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Saigon Bodyguards succeeds in becoming less than the sum of its many parts

The comedy in Saigon Bodyguards goes big and broad too often, while the oddly choreographed action beats reflect the film’s lower-end budget.

Rhombus Media

2 out of 4 stars

Title
Saigon Bodyguards
Written by
Michael Thai
Directed by
Ken Ochiai
Starring
Thai Hoa, Kim Ly and Chi Pu
Classification
PG
Country
USA
Language
English

Saigon Bodyguards bills itself as a wacky thriller in the vein of Hollywood's best buddy-cop comedies – but is it a legitimate film or a 110-minute lesson on the evolving globalization of the film industry? Shot in Vietnam but directed by a Japanese filmmaker (Ken Ochiai), written by an American (Michael Thai), produced and starring a Swede (Kim Ly) and partly financed by a Canadian (Rhombus Media's Niv Fichman), the film wants to appeal to all markets simultaneously, but only succeeds in becoming less than the sum of its many parts. Focusing on the exploits of two bodyguards (Thai Hoa and Ly), the comedy goes big and broad too often, while the oddly choreographed action beats reflect the film's lower-end budget. Still, Ly is a charming enough presence, and the movie's refusal to wink at itself is slightly refreshing in an era in which no comedy can seemingly live without a bit of meta-satire. But for most audiences around the world, Saigon Bodyguards will come across as more a curiosity than anything else.

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