Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
25 years ago, 'Clerks' was the low-budget comedy that took the world by storm. Click here to relive it in Jess' retrospective review!x
review, The Scoundrels, The, Scoundrels, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Jc Lin, Frederick Lee, Nana Lee, Wu Kang-Ren, Nana Lee Chien-Na, Jack Chao, Shih Ming-Shuai, Tzu-Hsuan Hung, Action, Crime, Drama film rating

THE SCOUNDRELS

★★★

FUN, FAST-PACED ACTION-THRILLS FROM TAIWAN

TAIWAN FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
31st July 2019

Tzu-Hsuan Hung’s debut feature length film ‘The Scoundrels’ is like a combination of Michael Mann’s odd-couple crime drama ‘Collateral’ (which starred Tom Cruise as an uber-competent career criminal and Jamie Foxx as his unwitting sidekick) combined with the frenetic energy of Hong Kong crime flicks directed by the likes of Ringo Lam and Andrew Lau. Basically, it’s a whole lot of fun.

Hot-headed Ray (JC Lin) is a professional basketball player until a brawl at a game effectively ends his career. With a fan hospitalised and Ray stuck with footing the bills, he has to take on a job as a parking officer to make ends meet. Desperate for cash and being not too bright, he soon finds himself working for a carjacking gang led by Hsiao-hei (Frederick Lee), sticking GPS trackers on targeted cars for them.

After a fight in an underground gambling den loses Ray his money and his watch (along with getting him shot in the leg with a nail gun), his luck goes from bad to worse when he unwittingly goes to tag the car that is being used as a getaway vehicle by the notorious Raincoat Robber, a smooth criminal responsible for a recent spate of bank van robberies across Kaohsiung. Like Robert De Niro’s impeccably-controlled thief in Mann’s ‘Heat’, this bad guy is all discipline, his energy taut and controlled. Ben (Wu Kang-Ren), as he later identifies himself, thrusts Ray into his car at gunpoint, with a hostage bleeding in the back seat.

A veteran cop (Jack Kao) is convinced that fallen celebrity Ray is their man, whereas his more earnest partner (Shih Ming-Shuai) gives more credence to Ray’s story. Meanwhile, Ray’s loyal girlfriend (Nana Lee Chien-na), who seems to think he really might be guilty, resolves to stand by him anyway.

Despite his obvious fear, Ray finds himself warming to the strangely jovial Ben. The criminal gets philosophical about his agenda and encourages Liao to embrace his darker nature while the other man, aware of his own flaws, remains unconvinced that criminality is a reaction to an unjust society.

JC Lin is excellent as the fiery-but-decent Ray, while Wu Kang-ren is suave and charismatic as Ben. As the thief begins to plan his next robbery, a bromance begins to blossom. ‘The Scoundrels’ becomes something of a long, dark night of two souls as Ray becomes inextricably involved in Ben's nefarious schemes - it's an interesting (if underdeveloped) character study that also works in triplicate as a film noir and a road movie.

‘The Scoundrels’ becomes something of a long, dark night of two souls as Ray becomes inextricably involved in Ben's nefarious schemes - it's an interesting (if underdeveloped) character study that also works in triplicate as a film noir and a road movie.

The script by Huang Chien-ming is fast-paced (although it ditches the mismatched buddy comedy vibe about halfway through) and allows Hung to impress with some inventive action set pieces (choreographed by Scott Hung) and impressive camera tricks, courtesy of cinematographers Chen Ko-chin and Chen Chih-hsuan. The visuals are slick - in neo-noir fashion, coastal Taiwan is all rain-drenched moonlit streets, gleaming spires and shiny hospitals. Like ‘Collateral’, it’s a film about architectural space and seeing parts of the city that you don’t normally - in this case Kaohsiung’s alleys, overpasses and high-density architecture.

Aside from the sudden shift in gear tonally between its two halves, Hung’s debut is a confident, impressively staged and (most importantly) fun action movie from a country that rarely produces them with this much aplomb.

FAST FACTS
AKA: Kuang Tu
RELEASE DATE: 29/07/2019
RUN TIME: 1h 45m
CAST: Jc Lin
Frederick Lee
Nana Lee
Wu Kang-Ren
Nana Lee Chien-Na
Jack Chao
Shih Ming-Shuai
DIRECTOR: Tzu-Hsuan Hung
WRITER: Huang Chien-Ming
PRODUCERS: Lin Tien-Kuei
Hsu Kuo-Lun
SCORE: Cliff Lin & Yang Wan-Chien
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
After the Wedding - Michelle Williams & Julianne Moore's glamorous outing
TRENDINGWIN AFTER THE WEDDINGMichelle Williams & Julianne Moore's glamorous outing
Promised - Love is never perfectly arranged
TRENDINGWIN PROMISEDLove is never perfectly arranged
Balloon - Courage takes flight
TRENDINGWIN BALLOONCourage takes flight
The Keeper - True story of WWII prisoner to soccer superstar
TRENDINGWIN THE KEEPERTrue story of WWII prisoner to soccer superstar
British Film Festival 2019 - Your ticket to the hottest festival in town
TRENDINGWIN BRITISH FILM FESTIVAL 2019Your ticket to the hottest festival in town
Promised - Flashback to Australian-Italians in the 1970s is a bland affair
TRENDINGPROMISEDFlashback to Australian-Italians in the 1970s is a bland affair
Little Monsters - No brains, all heart
TRENDINGLITTLE MONSTERSNo brains, all heart
Ride Like a Girl - Melbourne Cup biopic plagued by race's questionable history
TRENDINGRIDE LIKE A GIRLMelbourne Cup biopic plagued by race's questionable history
Locusts - A low-key, low-down thriller
TRENDINGLOCUSTSA low-key, low-down thriller
Basic Instinct - 25 years of the erotic thriller
TRENDINGBASIC INSTINCT25 years of the erotic thriller
NT Live: Fleabag - The birth of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's masterwork
TRENDINGNT LIVE: FLEABAGThe birth of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's masterwork
Granny Poetry Club - Growing old, friendship, learning and poetry
TRENDINGGRANNY POETRY CLUBGrowing old, friendship, learning and poetry
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Pavarotti - A perfunctory portrait of an opera superstar
TRENDINGPAVAROTTIA perfunctory portrait of an opera superstar
The Final Quarter - Tackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
TRENDINGTHE FINAL QUARTERTackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
School of Seduction - Husband hunting in Russia
TRENDINGSCHOOL OF SEDUCTIONHusband hunting in Russia
2040 - A hopeful look into our environmental future
TRENDING2040A hopeful look into our environmental future
Five Feet Apart - Breathing borrowed air and clichés
TRENDINGFIVE FEET APARTBreathing borrowed air and clichés
Double Lover - Softcore pornography for cinephiles
TRENDINGDOUBLE LOVERSoftcore pornography for cinephiles
Lion - A raw and powerful journey of identity
TRENDINGLIONA raw and powerful journey of identity
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us