Singaporean filmmaker Gavin Lim debuts with a Grindhouse extravaganza starring Sunny Pang (“Headshot”) as a man confronted with his darkest nature instincts.

Diamond Dogs screened at /Slash Festival

Johnny is diagnosed with deadly cancer. With no money for treatment, he is given the option to sign up for a special medical experiment. Little does the deaf protagonist know, that he is becoming the guinea pig for a deadly underground firm, that is testing illegal substance for the military. Locked up and pumped up with injections, Johnny is no longer a human, but a cruel killing machine, proving his abilities in set-up cage fights. The only motivation to escape this hell is his daughter. After the loss of her mother, they stick together as a team. But when the facility threatens her life, Johnny is going berserk.

“Diamond Dogs” is a ride. Shot on a low budget and originally planned as a romance, Gavin Lim does not hesitate to turn the screen red. The effects are cheap as well as the girls. Japanese adult star Anri Okita plays the big-breasted, evil-minded doctor. The only positive thing to say about her performance is her ability to speak accent-free and fluent English. Following the tradition of the 60s and 70s exploitation movies, there is pointless dialogue, wacky settings, and poor special effects.

Sunny Pang acting is acceptable. In some scenes, he is able to pull off an emotional impact and his martial arts skills are convincing. For the foreign viewer, Pang seems like the Singaporean version of Danny Trejo. Considering his growing popularity in South-East Asia, he could become a household name in the genre.

The subplot is telling the story of a society drifting more and more apart. A corrupt government, a high-class society living by their own rules and a poor working class, that is left behind with no hope for the future. People are becoming slaves of an abusive and merciless system. The only way out is violence.

Speaking of violence. In this case “Diamond Dogs” is setting up high expectations but fails to fulfill them. The degree of gore is manageable and one may have seen more shocking or creative sequences in other movies. Gavin Lim has the chance to exceed his debut film in his next projects and I am really excited to see in which direction his and Sunny Pang’s careers will go.