DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

578 Magnum (578: Phat Dan Cua Ke Dien)

Extremely formulaic action thriller from Vietnam adds absolutely nothing new to the well-worn genre - from the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival


Child screams. Run! Jump! Punch! Ouch. Now punch the second guy! Kick the third one! Shoot, shoot and shoot! Sword fight. Cut that throat! Blood gushes. Fight 50 males off entirely on your own. Vroom!!! Ram that lorry into them. Then punch and kick 20 more villains, this time all of them females. Roll down that mountain and survive virtually unscathed. More punching. Pow! Kaboom! Shazam: he survives! Child kicks and screams. Run, hide, jump. Oops. Explosion! Boom! Blood everywhere. Fgfhg***jhgjv,jh!!! Child kicks and screams again. Now to the big villain. Pow! This more or less gives you an idea of what happens in this insufferable Vietnamese movie.

And now the alternative synopsis: loving lorry driver Hung (Alexandre Nguyen) wants to revenge his daughter, who was kidnapped and tortured by a ruthless millionaire. The villain is supported by a horde of bloodthirsty men and women. Our hero successfully fights off every single one of them in order to confront the bad guy, in what’s intended to be a martial arts bonanza. In fact, Nguyen does indeed look like Bruce Lee. I just don’t think the Hong Kong actor would be very impressed with this Vietnamese concoction. He is probably rolling in his coffin instead.

The fighting takes place from the very beginning, in a film with hardly any room for character development and even a coherent narrative arc. Most of the time, you are left wondering how Hung survives, and the latest evil-looking character fits into the story. I could hardly make heads from tails, and – quite frankly – I couldn’t even be bothered. Top it all up with one of the worst and most annoying child actors you will ever come across. The only real skill of 578 Magnum is adhering to every conceivable cliche of the action thriller.

Those hoping for a journey into a fascinating Southeast Asian country are in for a disappointment. Magnum 578 doesn’t even provide any significant insights into Vietnamese culture. This a a movie that could have taken place virtually anywhere in the world.

I don’t have an issue with a-list festivals picking genre movies for their main competitive strand. But that can be troublesome if the movie is trivial and unimaginative. This can be particularly challenging with a genre as trite and exhausted as the action thriller. Here is another example of another recent and similarly disappointing pick.

578 Magnum is in the Official Competition of the 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. Count yourself luck if you survive an hour into the film. Very few films have annoyed me as much as this one recently. Mind, however: not everyone seems to agree with me. British grandee Mike Newell, who was the president of the Jury at Tallinn just three years ago, has showered the film with praise, and his name is indeed one of the very first to appear on screen, although it’s not entirely clear what role the director Two Weddings and Funeral (1994) and Harry Potter and The Globet of Fire (2005) played in the production.

By Victor Fraga - 22-11-2022

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years of involvement in the cinema industry and beyond. He is an LGBT writer, and describes himself as a di...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Sexual diversity is at the very heart of [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

Run, Hide, Fight

Kyle Rankin

Victor Fraga - 10-09-2020

Highly formulaic and poor-taste American high school shooting drama both glamourises and fetishises violence to the extreme - on VoD on Sunday, August 15th [Read More...]

Our dirty questions to Sarah Young


John McDonald - 27-05-2024

John McDonald interviews Sarah Young, the director of the deceptive "perfectly married couple" movie Not Him; they talk about domestic violence, the paranormal as a horror device, her upcoming comedy horror series, and a lot more [Read More...]

The Substance

Coralie Fargeat

Victor Fraga - 27-05-2024

Coralie Fargeat's deliciously bonkers body horror is a grotesque, groovy and hilarious riff on sexism, ageism, and the absurd beauty standards forced upon women - from the 77th Festival de Cannes [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *