The Rebel (2007 film)
The film poster.
|Directed by||Charlie Nguyen|
|Produced by||Jimmy Pham Nghiem
Johnny Tri Nguyen
|Written by||Charlie Nguyen
Johnny Tri Nguyen
|Starring||Johnny Tri Nguyen
|Music by||Christopher Wong|
|Edited by||Charlie Nguyen
|Distributed by||Cinema Pictures
The Weinstein Company
The Rebel (Vietnamese: Dòng Máu Anh Hùng) is a 2007 Vietnamese martial arts film directed by Charlie Nguyen and starring Johnny Tri Nguyen, Dustin Nguyen and Veronica Ngo. It premiered on April 12, 2007 at the Vietnamese International Film Festival in Irvine, California. It was released on April 27, 2007 in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and played as the Closing Night film at the 2007 VC FilmFest in Los Angeles.
The setting is 1922, in French-occupied Vietnam, and anti-French colonialist rebellions by peasants have emerged all over the country. In response, the French have activated units of Vietnamese secret agents to track and destroy the rebels. One agent is Le Van Cuong. Although he has a perfect track record, Cuong's conscience is troubled by the sea of Vietnamese blood he has spilled. Following the assassination of a high-ranking French official, Cuong is assigned to seek and kill the notorious leader of the resistance. Cuong encounters Vo Thanh Thuy, a relentless revolutionary fighter and the daughter of the rebel leader. She is captured and imprisoned by Cuong's cruel superior, Sy. Cuong suspects that Sy knew about the attack on the French official before it happened, and could have prevented it. Suspicious, he warns Thuy that her organization has a mole, helps break her out of prison and becomes a fugitive himself. Her fiery patriotism inspires Cuong, and he develops feelings for the young woman as well. Meanwhile, Sy is tracking Cuong and Thuy, knowing the pair will lead him to Thuy's father.
Cuong changes his clothes, and follows Thuy to her father. French soldiers attack them one night, but they managed to defeat them. Thuy and Cuong are walking when Sy and Hua Danh arrive. Even though Sy couldn't find them, Cuong has to fight Hua Danh, and manages to kill him, but not before being wounded.Later, while tending Cuong's wounds, Thuy reveals that her mother killed herself due to her being raped by a French soldier and couldn't bear having a child. Her father didn't know of her mother's death until after he was freed from prison due to rebelling against the government. Cuong and Thuy then make love. Meanwhile, Sy tracks down Cuong's father and tortures him, then takes his eye. He then tracks down Cuong, and makes him tell him where is the rebel's hideout. Cuong says that they have to go on a train, and Sy leaves. Cuong meets with Thuy, and she reveals that she lied about the train because she didn't trust him. She then takes him to her father's hideout.
Thuy's father is suspicious of Cuong, but accepts him regardless. Thuy's friend is suspicious of Cuong. However, the rebel hideout is ambushed because the French saw Cuong and Thuy together. Sy captures Thuy's father, and reveals Cuong as a traitor to the French. When Sy delivers Thuy's father to his boss, his boss instead gives Sy another boss, not trusting a Vietnamese person to be in charge. Furious, Sy kills both of his bosses, then plans to execute Thuy's father soon. Meanwhile, while the rebels are being held at gunpoint for execution in a village, Cuong says to take off his blindfold off because he does not fear death. He has a hidden knife, which he uses to cut his bindings and free the rebels. He and Thuy fight off the soldiers, and Thuy's friend tells her to go save her father.
Thuy and Cuong fight off the French people near a train, and Cuong fights Sy. Cuong and Thuy finally manage to kill Sy by stabbing him in the eye. After they save Thuy's father, they return to the village where they found most of the people, including Thuy's friend, killed except for a little girl. They pay their respects, and Cuong and Thuy spread the ashes across the rivers of Vietnam.
Cast and characters
- Johnny Tri Nguyen as Le Van Cuong - The French-trained protagonist, who is a master of martial arts. He is working as an agent under the French colonizers to put an end to a rebellions in Vietnam, but is secretly wracked with guilt over his role.
- Veronica Ngo as Vo Thanh Thuy - The rebel leader's daughter who is used by the agents as a pawn to track down her father. She is also a skilled martial artist.
- Dustin Nguyen as Sy - Cuong's sadistic superior in the secret police. He is a formidable fighter with almost supernatural abilities, and is not adverse to using torture.
- Chanh Tin Nguyen as Cuong's Father - Cuong's Father once had power within the former Vietnamese regime until the French took over the country. Now he wastes away most of his days in an opium house. Cuong blames his father for something that happened to his mother years ago.
- Nguyen Thang as Hua Danh - Another Vietnamese agent working with Sy to stop the rebellion. His specialty is knife fighting.
- Stephane Gauger as Dereu - Head of the French Secret Police force. He has been stationed in Vietnam for 10 years and looks forward to retirement so he can return to France. He often insults and condescends to Sy for his failures.
- David Minetti as Tessier - A powerful French officer who Cuong faces off with in one of the film's pivotal fight scenes.
"The Rebel's" cast and crew shot for 80 days in Vietnam, where the local film industry is still developing. They had to deal with a number of obstacles, including crew members who got sick, actors who were injured, and cultural officers who monitored the production's every move. In an interview with Johnny Tri Nguyen, he states that one of the hardest problems in making the film was finding the right actress to play the female lead.
The film premiered in Vietnam in April 2007, where it proved to be a huge success, garnering the highest box office gross for a locally made film up to that point. At the time, it was the most expensive Vietnamese film with a budget of $1.5 million. The Rebel was released in the United States as a two-disc DVD set on September 30, 2008 (from Dragon Dynasty). In the special features, Johnny Nguyen, Dustin Nguyen, and Ngo Thanh Van not only provide audio commentary, but also dubbed their own characters for the film's English language track. It was also featured at the 2007 Bangkok International Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival, the Hawaii International Film Festival, and was the Opening Night screening at the 2007 Mammoth Film Festival.
Honours and awards
- Vietnam latest news - Thanh Nien Daily
- "Vietnamese film draws record crowds Vietnam News". Vietnam News. 5 March 2007.
- The Rebel film page at Mammoth Film Festival.
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