Bitcoin Heist (Vietnam 2016)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 1/6/19
Cast: Kate Nhung, Suboi, Thanh Pham, Petey Majik Nguyen, Veronica Ngo (Thanh Van Ngo)

A master hacker known as "Ghost" is stealing Bitcoins and manipulating the market with a virus called "The Crypt." Suspended from the force and working on her own, feisty policewoman Dada (Kate Nhung) manages to nab one of Ghost's couriers named Phuc (Thanh Pham) and coerces him into helping her. She also recruits a magician (Petey Majik Nguyen), a forger, a cat burglar, and a multi-talented hacker named Vi (Suboi) to pull off an outrageous cyber-heist at Ghost's highly guarded compound. But can anyone be trusted?

It's definitely a high gloss production with a snappy soundtrack and lots of visual flair, but it's extremely tedious and its attempts at humor result in annoyance rather than laughs. The increasingly silly plot is interleaved with an endless stream of twists, diversions, betrayals, and reversals, to the point where you eventually give up trying to make sense of it. The characters are all charming in their own idiosyncratic ways, but Dada's uptight disposition and perpetual look of disdain make her the least likable of the bunch. It's a shame because she's actually quite pretty when she lets down her guard and allows herself to relax. The lovely Veronica Ngo has an extended cameo as an assassin during the beginning of the film, but her makeup is needlessly garish and overly harsh. My interest in the film disappeared along with her. It's well-made and looks good for the most part, although some of the photography is really weird and disorienting. The acting is good and the action scenes are fun to watch, but they're marred by unconvincing CGI effects. Fans of convoluted plotting may find the film entertaining, but for me it was a chore to sit through.