Imagine Die Hard but with Li-Ran taking on the terrorists and playing the part of Bruce Willis, imagine a locked down Weapons Expo (weapons that never make an appearance), martial arts and chronically bad dubbing and you start to build a picture of Vixen (2018).
The storyline is terribly vanilla but the film may just have been saved by great martial acts action sequences, sadly though the fighting scenes lacked conviction, looked awkwardly staged and weren’t particularly well choreographed. (Did I mention the constantly shifting camera angles so you loose track of what’s happening?).
Not only that though the dubbed in sound effects and terrible sound quality of the fight sequences made them look like a school production filmed on a smart phone.
Blatantly the budget was quite low here but that doesn’t entirely excuse the generally ‘hammy’ acting. Thankfully Li-Ran manages to hold up her end even if her fight scenes aren’t very convincing (I suspect that falls more on the editing than the acting), unfortunately though I found some of her English particularly hard to understand – her subtitled Mandarin was much more natural.
Random bouts of dubbing that distorted the actors voices to the point where I couldn’t understand what they were supposed to be saying and didn’t sync with their lip movements at all is perhaps my biggest complaint of Vixen.
On top of that the dubbed accents for various actors kept on changing so at times you didn’t know who was actually talking. Ironically though the same actor un-dubbed was generally much more easy to understand – I’m thinking of Benza, Luc Bendazza (“Chinese Zodiac”), here.
Victor, Bryan Larkin (“London Has Fallen”, “Chasing The Dragon“), is arguably the most natural and convincing actor of the bunch and deserves a mention, sadly though he gets dispatched rather early on and we’re left with mostly 3rd rate actors. (How could you not mention Mr. Waka Waka? Genuinely his name! – Ed)
Two other actors of mention could perhaps be Jared Robinsen (“The Chronicles of Narnia”, “The Condemned”) who plays the part of the arrogant American tosspot to a tea (although beyond that his acting is fairly abysmal) and Julian Gaertner who we know can act but frequently suffers from the bad end of dubbing in Vixen.
I found the pace more than a little slow and not at all up to the pace of an action movie, that said there are one or two humorous scenes which give Vixen some reprieve – I was especially fond of Bryan Larkin dictating to his underling (you’ll know the scene when you see it).
Even with the same bland storyline Vixen could have been so much better if only the dubbing had been forgotten and the fighting sequences were more convincing and more interesting. As it is though Vixen just doesn’t have enough to make it worth watching.