Fog Warning: Our Review of ‘Foggy Mountain’

Posted in VOD/iTunes/DigitalDownload by - February 18, 2024
Fog Warning: Our Review of ‘Foggy Mountain’

Now out on VOD, the Phan Anh & Ken Dinh-directed action film Foggy Mountain hails from Vietnam and seems only to exist to try and spotlight its star Peter Pham. To say that this film’s plot is nonsensical would be an understatement as it appears to have taken a bunch of martial arts film tropes, chucked them in a hat, and then each day they would pull a trope and filmed it. But the biggest, most egregious error comes once the fighting starts.

Fighter Phi (Peter Pham) uses underground fights to support him and his wife Lanh (Truc May). After swearing off his “last match”, Phi is drawn back into the ring by gangster Ba Rau (Kim Long Thach) to fight his man, under the promise that if he wins, he can afford the surgery to restore her vision that Lanh desperately needs. But after defeating Ba Rau’s man, Ba Rau takes revenge on Lanh, after leaving Phi unconscious. The movie then somehow switches to the jungles of Foggy Mountain where magically, Phi finds a jungle being threatened by Ba Rau without really looking, but ends up in trying to rescue some kidnapped villagers and children along the way.

Straight up, this film is a mess. It’s not staged or shot very well and the performances from 90% of the supporting cast here are abysmal. Leading the pack is Ba Rau himself, delivering a performance that would make Tommy Wiseau cringe. And sadly, as our leading man, Pham displays all the charisma of a piece of paper. He is still the best part of this film, which isn’t saying much sadly, as the choices made behind the camera also do not add anything to be desired here

But perhaps the biggest issue here is the fighting. There’s only one reason to even attempt to watch this film and it’s the two fights between Pham and Ip Man 3 star Simon Kook, who plays Ba Rau’s main henchman Vong Akork. They are both well-staged and executed sequences, but Kook severely outshines Pham in both. The rest of the fight scenes are blatantly sped up to 2x or even 2.5x times the speed to exaggerate the effectiveness of the clearly under prepared stuntmen Pham goes through. It’s so noticeably bad that when the two fight scenes with Kook happen, it’s jarring that those fights play out closer to real-time. And it makes the other fights look even more preposterous in comparison.

This film nearly broke me and took more than one sitting to get through. There are so many better small budget martial arts films out there, a lot of them distributed by the same distributor as Foggy Mountain. Even remotely suggesting to make any time for this film is something I cannot do. Maybe Peter Pham will one day get a better vehicle to showcase his talents to the world, but this certainly isn’t it.

This post was written by
"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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