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.

Trailer Parkin’: Revenge of the Green Dragons

Sometimes AzN and CBruhs spend a whole day’s worth at work emailing each other back and forth about something random until we both realize we should probably just copy/paste and make it into a blog post. This, as you may have guessed, is one of those times. 

AZN: Did you see this? It looks awesome, but just like Revenge of the Nerds, I was wondering where the original film, The Green Dragons is? Never mind, that kinda sounds like a Chinese fast food chain.

CBRUHS: Wow, that movie could be huge; in terms of Asian repping. Like the next Better Luck Tomorrow. Or it could be really bad, but the fact the director is actually Asian gives me hope that the characters will be portrayed with humanity. Like Justin Chon won’t be wearing a bra and a teddy bear glued to his wiener. Or that kid from Glee will take off his shirt.

AZN: It’s gonna take a lot for me to hop back on the HK cinema train. To keep the analogy going, I’ve long since gotten on the plane and landed in Korea and am now firmly affixed at Seoul Station never to set foot back in HK. Was that clear enough?

CBRUHS: Maybe Scorcese exec producing this movie is his way of paying back the favor of ripping off Infernal Affairs? I hope he pays viewers the favor of making Harry Shum Jr. git nekkid.

1360749946_infernal-affairs-2002-33-gAZN: If I was Wai-Keung Lau and Martin Scorsese wins a GD oscar for MY movie idea and forgot to thank the Infernal Affairs team for sourcing him the original material, then the least he can do is EXECUTIVE produce my movie. Executive producing a movie is the equivalent of a “digital introduction” which is right up there with forwarding a PDF to someone in the work world. And did I say “source”? I meant stole cause every Bostonian I know thinks this was a homegrown Boston crime story and no one knows who Wai-Keung Lau is and what Infernal Affairs 1, 2, and definitely 3 are.

CBRUHS: The trailer kinda made me homesick for my old Chinatown neighborhood (altho this took place in Queens) and is serving up a touch of Notorious MSG realness. I’m a sucker for matching jackets, wifebeaters, and manperms. I once asked an ex-banger friend of mine if they were accepting interns. Wish I was playin’ but I’m not.

AZN: If this movie were made in the ’80s I might be a gangster right now. Instead, I had Dustin Nguyen playing a “Japanese” undercover cop. Worst case scenario this might make Asian American gangsters more known in the mainstream which means breaking down Asian American stereotypes right? Hello? Right? Don’t make me come in there looking for your Bank of A-Mattress.

CBRUHS: Affirmative. Here’s where I say something about throwing off the yoke of the Model Minority Myth and the imperative of broadening AAPI media representation. And Harry Shum Jr.’s chesticles.

revenge-of-the-green-dragons-slice-560x186AZN: I’m just super glad Justin Chon is surviving the Twilight series. If he gets an Oscar nom from this he would be getting rewarded, like Anna Kendrick, for recovering from their “Bella’s BFF crew” role for all three (or was it four?) Twilight films. A feat in itself.

CBRUHS: You know what’s also a feat? Mike Chang’s physique. Is his 12-pack — uh, I mean Revenge of the Green Dragons gonna be screening in 4D??

AZN: **ERROR* Undeliverable mail: Your message did not reach some or all of intended recipients and is being returned to sender.**

Aaron Yoo- The Rich Man’s John Cho

Aaron Yoo- International Taiwanese Pop Singer/High Rolling BlackJack Player 

 

Aaron Yoo- International Taiwanese Pop Singer/High Rolling BlackJack Player

Yea, I said it. This is what happens when you sequester yourself for a year and a half with JJ Abrams and you don’t cavort around getting paparazzi pictures or show up on the Ellen DeGeneres show cause you’re holed up on a sound stage making Star Trek XI or IX, whichever number it is now depending on whether you count First Contact or whatever, John Cho! Hell yea I’m angry. You know why else I’m angry, cause this guy Aaron Yoo is making freaking good movies that are completely under the radar.  Here’s a quick list: 

Disturbia: Remake of Rear Window (My favorite Hitchcock movie) with Shia LaBeouf reprising Jimmy Stewart’s role and Sarah Roemer (who?) playing Princess Grace Kelly’s character (which is like having Hype Williams replace Alfred Hitchcock as director, but that’s a different blog). Aaron played the aZn best friend, which is pretty typical for Hollywood, but he steals the movie with some of his antics. 

Rocket Science: PURE F’N GENIUS. Have you seen this movie? No? You are no longer my friend. Only true friends of mine have seen this movie (I’m calling out you so-called friends that haven’t seen A Life Aquatic, Infernal Affairs, and State & Main as well). Aaron plays another typical aZn character, the nerd, but come on, this is over the top and meant to be tongue in cheek, right? So don’t get all “Asian-American studies 20b,  Introduction to the Contemporary Issues in the Asian American Communities” on me, aight? Cause he’s not about to reprise a Charlie Chan role, even though he cut his Taiwanese Pop Star hair to steal my 2nd grade bowl haircut:

Watch Rocket Science. Now.

Watch Rocket Science. Now.

21: Yes, we all know that if you read Bringing Down the House, and have ever stepped onto the campus back east, or ever walked by the high roller seats in vegas, you’d see Aaron Yoo-looking fools writing up theorems and doubling down. I agree, Aaron Yoo shouldn’t have been the THIRD lead on a student run Blackjack run of Vegas. The whole team  should have been made up (realistically) of fools that looked like Saudi oil barons, Taiwanese exporters and Bhutanese Princes. But at least we got a yellow brother playing a douchebag with gambling issues on screen, right? That’s progress. 

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist: Yoo plays a gay guitarist for a band called The Jerkoffs. If that ain’t the opposite of Hollywood typecasting, I will return my Blockbuster card to the nearest store location (which is, ironically, in the Castro). 

and… now… the…. kicker… Aaron Yoo’s next movie?! Labor Pains with Lindsay Lohan. And he plays, what? Her gay bestfriend? Her next door neighbor? The student in math class that helps her with her homework? Her karate shifu? No. HE PLAYS THE WHITE GIRL’S BOYFRIEND. Something that took John Cho two Harold and Kumar movies to do, becomes the main story line for a Hollywood movie.  

And John Cho, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry, these are just jokes, yaddanamean!? You know where I’ll be come May 8, 2009. I got my lawn chair, communicator pin and official Starfleet Academy approved uniform sitting in a box with mothballs in my closet.