This film is the last that I will be reviewing for Asian Film Festival of Dallas. I had a blast and hopefully I’ll be given the opportunity to do this next year. I was thrilled to see so many different types of films and it really opened my eyes to current Asian Film. I didn’t know what to expect before sitting down and watching any of the films. I can say that I will definitely drag more of my friends along next year. Anyways, on to the review.
Bitcoin Heist falls under my guilty pleasure movies. It’s set up a little like Now You See Me, but it’s in Vietnam instead of California. It’s about this cop, Dada, who’s trying to take down this guy who runs an exchange in Bitcoins. Bitcoins are illegal and are a worldwide, online currency so people can trade them without government supervision. The guy who gets caught ends up helping the cop because he gives her a chance to take out the head guy. His partner gets shot by this a shop owner and his sister, Vi. The shop owner gets shot in the exchange and the sister joins the team of the cop. An older man and his daughter are recruited along with a magician named Magic Jack. So now the team is in charge to take down this crime syndicate and restore order in the law. First, they go after this dude, Thomas, running a video game company. (I’m sorry I can’t remember their names).
All of the characters have great chemistry with one another. I was most impressed with Jack’s performance because he effortlessly pulled it off. To me, he had the charisma of a real magician. I thought his sleight of hand tricks were great as well. There are a view tricks that are obviously “movie camera magic” but I liked them overall. I liked the connection between the little girl and Magic Jack too. It was a nice comic relief in the times where it felt too dark and heavy. The cast does a very nice job balancing itself out. No performance sticks out as being bad. There’s also no moments where a performance sticks out for being too good either. It just seemed like the entire cast was friends with each other and it was fun.
The tension in the film is probably its greatest asset. There were two scenes in particular that are the films highest points and I felt myself ripping at the chair. I was so nervous and I was so surprised. It was the way that everything was framed that made it so intense for me. I also felt like I genuinely cared about all of the characters and that made it even worse for me. The chemistry of the characters made me want all of them to succeed and I think that’s what the real source of tension in the film was. The director, Ham Tran, did a great job creating that feeling.
There are two huge flaws in this film to me. I got over both of them because the rest of the film kept me so engaged. The first is that with this intricate spy plots a lot has to happen for the plan to go into action. The person in charge has to know which people will be recruited and how they will react in most situations. That’s a lot coming from the guy who looks inconspicuous to pull this whole thing off. Second is the exposition to end the film. I was almost screaming “show us, don’t tell us”. It’s frustrating that I wanted to see these characters and instead, I had to quickly read about them (I was watching with English subtitles). They went by so fast that I missed a lot of information that could’ve easily been shown to me.
Overall, I was surprised by this film. It came out of nowhere and it was very entertaining. I liked how all of the characters were connected and had great chemistry together. There were a few minor flaws, but I didn’t mind them very much. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who liked Now You See Me or just liked a heist thrill like the Italian Job. I will definitely be trying to see this film in the near future.
Score: 7 out of 10