Take for instance, Kim Ji-woon's The Good, The Bad, and The Weird, which blatantly pays homage to Sergio Leone's Italian western film The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. This movie has a lot of action, a lot of comedy, a chase movie, and a bit of a mystery. What gets me about this movie is that clearly this is a "western", complete with a Mexican stand-off, but with an Eastern spin to it (the same can be said about Thailand's Tears of the Black Tiger).
Anyway, lately I've had the pleasure of enjoying not one, but two, Vietnamese films. Not to say that all Vietnamese movies are bad, but either they're too artsy (Vertical Ray of the Sun) or too traditional (Cải Lương). So it's a bit of relief when I see these modern films, set in contemporary Vietnam.
Released last year, this is a romantic comedy about two best friends Khang and Hieu. Their characters are completely different at the beginning of the movie, one is a poor, but hard-working, smart kid, while the other a player/playboy, party rich brat. I can tell you more about what happens, but in doing so, I'll spoil the plot, so I'll just leave it at that.
This is my first movie that I've seen by director Victor Vũ, but apparently he's done a few shorts horror/supernatural movies (Spirits and Mysterious World), so I'll be sure to try and track down those titles. As for his next film, it's apparently already released in Vietnam on September 15th, with the American title Inferno (Giao Lộ Định Mệnh).
Currently, Passport to Love can only be currently viewed via streaming on Netflix and digitally (Amazon, iTunes). The problem with these digital films is that the subtitles are hardcoded on the print, it's particularly distracting when you already understand the language. There are no words on a Bluray or DVD release, but it's only inevitable.
NHỮNG NỤ HÔN RỰC RỠ
No official US title, but it translate to "Bright Kisses" (despite what I've read from other translators that it's "Striking Kisses"). "Rực Rỡ" means "clear" or "bright".
Storywise, not really anything to write home about, but that's not the point. The point is that this is a light-hearted teenage musical movie with an emphasis on "fun". The film seems inspired by Bollywood with lots of random unnecessary singing and dancing. Numbers includes epic dance numbers to slow ballads to K-Pop music videos.
Setwise, it's pretty low budget with maybe three locations: the beautiful beach area, the office set, and a house at the beginning of the picture. While this is not a top ten film for me, the singing and dancing was fun enough to make it worth watching to the grand finale.
I'm not even sure if the film is out officially on DVD, but the copy I got was a bootleg from an Asian video shop.
Below is one of the music number from the movie called "Em Là Ai?" which means "Who Are You?".