15th May2019

‘Vixen’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Lie-ri Chen, Bryan Larkin, Mr. Waka Waka, Jared Robinsen, Luc Bendazza, Julian Gaertner, David Johnson Wood, Ryan Logan, Jai Day, Max Repossi, Catherine Du, Tian Guo-Xiong, Hai Bing Huang, Ray Li | Written by Bey Logan | Directed by Ross W. Clarkson


You might not recognise the name of director Ross W. Clarkson but its safe to say he has one hell of an action-movie pedigree. Vixen marks his directorial feature debut but Clarkson has had a LOT of experience in genre cinema, working as a cinematographer on films such as Undisputed 2 and 3, as well as the Scott Adkins starrer Ninja and its sequel, and the Van Damme flick Derailed… Like I said, one hell of a pedigree – something that shines through each and every frame of Vixen, from opening to close.

It also helps that the film comes from the pen of Bey Logan, the former editor of the classic action movie magazine Impact, who has worked extensively in the genre since moving to Hong Kong some years ago – parlaying his writing skills and knowledge into a career in the movies. His script is both respectful of the genre yet pokes fun at it too. This film knows what it is – a Die Hard clone – and makes the most of that in the most old-school, early 90s kung-fu, way possible.

As aforementioned, Vixen takes the standard “Die Hard” trope of bad guys taking over a building and uses that to showcase the skills of lead actress Lie-ri Chen who -like many of her genre contemporaries – can not only fight but act too! The film tells the story of beautiful but deadly Chinese Policewoman, who is taking part in a conference on security, who must team up with a roguishly handsome Interpol Agent to battle terrorists who have taken over the worlds tallest building. A simple plot on which to hang some superb kick-ass action!

Clarkson’s film reminded me very much of one of my favourite modern HK/US action flicks, the Shannon Lee starring And Now Your Dead. That movie embraced old-school cinema, with its cheesy dialogue, bad dubbing and over the top action, making for a fantastic finished film. And Vixen follows suit, with actress Lie-ri Chen really embodying the action movie heroine aesthetic, her moves echoing the likes of Michelle Yeoh and in particular Cynthia Rothrock – she does Rothrock’s trademark scorpion kick – Chen even throws in some brutal looking Muay Thai moves. All of which make Chen, and her policewomen character Lee, look like a total badass.

Ye,s Vixen is low budget and yes, that lack of budget is reflected on screen but you have to respect any film that brings so much martial arts mayhem to the table. This is as old-school, late 80s/early 90s era direct to video kung-fu cinema as you can get. And as someone who grew up on such films, schooled by the likes of Impact Magazine, this ticks all my martial arts boxes and more. In short, I LOVED it!

**** 4/5

Vixen is available in the US on digital streaming platforms such Amazon, DirecTV, AT&T, FlixFling, Vudu, Vimeo on Demand, XBOX, Sony, Google Play, and Fandango now.


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