SAIGON BODYGUARDS (Ken Ochiai). 112 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (March 3). See listing. Rating: NNN
Saigon Bodyguards is a co-production of Toronto’s Rhombus Media and Korea’s CJ Entertainment, which explains how a modestly budgeted Vietnamese action comedy with no marquee stars is getting a Canadian theatrical run.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Saigon Bodyguards is very silly, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy watching its two pals, straight-arrow Trinh (Kim Ly) and doofus Vien (Thai Hoa), knock around the eponymous city in search of the corporate heir (Be Tran) who was kidnapped right from under their noses.
And that’s not the only problem they have to deal with: there’s a comic subplot about the dim-bulb lookalike (also Be Tran) our heroes enlist to impersonate their missing charge, a romance between Trinh and Vien’s sister, Thi (Chi Pu), an unexpected flirtation between Vien and the mysterious woman (Diep Lam Anh) who keeps turning up on the side of the baddies, and even some daddy issues for Trinh.
Director/co-writer Ochiai (Ninja The Monster) keeps all his plates spinning a little too long (really, the film could lose 20 minutes without suffering in the slightest, starting with a handful of gay-panic gags), but his cast is charming as hell and the action sequences are pretty impressive given the obvious budget limitations.
There’s also a bizarre sequence in which an entire restaurant breaks into a disco singalong during a lobster banquet. It makes no sense, and it’s not exactly elegant, but it is weirdly enjoyable. Not unlike the rest of the movie.