Review: The Lady Assassin

The Lady Assassin
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Director: Quang Dung Nguyen
Cert: Club
Genre: Action
Starring: Kim Dzung, Tang Thanh Ha, Thanh Hang
Running Time: 1 hr 41 mins

If you're prepared to describe Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle as a feminist action film (and you almost certainly aren't), then you might like to label this extraordinary Vietnamese entertainment a feminist martial-arts flick. The Lady Assassin concerns a group of suave, thieving courtesans who spend their days lurking in an inn some way off the main road. They are gifted various backstories – circus performer, discarded mistress – but so headlong is the action it proves impossible to care very much.

The story begins when a high-born woman happens by and they decide to induct her into the gang of thieves. She takes to it like an impossibly glamorous duck to quasi-lesbian couplings in nicely photographed water. Never mind all that. The story is about as important as, well, the story of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle . The picture is all about the set-pieces, and they are consistently lively, balletic and hilarious. Watch as they clean the tavern in the style of wire-rigged wuxia warriors. Revel as they play endless implausibly dynamic games of volleyball. Enjoy a denouement that delivers more graphic violence than this largely comic run-in has hitherto promised. Savour all that now. The picture is unlikely to play here again in commercial cinemas.

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic