Hey gang, Valkor here. And we’re dipping back into the indie scene and taking our quest for all things cool back to Australia, where we welcome back to the main stage – Nathan Hill. It’s been a while since we’ve covered one of his films, which are always entertaining. So let’s see if he can keep that flow going with his latest and one of the funniest titles I’ve come across: Revenge of the Gweilo.
Gweilo – vaguely pejorative Cantonese slang for foreigner. Translations differ depending on who you ask. Apparently it was once meant to mean "foreign devil" (an extreme insult), but usually these days is said to mean "ghost man" due to white foreigner's pale skin and is used as a general term to mean foreigner. Gweilos get upset about being called this. Chinese think it's no big deal.
"Revenge of the Gweilo" centers on a guy named Lucky Joe (Nathan Hill), who has met and intends to marry the woman of his dreams, Esmay (Mary Annegeline) while putting aside his former cop life to start something fresh. However, their happiness is soon disrupted when a couple of masked female thugs enter Joe’s home while he’s away and kills Esmay for what appears to be a past debt or revenge. Having forgotten an important document, Joe returns to find Esmay’s lifeless body and the only evidence he has on who might have murdered her is a symbol on Esmay’s photo. With this bit of info, he’ll follow a dangerous and deadly trail that'll lead him to a local group of Chinese Triads, led by a woman named Ishtar (Tritia DeViSha). And while for the most part Joe is pretty much on his own, he does get some assist from Esmay's sister "Little Lee" (Tien Herschel). And once all of the pieces are in play, it's time for Joe's final showdown with Ishtar; will he get his revenge or will he die by the hands of his girlfriend's killer?
The way "Revenge of the Gweilo" plays out, it would make for the perfect crime/beat em up video game - the preface of Joe’s fiancée’s murder, the investigations and gathering clues, him facing off against thugs and then the final battle? Sign me up! Also, let me just say that the film features some of the loveliest women to grace the screen - and I mean there's plenty! So kudos on the casting! And now, on with the TOV Breakdown.
Funny title aside, “Revenge of the Gweilo” is an entertaining little action thriller that’s an easy 80-minute pill to swallow. The plot is pretty simple and fairly straightforward with nary a twist, but it doesn’t need any as the film has enough drama, action and sexual tension (it's loaded with gorgeous women if you need reminding) to keep things interesting from beginning to end. And Lucky Joe is one of the coolest cats around; the dude is dead set on revenge and nothing and I mean nothing will stand in his way – not even all the fine killer honeys that come after him in nearly every scene. Honestly, if it were me going up against say... the assassin/hooker that showed up on his doorstep… I’d honestly be dead… all up inside her… what? The acting is a mixed bag, but I’ve sat through much worse (more recently 3 Knee Deep), and I wasn’t expecting anything Academy Award caliber – just enough to carry me through the film and what's given works for me. In the end, Revenge of the Gweilo is a mighty fine piece of work of a film and an enjoyable thriller worth checking out.
While the film does have some nice action, it isn’t up to snuff; and by that I mean the blows these guys (and gals) throw during their fight scenes are way too sluggish as if they’re throwing punches underwater.
Revenge of the Gweilo is doing the festival rounds in Australia with an as of yet release date. But if and when there is one announced – either digital or physical – I’ll update this page. Until that time, Revenge of the Gweilo is a solid action thriller worth checking out. and the film gets a 3.5 out of TOV 5 stars.