BCB Movie Review: Revenge of the Green Dragons

Over the weekend I finally convinced myself to fork out $9.99 (highway robbery!) to watch Revenge of the Green Dragons on DirectTV, to follow-up on our Trailer Parkin’ post, and also because: AZNs. With mullets.

While the trailer looked promising, especially since it’s directed by Andrew Lau of the glorious Infernal Affairs… I found Revenge of the Green Dragons kinda meh…mixed with a little huh? and a healthy dose of blue balls (on my part).

Ergo, to this last point, the ROTGD trailer promised some steamy AZN-on-AZN rooftop sex scenes. Behold:

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 4.25.04 PMHowever, these scenes were absent in the actual film; instead we got some tepid, PG-rated fully-clothed kiddie smooches:

kissBOO I say, BOO! For WHY were the smex scenes taken out, leaving us with CRUMBS? Do they think AMERICA CAN’T HANDLE IT?!? Again, since every single ad for 21 & Over schticked up Justin Chon in a brassiere and teddy bear merkin, than I better damn well see him get it in in ROTGfrigginD. False advertising! Injustice!

ROTGD was also kind of a mess, messaging-wise. It seemed to attempt several bold statements on “illegal immigration”, racism, and the promise and hypocrisy of the American Dream, but I couldn’t quite figure out what those statements were. It was incoherent at best, and came off borderline anti-immigrant at worst: fear the invading, violent, money-crazed yellow hordes!

Madame snake head, who makes her riches off trafficking and exploiting Chinese immigrants, dramatically pronounces “It’s what this country’s built on…the American Dream!” A Chinese cop (played by MC Jin. Hell YAS) admonishes a white colleague for the fuzz’s disregard for brown lives (gee, so much has changed). “Also — fun fact! — did you know there are lots of Chinese languages, officer? Cantonese, Shanghainese, Fukienese…Hello? Are you listening to meeee…….” Jin should have just launched into “Learn Chinese” and then peeled off on the back of DMX’s bike screaming the Ruff Ryders Anthem (seriously, somebody hire me as a screenwriter). Similarly, the Green Dragons make a point to only kill each other — never Gwai-los — in order to fly under the enforcement radar (except the one time they smoke a white guy bitching out a restaurant owner about MSG in his food. Very satisfying).

At times, ROTGD came off as an exploitation flick, what with the slow-mo rape scene and beating the shit out of little kids in cringe-inducingly creative ways. It doesn’t leave much sympathy for any of the characters and makes every single Asian dude except the protagonist look like scum of the earth. But, I’m willing to overlook alla that cuz, matching  jackets!

There’s also some magnificently cornball lines like, “There’s a storm coming detective, I don’t know of any umbrella that’s gonna keep this city dry. Umbrella-ella-ella.” (Sike. But I wish).

However, there were some bright spots — Kevin Wu aka KevJumba of YouTube fame — surprisingly gave the strongest performance — with a close runner up to his perm-mullet, which deserves its own Oscar nom:

kevhairThe classic ‘do, seen on such folks as Tuan Anh, my uncle, and probably your uncle too. This hairstyle is a national treasure and should be counted amongst the greatest contributions immigrants have made to this country.

Other hair wins go to Leonard Wu as Chen I Chung, who is obviously a dead ringer for Down-Lo Mein from Notorious MSG. Yo D-Lo, bitch stole your look! Also, why aren’t you returning my DMs?!

Don't ask how long it took me to make this.

                                      Don’t even ask how much time I spent making this.

Finally, and most importantly, Harry Shum Jr. didn’t take his shirt off. Even once. I am VERY disappoint. I had to console myself by googling Tony Leung pics.

So, I don’t think ROTGD is a serious contender to dethrone Better Luck Tomorrow by any stretch, but it’s still pretty remarkable in terms of a plot that centers around an Asian American narrative and it’s all-Asian lead cast. Worth checking out for the tats n gats alone.

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White Folks in Uproar Over Bologna

Kate Orlinsky for WSJ

If you’ve ever been out to Flushing Queens, you know that’s where all the glorious Asian shit be. Lamb cumin burgers, pork uteri, underground food stalls, and even more Asian residents and businesses than Manhattan’s Chinatown. In fact, the population of northern Queens over the last decade has swung heavily immigrant and Asian, now at about 50% Asian and 50% white.

According to the Wall Street Journal: “Some non-Asian residents mourn the neighborhood’s transformation, saying it feels like a foreign country. They say the Key Food, which closed in late May, was among the last grocery stores where they could buy Lean Cuisine and deli meats…in a sign of the intensity of these residents’ lobby, elected officials are brokering negotiations with the manager of the Asian store, New York Mart, about what it will stock. Among demands: Boar’s Head bologna, bagels and pet food, for a start….”

Normally in New York (Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn at least), we hear about people of color being priced out of their homes and seeing their businesses replaced by upscale boutiques and restaurants due to gentrification. I certainly see it around Chinatown. Same goes for Harlem, Spanish Harlem, LES, Willyburg, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

I would be temped to throw out a “Ha! How does it feel, white people?!” here, but I think this particular situation is different, especially in terms of class. Your everyday Boar’s Head & Entenmann’s eatin’, four-decades livin’, old school Queens white person who isn’t tech-savvy enough to order from FreshDirect is an entirely different breed than your upper-middle class, transplanted fauxhemian, condo-buying yipster.

I’m hoping that community members like Assemblywoman Grace Meng and local business owners can help bridge the gap and ease racial tensions. It does appear that Asian business owners in Flushing are taking these residents’ concerns into consideration, with mixed reception over things like translating signs into English. But the consideration needs to go both ways, with respect rather than racially-coded resentment and demands coming from white residents.

Nothing seems to hit closer to home and inspire more outrage than losing access to your soulfoods, and I believe it’s a right to be able to eat your cultural fare, whether it’s char siu bao or deli meats. Y’know, Asian folks like cold cuts too y’all — let the fatty pork and bánh mì đặc biệt be the first steps towards racial harmony!

Thanks Princess Char Char of the land of Zane!

via Gawker and WSJ

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