(Producer/Director/Host -Across a Blue Sea), Catherine Thuy Ai, (Heaven and Earth, The Green Dragon, Spirit)

Movie Trailer



Last Updated (Monday, 08 October 2012 12:16)

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