The Rebel - 2 Disc Ultimate Edition
* Commentary: Stars Johnny Tri Nguyen, Veronica Ngo, Dustin Nguyen & Asian Ciema Expert Bey Logan
* Empty Hand, Noble Heart: An Exclusive Interview With Leading Man Johnny Tri Nguyen
* Cry For Freedom: An Exclusive Interview With Leading Lady Veronica Ngo
* The Dark Destroyer: An Exclusive Interview With Leading Protagonist Dustin Nguyen
* One Man Army: A Martial Arts Demonstration By Johnny Nguyen
* Iron Jacket: A Deleted Scene From The Preview Cut Of The Rebel
* The Rebel: An Original Making Of Featurette
* Behind-The-Scenes Gallery
* Trailer Gallery
Starring: Johnny Tri Nguyen, Veronica Ngo, Dustin Nguyen
Directed by: Truc 'Charlie' Nguyen
The time is the 1920's. The place is Vietnam. French forces occupy the country, and those who would resist their rule are promised a cruel fate. Working both sides of this undeclared war is Le Van Cuong, a double agent for the French regime. His mission is to root out and destroy the resistance fighters. Le Van Cuong, played by Johnny Tri Nguyen, soon begins to question his loyalty to his French handlers, and especially to his captain, Sy, played by 21 Jump Street's Dustin Nguyen. What served to change his mind? Perhaps it was the ruthless, cold blooded demeanor of his captain. Perhaps it was a sudden realization that the Vietnamese people truly deserve to regain the freedom they fight so desperately for. Perhaps it was just the girl. Yeah, that's it. It was the girl.
What follows is a fantastic historical drama, packed with plenty of martial arts excitement. Unlike many martial arts action films, The Rebel actually has more than a skin & bones plotline, mixing dramatic scenes with fighting fury in a very Hollywood-friendly way. Though The Rebel, like most movies, plays pretty loose with historical accuracy, it is quite entertaining on a purely escapist level. Try Imagining Mel Gibson's The Patriot relocated to Vietnam and you'll begin to get the idea.
Highlights of the film, along with some great fight scenes, include fine performances from the cast, especially from Dustin Nguyen, who finds a fun villain to sink his teeth into. A few more roles like this, and people may stop mentioning that he was in 21 Jump Street with Johnny Depp! Okay, maybe not, but Dustin can still hope, can't he?
So, for a martial arts action flick that's a bit apart from the normal Hong Kong fare, try The Rebel!
A.J.'s Movie Rating: 3.5 Stars (Good Stuff!)
DVD FEATURES REVIEW:
Street Date: September 30, 2008
Number of Discs: 2
Run Time: 103 minutes
Languages: English Dolby 5.1, Vietnamese Dolby 5.1, Vietnamese DTS
Subtitles:English and Spanish / English Closed Captioned
Commentary By Stars Johnny Tri Nguyen, Veronica Ngo, Dustin Nguyen & Asian Cinema Expert Bey Logan: A surprisingly raucous group commentary - Lots of great information about making a period piece on a budget, and many fun behind the scenes stories from the cast.
Empty Hand, Noble Heart: An Exclusive Interview With Leading Man Johnny Tri Nguyen:
Johnny Tri Nguyen speaks about his early martial arts training and filmwork, helping to create and do his own stunts, and discusses shooting The Rebel. Runs apx 31 minutes.
Cry For Freedom: An Exclusive Interview With Leading Lady Veronica Ngo: Pop star and actress Veronica Ngo shares a bit about her background and influences, how she got her start in the entertainment business, and her character's fighting style in The Rebel. Runs apx 33 minutes.
The Dark Destroyer: An Exclusive Interview With Leading Protagonist Dustin Nguyen: Dustin shares some of his thoughts about being a Vietnamese child growing up in 1970's America, his early martial arts background, working on 21 Jump Street, and, of course, his own actor's insight into the making of The Rebel. Runs apx 35 minutes.
One Man Army- A Martial Arts Demonstration By Johnny Nguyen: Produced especially for this Ultimate Edition DVD presentation. Johnny Nguyen demonstrates a couple of the amazing fight moves seen in The Rebel, with scene vs. demonstration comparisons. Great stuff but way too short! Runs apx 3 minutes.
Iron Jacket: A Deleted Scene From The Preview Cut Of The Rebel: A cool martial arts "warm up" scene that, like most deleted scenes, doesn't affect the story a single bit. Runs 40 seconds.
The Rebel: An Original Making Of Featurette: Ah! Somebody had their home movie camera running behind the scenes during the production of The Rebel. Slap on some onscreen titles and a public domain musical score and horray! You've got yourself a DVD featurette! Runs apx 38 minutes.
Behind-The-Scenes Gallery: Includes 11 "raw footage" style featurettes dealing with fight stuntwork for The Rebel. Runs apx 23 total minutes.
Trailer Gallery: Okay. Running trailers before the movie menu is not a special feature. It's simply advertising, and everybody does it. There isn't even a menu button marked "Trailer Gallery". Geesh.
A.J.'s Final Words: Good interviews and commentary, as always from the Dragon Dynasty series, but it seems they're reaching for the rest of the special features, which seem sparse on this title. Not a bad presentation, but I would have liked a bit more in-depth content - I'm surprised there's nothing really about present-day (or 1920's) Vietnam!
A.J.'s DVD Rating: 3 Stars (Good Stuff!)