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In what can only be described as a sad day for the martial arts film industry, Charlie and Johnny Nguyen’s new film CHINATOWN (CHO LON), has been officially banned from release not only in its home country of Vietnam, but the rest of the world as well.

The gang over at Twitch have revealed that in Vietnam, the Law of Cinema (their version of the Motion Picture Association of America) has to be given clearance before it can be given a theatrical release. However, due to the extreme violence of gangster killings depicted in the film, the Vietnamese censors have officially refused to give the film a certificate. This is the official statement:

“[CHINATOWN] violated the Law of Cinema when showing scenes of gangsters blatantly set in battle, chaotic fighting with knives, swords, machetes, with blood spilling everywhere … without the interference of government, polices, people or any other social forces.

Recently the producers sent the edited version of [CHINATOWN], which cut some violent scenes and inserted some appropriate scenes. But it’s still not repaired overall, so the Central Board of Film Evaluation of the Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism shall not issue licenses for [CHINATOWN].”

Star and co-director Johnny Nguyen was saddened by the news, comparing having the film banned to losing a son. The Nguyens had cut the film three times for the censors, hoping to have gotten a release in June, but it was too little, too late. The news have forced other filmmakers from Vietnam to speak out, feeling that there needs to be a change in the Law of Cinema. Ironically, another ultra-violent Vietnamese film, THE RACE, is set for release in July.

Even more sad is that a banned release in Vietnam means that it will never be available to be seen elsewhere. In other words, fans all over the world will never get a chance to see the film in its entirety. One can only hope that one day, there will be a change in how Vietnam sees films and maybe sometime, CHINATOWN will see the light of day. Until that day comes, as film fans, we can only hope and pray. In any case, we have supported the Nguyens and will continue to do so.

  • john kreng

    Various movies have been banned in different countries for decades for various reasons. What I do not understand is, if the film is banned in Vietnam, why can’t they release it other countries? Did the Vietnamese government invest into the film and that’s why they put a kibosh to the film?

  • TheFlyingPanda

    Sucks! I hope they find a way around this, even if adding in scenes.

  • John Firth

    Not entirely sure of the reasons, but they’re only allowed to release the version the Vietnamese censors passed. Since they refused to pass any version, the Nguyens can’t release it anywhere, unless they want to blacklist themselves in Vietnam.

    Given how working back home has worked out, maybe that would be for the best…

  • jiujitsu77

    Ill be honest. If the Nguyen’s are worried about being blacklisted in Vietnam by pulling George Romero and somehow getting this thing screened elsewhere, they shouldn’t. Vietnam should be concerned with that film being a potential export and contender for world action cinema…but that is just me being naive. And as much as I am against piracy, I can almost bet on finding this within the next few months somewhere…..however, I, too, pray that this project sees the light of day officially…..and hopefully uncut.

  • kaiai

    A sad day for world cinema. That’s communism for you.

  • jiujitsu77

    BINGO! didn’t really know if the films were made in communist veitnam or not. countries can be pretty strict about censorship (IE the british), but that sounded about right to me.

  • Shazbat

    Vietnam isn’t a communist country, fyi

  • jiujitsu77

    HOW DO WE KNOW YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THEM? Kidding…..however back to the issue. to me anything labeled “socialist” is a red flag. Despite the country’s recent flirtation with capitalism, it still has a long affiliation with the communist party

  • kaiai

    Vietnam War? You might want to check your facts again. If Vietnam isn’t a communist country, then China is a democracy :)

  • jiujitsu77

    i think he is implying that vietnam CURRENTLY is not a communist country, however I still disagree.

  • Dusty Lee

    This movie is plagiarism ripped off Troy 100%, but Vietnam can’t admit plagiarism so they don’t say it in the ban, but anywhere else in world it will be trouble for plagiarism and intellectual thief. See the sad thruth in Vietnamese internet video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkQN5gOGZu8
    (VIETNAMESE MOVIES SCAM: Charlie Nguyen Facebook brag “Best Vietnam Film Ever” – LOL IT’S PLAGIARISM!)
    Sad but Vietnam try to fight very big trend of plagiarism.

  • youdumb

    Those are two different story line. So everytime someone film a person get stab in the neck then they copy the movie Troy? ReallyThis does not make sense at all.