Directed by Jeff Fong
Well, it could be worse. Yeah, you were picked on in school. And sure, you were born into a family of assassins. And on your 21st birthday, you have to kill somebody in front of the elders to prove your loyalty to the clan. It could be worse, because you might not have siblings willing to walk you through it, to stick their necks out by being your advocates, and to be your friends in a family of killers.
So at least that’s working in favor of Ru, a sweet kid who wouldn’t hurt a fly, let alone murder for money. Sensing his desperation, Ru’s sister negotiates a deal for him: for his first kill, he can pick his own target. But Ru’s so virtuous he can’t even swear, so playing judge, jury, and executioner is going to be an ethical knot he’s not so keen to untie.
What starts off as an eccentric family comedy turns into an uncommonly genuine story about sibling love. In his feature debut, Jeff Fong directs his actors with aw-shucks earnestness and displays a lively visual style. Countless young Asian American directors have attempted to bring YouTube’s DIY aesthetic and youth genres to the big screen, but this is the rare one that feels like the organic evolution of those Wong Fu-inspired nice guy shorts. Ru’s camera asides are as KevJumba as they are Ferris Bueller. The awkward absurdity is less farce than honest desperation. But what truly sets RU apart is that the home-spun Sacramento scrappiness doesn’t detract from the emotional ambition, but makes it that much more sincere. –Brian Hu
Cast: Jared Egusa, Diana Lu, Geo Lee, David Lautman