This critic, the vast majority of the time, does not enjoy writing a negative review (and he would suspect the same is true of others). Even when films are bad, a tremendous amount of effort went into creating them; people poured their hearts and souls into these works and dunking on them with “witty” phrasing doesn’t do anyone any good. There are exception to this, naturally, but they are few and far between.
“Vixen,” directed by Ross W. Clarkson, is not one of the exceptions. That is, this almost, sort of, would be “Die Hard” tale is a bad movie, but it’s not one in which there is any pleasure declaring it as such. The tale makes little narrative sense, it doesn’t offer much in the way of action, and yet one can see what the cast and crew were going for even if it doesn’t work.
The setup for the story is simple – an important technological security conference is taking place amongst several nations (or their corporate stand-ins perhaps). Although only a handful of nations are in attendance and none of the delegates has a staff, the conference is in a massive, yet unfinished, location. The delegates will be locked in for the duration of the conference, which entirely takes place at night, and while there is a security presence, it’s a wholly incompetent one. And the one thing the bad guys didn’t count on was the presence of Sunny (Li Ran) at the table for the Chinese. She is more than equipped to deal with thieves, terrorists, and any other manner of threat.
Sure, one might stop and ponder why the bad guys, led by Bendza (Luc Bendza), don’t know who is attending the conference and what sort of background they have. Perhaps it’s a big secret, after all, none of the attendees seem have a good idea who the others are (or at least who Sunny is). But, and this is really one of the biggest flaws in the film, it isn’t just this which doesn’t make sense, nothing does. There is no reason for a conference to operate in this way. There is no reason for the bad guys to proceed in this way. There is just no logic behind any of it.
As one last example of this, there is a moment when the police are called about the takeover over the building. The guy at the desk who answers the phone at the police department, wonderfully, points out just how much it’s like “Die Hard.” He then, knowing that there’s this big, important, conference taking place which may now be under the sway of terrorists, calls over to the building and just asks whomever answers the phone if terrorists are in charge. Did he expect, if terrorists had taken over, for them to leave the receptionist in place? Did he expect the terrorists to own up to their villainy? Who knows. Whatever he may have anticipated, he accepts the voice at the other end of the phone telling him that there are no problems and the police man doesn’t even bother to send Sgt. Al Powell on a drive by.
The acting in “Vixen” is stiff; the dialogue is weak; and, as noted, the action doesn’t impress. Were this last item better, it would make up for a lot of other sins. The goal sitting down to watch this sort of movie tends to not be to get a new and different type of story, but rather to get a story that serves to provide intense, bone-crunching fights. While there are several action sequences, none of them are memorable.
There is then little, if anything, to recommend in “Vixen.” It is out on demand on May 6th, but unless your bar is set low, it isn’t worth queuing up.
photo credit: DarkCoast Worldwide