Sunday, September 21, 2008

Review: "The Rebel"

The film "The Rebel" available on DVD starting on Sept. 30 is the highest grossing Vietnamese film ever, and it does deliver quality action and drama-packed entertainment.

Released by Genius Products and The Weinstein Company, The Rebel follows the encounter and eventual pairing of two characters from different sides of the fight against French colonization in Vietnam.

Johnny Nguyen does a good job in the male lead role were he is pitted against Dustin Nguyen who steals the show with an excellent portrayal of a hardened, ruthless Vietnamese agent working for the French colonial government. The three main characters all share the same fate of having mothers who suffered harshly as a result of colonization.

Actress Ngo Thanh Van plays the daughter of the rebel commander who is herself an insurgent and is particularly riveting early in the film.

The martial arts action in this flick is top quality with a lot of unique moves not seen in typical kung fu films of Chinese origin. All three lead roles do well in the fight scenes, and in the many blazing gun battles.

Some of the camera work highlights well the lush landscape of Vietnam particularly when the action moves out into the rebel strongholds in the rain forest.

For those that like actions movies, there is plenty here mixed in with good drama, suspense and some food for thought. It may be a bit to gory for those turned off by violent scenes though. What is particularly interesting about the story line is how the thought processes of those Vietnamese who collaborated with the French is examined. In one case, a Francophile eager to emulate French progress and invested by his father with a deep respect for law and order, becomes enlightened by the iniquities of the colonizers. In another, collaboration is simply a means of replacing the oppressor by adopting an even more ruthless approach.

The two disc DVD includes commentary by the three lead actors and Asian cinema expert Bey Logan on the first disc along with the film itself. On the second disc, are exclusive interviews with Johnny Nguyen, Veronica Ngo and Dustin Nguyen. Also included on this disc are a martial arts demo by Johnny, a deleted scene, a documentary on the making of the film and a behind-the-scenes gallery.


Set in Vietnam in the 1920s, anti-French rebels band together to fight an epic battle against foreign occupation.

Special Features:

· Commentary By Stars Johnny Tri Nguyen, Veronica Ngo, Dustin Nguyen & Asian Cinema Expert Bey Logan

· Empty Hand, Noble Heart: An Exclusive Interview With Leading Man Johnny Tri Nguyen

· Cry For Freedom: An Exclusive Interview With Leading Lady Veronica Ngo

· The Dark Destroyer: An Exclusive Interview With Leading Protagonist Dustin Nguyen

· One Man Army: A Martial Arts Demonstration By Johnny Nguyen

· Iron Jacket: A Deleted Scene From The Preview Cut Of The Rebel

· The Rebel: An Original Making Of Featurette

· Behind-The-Scenes Gallery

· Trailer Gallery


Price: $24.95

Street Date: September 30, 2008

Pre-book: August 19, 2008

Catalog Number: 81282

Rating: R

Run Time: 103 minutes

Languages: English Dolby 5.1, and Vietnamese Dolby 5.1, Vietnamese DTS

Subtitles: English and Spanish

Closed Captioned