REVENGE OF THE GREEN DRAGONS
Directed by Andrew Lau, Andrew Loo
Actor Harry Shum Jr, co-director Andrew Loo, and other members of the cast scheduled to appear.
Official Selection, 2014 Toronto International Film Festival
Every generation or so Hollywood announces a high-profile Asian American project and even invites Asian Americans to play the lead roles. Say what you will about the Flower Drum Songs, the Joy Luck Clubs, and the Harold and Kumars – they are events, opportunities, and seminal moments in the history of Asian American performers on screen. This generation, that film is REVENGE OF THE GREEN DRAGONS. It’s directed by Hong Kong-based Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs) and the bi-national Andrew Loo. It stars the who’s-who of East Asian American male actors on the cusp of the mainstream. And it’s about a community of scrappy Chinese Americans in New York Chinatown.
Sonny (Justin Chon of Twilight) watches his mother die during their trek from China to the United States. Growing up alone in the 80s means being in the shadow of warring gangs, and one day he gets recruited into the nefarious Green Dragons along with his buddy Steven (Kevin Wu of Kevjumba). Under the tutelage of commanders played by Harry Shum Jr. (Glee, Step Up 3D), Eugenia Yuan (Charlotte Sometimes, Three), and Leonard Wu, they’re taught to kill and they’re taught the golden rule of the trade: never take out a white person. It’s a mantra the considerable racist element in the NYPD can get behind, but a young cop (Jin Au-Yeung, aka MC Jin) sees the situation differently.
REVENGE OF THE GREEN DRAGONS is all about momentum. It moves head-spinningly fast, taking cues from Hong Kong’s most barebones gangster films and fly-by-night American b-cinema. Despite Martin Scorsese’s name above the title, REVENGE is less a gangland epic than a swift slap in the face. The film thrives on the sense that the gang, the police, and the geopolitics are shifting way too fast for kids with guns to process.
But above all, the film is a showcase of young Asian American talent and a rare opportunity to see it perform in concert on the big screen. Between this and 21 and Over, there should be no denying that Justin Chon is leading man material. The revelation though is internet sensation and Amazing Race veteran Kevin Wu as the firecracker of a friend, mullet raging over a thick-browed, harried boyishness trying to keep hold of the steering wheel. –Brian Hu
Opening Night Party immediately after this screening at Bang Bang, sponsored by Union Bank
Cast: Justin Chon, Kevin Wu, Harry Shum Jr., Leonard Wu, Eugenia Yuan, Jin Au-Yeung, Ray Liotta