Girls vs. Gangsters - DVD Review

Michael Scott

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Girls vs. Gangsters


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Movie: :2stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :3.5stars:
Extras: :1.5stars:
Final Score: :2.5stars:



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Movie

We usually don’t do a ton of DVD reviews here, but I was intrigued by the trailer for Girl vs. Gangsters. The 2014 film Girls by Barbara Wong Chun-Chun was a decent comedic flick, with a set of 4 girls and their relationship problems, so I was kind intrigued by what looked like a sequel reminiscent of The Hangover (complete with Mike Tyson and a tiger). Well, that’s exactly what we got here. A turgid sequel that mirrors The Hangover in WAY more ways that just a few. I liked Girls for what it was, but I can’t say the same about Girls vs. Gangsters, which shamelessly rips off The Hangover and just regurgitates slapstick comedy routines to the point of becoming nauseating. Not to mention the fact that the release’s only real extra (a commentary by Barbara Wong Chun-Chun) is like listening to nails on a chalkboard.

Gentle and sweet Xiwen (Ivy Chen Yi-han) announces to her best friends that she’s actually getting married, which leaves her girlfriends in a position to do the only thing that they CAN do. Throw her a giant bachelorette party and make sure her entry into married bliss is done so in style. Her ornery best friend Kimmy (Fiona Sit Hoe-kei) persuades the bride to be to take their trip in Vietnam, where the third member of the group, Xiamei (who wisely doesn’t show up for the entire film) is supposedly working on a film project (ironically Xiamei’s absence is never explained throughout the film). The last wheel to their party train is the obnoxious “other best friend” Jialan (Ning Chang Chun-ning), who just so happens to be Kimmy’s mortal enemy.

Upon arriving in Vietnam the trio of girls find out that Xiamei has set them up at a lavish party hosted by a Vietnamese gangster (played by Son Bao Tran). The girls get a BIT plastered, only to wake up on a deserted beach, completely naked in the sand, handcuffed to a box of gold bars and are told by a mysterious caller to just “spend the money”. In a fox and a daze, the three girls have to find out just what happened to them the night before (sound familiar?), get out of the handcuffs, and get back to Xiwen’s nuptials before they get in even more trouble from the pursuing gangster (seems they have his gold bars).

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If you haven’t seen where this is going, let me remind you, this is a blatant ripoff of The Hangover. We have EVERYTHING laid out bare for us to copy, including running into a half Korean half African American retired boxer named Dragon (Mike Tyson), complete with a baby tiger. However, instead of stealing from Mike Tyson, the three girls have ripped off the unnamed Gangster, who sends good after goon in pursuit of the three girls in hopes of getting his money back. Mike Tyson’s scenes are actually rather painful to watch. The man is NOT a gifted actor, and his lisping voice makes him unintentionally hilarious at times.

The film itself is kind of hard to watch. The rest of the movie outside of the party is the three trying to backtrack their way through the night (again, sound familiar?), with car chases, projectile vomit scenes, toilet scenes, toilet humor, and VERY badly choreographed fight scenes between the women and the evil mobster’s henchwoman (Elly Tran Ha). The film concludes with such a saccharine sweet note that the entire film feels like a bad dream, and upon watching it, I wish it was. There’s some ok performances here and there, but the film is overly ham fisted in both direction and writing, and the humor seems to be stylized as “three stoogish” in nature, which doesn’t lend itself to being that funny upon viewing.




Rating:

Not Rated by the MPAA




Video: :4stars:
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Well Go USA brings Girls vs. Gangsters with a solid, if not totally typical, encode for the DVD market. The film is bright and colorful, with vibrant primaries and sparkling locations filled with even more bright colors. There’s almost a pink hue to many of the scenes, but the facial details and contrast levels seem well within reason. The only major issues that I saw was the occasional bit of banding (the opening scene shows off some right off the bat) and black levels showed some occasional smearing. I also noticed what looks like digital noise or macroblocking in the background, which may come from the compression as I noticed both the audio and video seemed just a bit compressed when checking bitrates. It’s a good looking picture, but doesn’t really push the boundaries either.








Audio: :3.5stars:
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Much like the video, the audio is a tad compressed. I glanced at it when I was checking the video bitrate and noticed that it was 384 kbps instead of the more traditional 448 kbps that DVD employs. As such the dialog heavy track feels a bit thin, even during the action sequences. The opening scrawl is powerfully lit up with bass, and the surrounds going heavy, but once the film gets under way it’s a surprisingly front heavy mix without a whole lot of punch. Surrounds DO get used during the action sequences, but the highs and the lows aren’t as well rounded as I would have liked. It’s a serviceable track, but once again, doesn’t stretch any boundaries




.




Extras: :1.5stars:
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• Director's Commentary
• Trailers










Final Score: :2.5stars:



I actually wanted to like Girls vs. Gangster, as I kind of liked 2014’s Girls well enough. Sadly this is a turgid sequel that goes completely off the rails in a matter of 30 minutes. The jokes are slapdash, the humor wildly UNFUNNY, and the very obvious rip off of the Hangover just didn’t sit well with me. I have no problem with copying a film’s style (it’s been done a million times before), but the lazy copy pasting of whole scenes and plot points just reeked of laziness. It doesn’t help the movie any when The Hangover is actually funny, and your copy isn’t. Just saying. Well Go USA’s DVD is good enough, with good video and acceptable audio. Sadly the only extra of any value on the disc is a director’s commentary, and the commentary itself is one of the blandest I’ve ever sat through. This pains me to say it due to my love of Asian cinema, but just skip Girls vs. Gangsters.



Technical Specifications:

Starring: Fiona Sit, Ivy Yi-Han Chen, Janine Chun-Ning Chang, Mike Tyson, Son Bao Tran, Shuilin Wang, Tiantian Fan
Directed by: Barbara Wong Chun-Chun
Written by: Barbara Wong Chun-Chun, Skipper Cheng
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Mpeg2
Audio: Mandarin: Dolby Digital 5.1, Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English, Chinese
Studio: Well Go USA
Rated: NR
Runtime: 114 Minutes
DVD Release Date: November 6th, 2018







Recommendation: Skip It

 

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. Never heard of it and after reading the review, will skip this one. :)
 
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