The Lật Mặt anthology film series, known as Face Off here in the States, is a Vietnamese production from director Lý Hải. Each film in the series features a different cast and story, but the common thread usually revolves around the protagonists dealing with outrageous obstacles.
Face Off 6: The Ticket of Destiny (Lật Mặt 6: Tấm Vé Định Mệnh) is the recent entry in the series, and it follows longtime friends as they hold the jackpot ticket that will change their lives forever. The film is intriguing with its story of violence, betrayals, and greed, but the plot is absurd and the majority of the friends are an unlikeable bunch, making you question the authenticity of their friendship.
This is my first foray into the Face Off anthology series, and as a Vietnamese American, it’s exciting to see and hear Vietnamese culture on the screen. From the small local towns to the big city, Vietnam is on display with its vibrant citizens and world, capturing the wide range of Vietnamese personalities.
Quốc Cường portrays Phương, the protagonist who wants to take care of his mat business and his daughter. Luck isn’t on his side as a landlord and accidents threaten everything he has worked for. He hangs out with his longtime friends as they celebrate a death anniversary, and things are finally turning around when he discovers that one of the tickets he bought for himself and his friends turns out to be the jackpot ticket. An unfortunate accident will have the friends scramble to get the ticket at any cost, resulting in tension and mistrust among the group.
Face Off 6 takes a bit to pick up and can feel disjointed as it tries to get viewers to know the 6 friends. Phương is the most caring of the bunch, Loc is a gambling addict, Khang is the hardass, Toan is a pervert, and Phat and An each are going to be fathers.
Once the film gets going, it is engaging when friendships are put to the test due to greed. The cast for the most part is solid, and each conveys different personalities that make the group fun to watch. You’ll learn to hate some while rooting for others, and it’s captivating to see who’s going to backstab who.
There are many turns, and it feels contrived since there are a few curveballs thrown out of nowhere. This is especially the case with Phương, where the filmmakers decide to add traumatic events to his life, resulting in melodrama after melodrama. As for the twists, there are plenty, and it’s done to the point where you wonder how these longtime friends are even friends.
This is a minor nitpick, but a couple of song choices felt oddly placed. The opening scene showing a peaceful life in a small Vietnamese town is overshadowed by a hard rock song.
Face Off 6: The Ticket of Destiny (Lật Mặt 6: Tấm Vé Định Mệnh) is part engaging, and part frustration as you watch these friends backstab each other for a jackpot lottery ticket. It’s like watching a train wreck. The dynamic of friends turning on each other might have been more believable if there was a better motive. The cast is fun, but the film suffers from a contrived script and melodramatic storytelling.
Rating: 2.5/5 Atoms