Vixen 2018 Review: This is a painfully lazy knock-off of a certain, well-known action film

An international conference on the future of cyber security held in China’s tallest building is interrupted by a group of terrorists taking advantage of the lockdown ahead of the meeting. The only delegate not held by the terrorists Sunny Liu finds herself in the unenviable position of being the lone chance of stopping them. The terrorists think catching a single woman is easy, but they may have underestimated their prey.

This is a painfully lazy knock-off of a certain, well-known action film (phim hanh dong vo thuat). In which terrorists take hostages in a multi-storey building over the festive season. This action is as cover for their actual goal, which is the robbery of a well-secured vault. But one of the inhabitants evades the initial surge, and begins to run interference. They get help and moral support over the airwaves by someone on the outside. And use the air-ducts in the building to avoid detection.

Yeah. It’s like that, and you’ll probably understand why my eyes were rolling when we get the line. “Ho-ho-ho, motherfucker.” Now, there’s no doubt the makers openly acknowledge their inspiration. But pleading guilty doesn’t get you out of the crime. At least other, similarly inspired movies, e.g. No Contest  – hell, even Skyscraper – took the idea and added some of their own thoughts. This? Make the central character a woman who knows martial arts. That’s it.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course. But if you’re going to get away with such glaringly obvious plagiarism. You need to be top-notch in other areas. Because this inevitably invites comparison with that certain, well-known action movie. And to put it mildly, Vixen (Sieu Nu Anh Hung Vixen) comes out behind, in virtually every aspect. The paucity of the resources is the most obvious one. This supposedly takes place at a top-tier security conference, yet is apparently attended by a total of eight people. And takes place in a corner of a hotel ballroom, screened off by drapes.

Do not expect giant fireballs, folks. Or destruction of any significant kind. Since they needed their security deposit back. While Chen does her best, she is not Bruce Willis, as she goes from attendee to ass-kicker. And Bendza is certainly not Alan Rickman as the leader of the terrorists. It doesn’t help that there seems to be far too much acting in a second language going on here. Particularly obvious when Chen has to use her English. Imagine Willis trying to speak Mandarin. And you’ll be in the right area.

She’s on stronger dramatic ground when speaking on the phone to her ex-boyfriend (Yang), who is her liaison on the outside, and tries unsuccessfully to convince the cops there’s a problem, and he’s not pranking them [As depicted here, Chinese police are, apparently really lazy: the investigation consists of calling up the location and asking if there’s a hostage situation. “No,” says the terrorist manning the switchboard, unsurprisingly] I also quite enjoyed Larkin as the acerbic Scottish organizer of the conference: he comes over as a low-rent version of Gerard Butler. He’s about the only person here who seems to be having fun with his role, embracing the necessary larger-than-life spirit. Otherwise, with fights that are merely okay. And take too long to show up, this feels like a poor imitation of little or no point. Something even The Asylum might be a bit embarrassed to have their name on.

Author: Duong VR

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