The Scoundrels 狂徒 (2018) - Taiwan
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Debuted at Busan last year, “The Scoundrels” is new Taiwanese Director Hung Tzu-Hsuan feature debut. Action films are difficult to film, but Hung makes no excuses and time for any room for questioning as the audience are in for an adrenaline ride. Along the reigns of 80-90s Hong Kong gangsters and action movies and taking a leaf out of 70s American crime genre, this actioner impresses with its use of backstreet and alleyways in Kaohsiung to maximum effect. By the time, the film is over, we are so exhausted with the ride, that any plot gaps are fast forgotten.
JC Lin plays the down and out of luck former Taiwanese basketball league professional gone to the gutters as a low life gangster. Riding on a criminal offence of smashing the head of a spectator during a basketball match, Lin is the perfect cliche genre architect for this kind of action movie. Teamed with Wu Kang-Ren as the raincoat bank robber, the duo plays buddy pairing before turning on against each other in an overtly dramatic action UFC-style showdown. Nana Lee plays the love interest and Hsieh Hsin-Ying plays the other one, are both criminally under-explored much like 90s Hong Kong movies. Veteran Jack Kao makes an interesting appearance as bad cop giving an experienced dimension to the role.
All in all, “The Scoundrels” plays like many of the genre classics that we have seen so many times, but in a noir and rainy Taiwanese setting. We see the underworld and the brutal environment surrounding which juxtapose with the modern Hospital private rooms. Once you hit the play button, the film never stops and hangs you on with action after action and more difficult times ahead for our leading stars. For a cultish action film, this one will likely enjoy a run across the Asian markets and reminds us of the glory days of Hong Kong cinema.
I rated it 8/10
Cast: Wu Kang-Ren, JC Lin, Nana Lee, Hsieh Hsin-Ying, Frederick Lee, Jack Kao, Shih Ming-Shuai
Director: Hung Tzu-Hsuan