Bay Rong (Clash), a hit Vietnam-American action film from Lê Thanh San, set against the backdrop of modern Saigon has changed its screening venue to St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 Main St SE
Clash (www.clashthemovie.com) is a is story of twisted love and deception, starring martial arts star Johnny Tri Nguyen as ex-convict Quan, who with his partner Cang (Lâm Minh Thong) are part of a hit squad put together by Trinh, played by female co-star Ngô Thanh Vân, who plan to rob a hard drive from French mobsters.
Trinh is under the employ of Hoc Long (Hoàng Phúc), the elusive criminal mastermind, who seeks the hard drive to get control of VINASAT.1, Vietnam’s first and only satellite, and kidnaps Trinh’s daughter to get her to do his bidding.
But as the mission is about to succeed, Trinh and her diverse team are betrayed by one of their own and the hard drive falls into the wrong hands. Desperate to get her daughter back, Trinh must hunt down the traitor before the hard drive is sold to the Chinese Triad, but finds it difficult to trust the remaining members of her crew.
Already Vietnam’s highest grossing film this year, Clash reunites martial arts masters Johnny Trí Nguyen and Ngô Thanh Vân and features the directing debut of Lê Thanh San. The film was released under the title “Bay Rong” in Vietnam.
“In the fictional tale of Clash, I have set up a chaotic battle in which each character must face and deal with the true emotions that any self-seeker is obsessed and haunted by,” states filmmaker Lê Thanh San.
“When I was young, my father told me about the visit of Confucius to Lao Tzu,” he added. “Greatly impressed by Lao Tzu’s wisdom, Confucius compared him to a glorious dragon.”
It was Johnny Trí Nguyen as screenwriter and action director, who asked Lê to translate the story into Vietnamese.
“As soon as I read about the wicked antagonist “Hoc Long” (Black Dragon), the image of Lao Tzu’s Dragon started emerging in my mind,” said Lê. “There are always evil and wicked characters in any action film who in the end fall to their demise so that we can prove that good values reign. What I tried to do differently in Clash was to explore the true emotions and origins of the antagonists’ crimes and aggressive behavior.
Ho Quang Hung, co-writer, once said to Lê, ‘Clash is definitely a modern contemporary fairytale’, said Lê, who agree wholeheartedly.
“The character of Trinh, the ‘Phoenix’, with her uncompromising attitude, fights for freedom by carrying out the last seven missions for Hac Long. When reaching the 7th mission, her final challenge, she happens to meet Quan, the ‘White Tiger’, an arrangement made by destiny.
“They have many things in common such as determination and courage, yet their purpose differs,” said Lê. “Their final challenge is a turning point for both of them. They are two lost souls trying to find their morality.”
Lê said the spiritual life seems to be so vague, yet turns out to be the main factor existing and controlling everything, every single value. By her own experience of reformation, Trinh has awakened Quan’s strong spirituality, helped him to get rid of his deep guilt from witnessing his father’s death, and to regain his long lost faith.
“How can we find a dragon in our life? Through a battle, a mission. Beyond that, I would like to invite the audience to experience a point of view that allows you to find out who you really are, to understand the precious values of love, freedom and courage.”
Johnny Tri Nguyen immigrated to America at the age of nine. His grandfather was a renowned martial artist of his time, so it’s no surprise that Nguyen adapted the love for combative arts at a very young age.
After learning his grandfather’s craft, Nguyen then explored and absorbed many other fighting styles and teachings. He competed in International Wushu competitions as a member of the USA national team.
Following many successive championships, Nguyen moved to Los Angeles and enjoyed an action-packed career as a Hollywood stuntman. He worked on major blockbusters including “Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man 2” as the man in the mask himself. In striving to push his career to the next level, Nguyen sought lessons from famed Hollywood acting coaches for several years.
In 2004, Nguyen was invited to Thailand to play opposite Tony Jaa in hit martial arts movie, “The Protector” (Tom Yum Goong). Nguyen has since returned to Vietnam and has starred in four feature films there including “The Rebel” (Dong Mau Anh Hung), which he co-wrote, produced, and action directed. Local and international audiences alike have given the film rave reviews.
Ngo Thanh Van is one of the top names among Vietnamese singers and actresses today. Born in Tra Vinh, Vietnam, Ngo and her family relocated to Norway when she was 10 years old.
In 1999, Ngo returned to Vietnam and won a beauty contest. Soon after, she graced the covers of magazines and highlighted fashion catwalks. In 2002, Ngo ventured into the music industry and quickly became a teen-sensation pop idol.
She made her international acting debut as one of the leads in “Rouge,” a 13-part action/musical TV series broadcasted widely by MTV Asia throughout 2004. While Ngo’s musical prowess increases, she remains committed to her burgeoning acting career and has recently starred in several films consecutively.
Her latest film, the action packed hit movie “The Rebel” (Dong Mau Anh Hung), showcased her mesmerizing performance, both physically and dramatically and has propelled her into a class of her own among the stars.
Hoang Phuc is a veteran actor in Vietnam, who began his career at the age of 13, and has more than 200 movies and TV series under his belt. In 1991, he beat out over 600 contestants in the Ho Chi Minh City Actor’s Guild to be recognized as the “next rising star.”
He has been involved in many action and martial arts movie such as “Chúa Tou Kim Quy,” which won the Silver Kite Award, and “BaiH’ng,” which won the 11th Tri-Annual Golden Lotus Award. He’s current member of the Ho Chi Minh City Actor’s Guild.
For his part as Hoc Long in CLASH, the leading antagonist who has superhuman abilities through black magic, Hoàng Phúc has always enjoyed a role that has depth and dimension to the character. He will certainly be able to portray that through the role of Hoc Long.
Hieu Hien began his career as a stage performer. His talent was quickly recognized and TV roles began to flood in as audiences loved him and his quirky sense of humor. In 2008, he garnered a Golden Blossom Award for his comedic role in the TV series “Bing Dong Mu’n Khóc” (“Just Wanna Cry”). He is one of the most highly regarded comedians in Vietnam.
In Clash, he plays a thug, which is a surprising role for him since he has such a squeaky-clean image and his loyal fan base will certainly be surprised by his role. However, there is no surprise that he provides great comical relief in the movie. He is looking forward to taking on other roles that will challenge his acting ability.
Lâm Minh Thong began his career as a model and during his five years tenure as a model, he appeared in numerous fashion shows and add campaigns. His visibility brought him many roles on TV, but because of his “model” looks, he has been type-casted into roles of a “pretty boy.” He has always wanted to break that good guy image.
In Clash, he takes on a role that is a worthy adversary for the main leads. Endless martial arts, action sequence and stunts provide a great platform to demonstrate his bad boy side.
Trin Thu Vinh earned the role of “Tu”n” through Vietnam’s first ever Internet casting call hosted by Zing Movie. He beat out over 10,000 contestants to appear in Clash. He is a native of Hai Phong, a port city in the North of Vietnam.
Away from the big screen, Vinh works at a technology company and continues to be a sports and martial arts instructor. The acting bug has bitten him and he’s being considered for many upcoming movies.
Lê Thanh San first love started out with music. From 1995 to 2004, he was deeply involved in the Vietnamese music scene. He was a bassist for such bands as “Little Wings” and “Metronone.”
During that time, he also served as co-founder and organizer of Ho Chi Minh City’s Rock Fan Club (RFC). From 2004 until now, he focused much of his energy to movie making.
One of his first big breaks came from being the Assistant Director for “Áo L&a Hà lông” (“The White Silk Dress”), a film that became an audience favorite at the Pusan International Film Festival in Korea. He was also the Assistant Director for “Dòng Máu Anh Hùng” (“The Rebel”), which went on to be the #1 action movie in Vietnam in 2007.
“The Rebel” was later distributed worldwide through Dragon Dynasty and The Weinstein Company, and made the Blockbuster Top 100 list, ranking at 30, surpassing all Asian-genre movies at that time. In 2005, he earned a Silver Kite Award for his directorial role in “Tôi Là Ai?” (“Who Am I?”). He is a professionally trained musician and film director who completed his post-graduate work at USC.