At first glance, things seem to be going well in Taiwan in 1992. The economy is rapidly advancing, and the population is wealthier than ever before. However, nihilism is lurking. Young people don't know what to do with themselves and wander aimlessly in the streets. This includes Hsiao Kang and Ah Tze, both trying to cope in their own ways with the meaninglessness of their existence. Hsiao Kang is kicked out of his parents' home when he fails his exams, while Ah Tze rides his motorbike through Taipei and commits thefts. When the paths of the boys intersect, it has a significant impact on their lives.
Rebels of the Neon God is a poignant allegory of coming of age in a city where everything seems possible but nothing is worth the effort. The billboards beckon to the young men, but human connection has never seemed more distant. In long, lingering shots, director Tsai Ming-liang captures how the lives of the boys intersect; there is admiration, attraction, and aggression, and the homoerotic undertone is unmistakable. What will become of these boys?