The Rebel

Reviewed by: Kimmie Tran

February 09, 2008

Rating: four

Vietnamese name: Dòng Máu Anh Hùng
Le Van Cuong - Johnny Tri Nguyen (also writer, producer, stunt choreographer)
Vo Thanh Thuy - Ngo Thanh Van
Sy - Dustin Nguyen
Hua Danh - Nguyen Thanh

In 1922, Vietnam is under the colonial rule of the French. A police force is sent to Vietnam to stop rebellions from the peasants. Le Van Cuong is one of those men. His mission, along with his colleague Sy, is to capture the rebels' leader. They captured the leader's daughter, Vo Thanh Thuy, and tried to torture her into telling her father's whereabouts. She refused and was locked up. Cuong, who had been feeling doubtful of his actions, helped Thuy escape from Sy and the French police. He also decided to help her find her father. Consequently, Cuong is a rebel himself. Together, he and Thuy travel all over Vietnam in search of her father. In doing so, they see how cruelly their natives are treated and are fired up to rebel. Cuong, admiring Thuy's burning patriotism, falls in love with her. Unfortunately, they are continuously being attacked by Sy and his goon, Hua Danh. Sy knows that if he follows Thuy and Cuong, he can find the rebel leader. Will the lovers succeed in finding the rebel leader without the French finding him first?

The plot was really good. The scenes run together smoothly. However, some lines or scenes were corny. An example is the conversation Cuong had with his dad about how being a hero is related to bloodshed, but then again, that is a theme to the movie. Also, the part where the couple "did it" was really unnecessary. And how that happened was really corny and stupid. All the guy said was: "What would it be like if we could forget who we are for one moment?" And Thuy just gave in too!

But there were still a lot of parts in the movie that I really liked. Like the sad story of Thuy's mother and how a woman at a labor camp was pregnant and she still had to do backbreaking work. These parts show how extreme and tragic imperialism was. In my opinion, they were the "cherry on top of an ice cream sundae" for the movie.

Of course let's not forget to mention the martial arts in the movie. There were some Vietnamese techniques shown in the movie and I thought that was pretty awesome. I had never seen Vietnamese people fight like that before nor did I know that Vietnam had some type of martial arts. These too are the "cherries" in the movie.

The development of Le Van Cuong's personality was good. In the beginning of the movie, he was obviously the main character, but he didn't shine. All there was to him was a weak young man who is confused all the time. But after he saved Thuy, he developed into a leader who can be called admirable because he can scheme up ideas to get out of sticky situations. Plus it doesn't hurt to have a really hot guy playing Cuong :)

I really like Vo Thanh Thuy. She's a really powerful character. But she got a little too soft for me after she slept with Cuong. I like it better when she was calling him a piece of crap; it was much funnier that way. Still, compliments to Ngo Thanh Van for having the best Vietnamese out of the young cast. And the chemistry between her and Johnny Nguyen was very strong.

One of the many things that I love about the movie is how the history really relates to what actually happened in the past. An example is the white racial supremacy, which was the philosophy back in the 19th and early 20th century during colonization. One French idiot in the movie was talking about how the white men's burden was lazy bums [the Vietnamese] who only care about filling their bellies. That definitely depicts the white racial supremacy. Another relation to World History is how Cuong was Western educated. Back in the 19th century, the indigenous people were Western educated and they later revolted against the Europeans using the Western knowledge.

The scenery was beautiful. It was really green and brown, but in a good way. The movie portrayed the "look" of Vietnam in the early 20th century well. I really like the funky vehicles from the 1920s. I was very surprised to see a shower though. I didn't know there were showers back in the '20s.

All in all, "The Rebel" is a good movie. It's a must see for anyone who wants to watch a story of two lovers in the middle of danger, or the history of Vietnam, or just to watch some kick ass martial arts. Believe me, it won't be a disappointment.

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