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.**

Subway Badonk FTW

subwaybutt

Damn, can the author of this NYMag post do a better job of disguising his thinly veiled, seething envy?

In his post, “How Not to Use Your Butt on the Subway, in One Extreme Photo”, Joe Coscarelli describes the above subway situation thus: “On the scale of underground nightmares, it is somewhere amongst a wild rat and a man eating a large chunk of cheese with his hands.”

Please. You can stop clutching your pearls over this one, Joe. I’m pretty sure Survey Says juicy booty > a rat running twixt your toes on the way to work. Every time.

And anyone who’s ridden a jolting NY subway knows that standing in the aisle is a precarious position. While people who lean their whole damn back against the pole during rush hour embody the spirit of RUDE, this lady’s immediate area doesn’t look too crowded. This is obviously a smart, hands-free leveraging of assets — she’s able to text whilst anchoring her center of gravity — so she doesn’t go flying headfirst down the train car as it pulls out of 42nd St. You gotta use all the tools in your toolbox, ladies.

Methinks that in addition to sounding like a snotty, elitist (vaguely racist and sexist?) dickbag, Joe doth protest too much. Were that he had such a triumphant BIG REAR DON’T CURR bringin all the bois to the backyard all DAT AZZ. Oh how he WISHES. Can’t keep your eyes off that fatty, daddy, huh?

Joe also describes the expression of the girl on the left as one of  “abject horror” and proclaims, “We stand with you, Side-Eye Girl.”

First off, I wouldn’t say that chick looks so much “horrified”, as contemplative-bordering-on-admirational. She’s all, “Hmmm…now why didn’t I think of that? Note to self: Sensible. Functional. GLORIOUS.”  An all-out Side-Eye, this is not (and I am a Side-Eye conoisseur, bishes). As far as the “we stand with you” part — speak for yourself, Joe!

To the contrary: Resourceful sunshine jeggings subway pole woman, we SALUTE you!

 

via NYMag.com

Thanks Char Char!

The Best Bars in America (according to the word of AzN)

Cause I’ve always wanted to make this list and folks always be asking me for recommendations when they’re “forced” to visit any of these cities. Why even bother going to some of these cities? Because when I travel through Asia, I’m one of many. I’m Thai in Thailand, Vietnamese in Vietnam and for damn sure I’m Korean in Korea. But when you’re in most of middle America, you stick out like a bright yellow jaundiced thumb. So in no particular order other than me just trying to remember these drunken nights:

Buckhorn Exchange

Buckhorn Exchange, Denver CO: The oldest restaurant in Denver is over 200 years old and has a bar upstairs with Macallan 16 for $12. There’s taxidermy everything on the walls, even a zebra, which would only be possible if Teddy Roosevelt himself shot and killed it in Africa and brought it back (which he did).

Wood Tavern

Wood Tavern, Miami FL: By the time I got to the Wynwood District, apparently a one block version of Silverlake in the heart of Miami, I was sick of beach deco and sugary tropical drinks. After a dinner at the Shepard Fairey designed restaurant across the street (not as bad as it sounds), we walk into this bar and all we see is cheap beer, a taco stand inside a car and a trivia night going on in the auditorium in the back. Loved it so much we went back the next night and the whole block is practically closed down for the weekly biker meet up. In any other hipster bar in the country I would mean bicycle. But these are Harleys and it was a sight to behold.

Murray Bar, Livingston MT: As seen on No Reservations, the chef next door makes a mean steak and even invited us to some hot springs up the road the next day. That’s how nice they are in Montana. I’ll also never forgot the woman who left the bar for a minute and used her wallet and her flip phone to save her seat and drink. Where the hell am I?

Nye’s Polonaise

Nye’s Polonaise and Polka Bar, Minneapolis MN: One side of the bar has a lady on a piano who plays along with your karaoke stylings. The other side is an award-winning polka band. You can go back and forth and did I mention you can order piroshkies here?

Taos Mesa Brewing

Taos Mesa Brewery, Taos NM: Steel corrugated tilt-up brewing company with live music and great beer in the MIDDLE OF NO WHERE New Mexico. Drive a few miles down and look straight down the Rio Grande. Get scared and go get drunk.

Kennedy School

McMenamins Kennedy School, Portland OR: Portland is the greatest drinking town in America. I said it. These McMenamin guys convert anything and everything to a bar: hospital, hotel, and in this case, an elementary school. The classrooms are now hotel rooms, the boiler room is a restaurant, the school auditorium is a music venue and everyone wants to go to detention (its a bar, duh).

Robert’s Western World

Robert’s Western World, Nashville TN: I don’t like country music, but give me beer, bourbon and BBQ and I will line dance all night at this honky tonk just down the street from the Grand Ole Opry.

Riverhorse Inn, Milwaukee WI: So this one time I went here cause a random electro DJ crew was playing and next thing I know I was buying a round for the bar (its Milwaukee prices folks) and convinced some couple to drive me back to my hotel. So yea, this place is awesome.

Whiskey River

Whiskey River

The Whisky River, Charlotte NC: Dale Earnhardt Jr’s bar in downtown Charlotte is huge and has a mechanical bull. Went with a group of folks from NYC and we saw two girls ride it the same time and all we could talk about was how ironic this bar would be if it was in Brooklyn.

Angel’s Share

Angel’s Share, New York NY: Like everyone else, I like this bar cause no one knows its there. Which is a lie, cause now everyone knows its there.

Big

Big, San Francisco CA: Just like Angel’s Share, its hard to find. No menus, the bartenders have a conversation with you and find out your favorite ingrediants and liquor and make something according to your táste notés. They don’t even have a WEBSITE folks!

Zig Zag Cafe, Seattle WA: Best Fernet cocktails ever. Will make you zig zag back and forth on the way home, especially up those stairs.

Bar None, Vancouver BC: Some white girl with a tattoo arm sleeve stepped up to ME at this bar and it was fantastic. The bar itself? OK.

Maker’s Mark Distillery, Loretto KY: I can drink Maker’s Mark for free and all I have to do is drive an hour outside of Louisville to do it? Done. Bonus points: only place in the world to buy the moonshine version of Maker’s.

Marvin

Marvin, Washington DC: If the Thievery Corporation opened up a restaurant/bar and named it after their favorite singer it would be this. Cause they did. Did I mentioned how great laid back and awesome the music is? I wonder why.

Jacoby’s German Biergarten, Detroit MI: Within stumbling distance of the Renaissance Hotel across the river from Canada. The bar tender played hyphy all night for us when he found out we were from SF and Oakland and then he convinced us to go to a secret bar in a warehouse 5 miles from downtown where they only served beers and balloons of nitrous. Did I mentioned how fucked up Detroit is these days? Or how awesome Detroit techno is? Cause all the above is interrelated.

Friday Fuckery: Jill Stuart NY X PSY

Serve! And work and turn and…this GANGNAM IS MAHHHHVELOUS!

Psy may be milking the ish out of his song, but I’m enjoying every minute of it. Also I really want that jacket.

Speaking of New York Classy style, on Monday I was walking down 2nd Ave in East Village and there was this bum doing the Gangnam Style gallop with a broom. Then his other bum friend spotted him from across the street and ran up and hi-fived him. They both bellowed magnificently: “YEEEAAAHHH GANGNAM STYLE!!”

Now that, hunty, is New York Classy. Psy, the great equalizer — on the runways and in the streets.

Race and Jeremy Lin: A Compilation of the Best Articles This Month

There are a lot of Jeremy Lin articles out there. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. I was going to write about how we’ve followed his game from the Harvard v Santa Clara U match up with his parents all wearing We Believe shirts sitting in front row and the whole arena (which seats 2 people) chanting “Over-rated” to the time we saw his first play in a Warriors uniform (2 steals!). But instead, I decided to take all the articles I found the most relevant and interesting and wrap them up Christmas Eve-style for your viewing pleasure. I especially liked the ones sent to me by my friends who do not follow sports. So a few of these go deep into racial theory, which is still very new to me. So read these, and skip all the superfluousness ones about “Chink in the Armor” and enjoy. And if you need a quick primer to the Jeremy Lin Show (or basketball in general), check out this Linfographic and I promise you that will be the one and only Lin Pun I use:

Linfographic: Jeremy Lin’s journey, illustrated

Linsanity: There Goes the Neighborhood by Rembert Browne of Grantland

Asian Men Can Jump by Gish Jen of The New York Times

Will Lin-sanity tame Tiger Moms? by Jeff Yang of The New York Daily News

‘We Don’t Have Anything to Call Our Own Yet’: Jeremy Lin and Narratives of Achievement Among People of Color by Ryan Davis, Negro Sunshine (People of Color Organize)

Why Jeremy Lin Matters: Asian Male Image in the Media by Ky Phong Paul Tran of New America Media

But easily my favorite is the SNL opening last week that pointed out the double standard that the media has enjoyed when it comes to being political correct for African American athletes while totally disregarding Asian American ones. GO SNL: Saturday Night Live.