Tag Archives: Asians

Romeo Must Die

In what was considered Jet Li’s breakout American performance, I was a bit disappointed. (I personally though Lethal Weapon 4 really showcased a lot more skills…) The plot is just a crude, urban sampling from Romeo and Juliet. There were minimal stunt/fight scenes. Overall it wasn’t as action packed as the cover had led me to think. I guess I should’ve

An awkward couple?

expected half-assed amounts of martial arts from the director of Exit Wounds, Doom, and Street Fighter. Thanks a lot, Andrzej Bartkowiak…

Let’s just examine the plot to get a what bothers me about this movie. Two warring families. You have the Sing family, led by Ch’u Sing (Henry O). Then you have the black family led by Issak O’Day (Delroy Lindo. He’s that intelligent black man you see in a lot of films as a stock character actor. The smart version of Ving Rhames.) O’Day? What kind of last name is that for a black mafia family? And when have black gangs ever organized like the mafia in the first place? Weird…

This is the second time in a film I’ve seen a guy throwing a girl around…

So yes, I get the two warring families with Jet Li and Aaliyah in the middle. They don’t really love each other at first and you never get that onscreen chemistry from them. Never even a kiss. Just a hug. What I find weird is that they shot the kiss scene (that could’ve been placed anywhere in the film) and they chose to cut it out. Racist anyone? The screeners said it was awkward… Hmm…

Anyways, Jet Li is Han Sing, escaped from a high security prison in Hong Kong. He creatively escapes during one of the cooler fight scenes in the film, but how does he escape the country and make it all the way to Oakland? There is a real lack of police interference in this movie… Aaliyah is a beautiful young actress who (after watching this and The Queen of the Damned) really was taken too quickly from the

It’s all about the shades for Wong.

silver screen. She wasn’t like other R&B actresses onscreen who kinda flaunted their sex appeal. She came across as the cute girl next door you could believe and fall in love with. (Not so much in The Queen of the Damned, but just as good in that movie too.)

A beautiful and tragic young actress.

So Jet Li makes it to Oakland to discover something fishy going on with his father’s gang enterprise. His brother Po (Jon Kit Lee) has been murdered and Han Sing is on the case to find out what happened. (He used to be a police officer. Jackie Chan anyone?) The two star crossed lovers meet (if you can call them lovers) and their families war around them. With some betrayal and only the slightest bit of martial arts, this movie comes to its conclusion: happy ending.

But it wasn’t such a good ride to the happy end. Coming from a 2000 film, the ghetto speak was tired and old. If I had watched it when it had came out, I might be saying something different. But all the dawg’s and yo’s really wore on me… especially when the Chinese gangs used that slang, AND if showed up in

Some of that minimal martial arts.

their subtitle translations for some strange reason… I don’t think they have that kind of slang in the Chinese language…

And how racist this film was! It wasn’t just the speech, it was the music. Sure you have an all star cast doing the R&B hits for all the black gang scenes, but when it comes to cutting over to a scene with Jet Li or someone in the Asian gang, classical oriental music. The clangs and bows of what every person in America hears when they go into a Panda Express. There couldn’t be an infusion or anything more original for both gangs? This movie just seemed like a compare and contrast of races. The only crossover was that some black gang members miraculously knew proper Karate/Wushu form for no reason. Fancy that…

Get your head around that…

The acting was fine and I had no major complaints about that. But for some reason, and I don’t know how to put it into words, Anthony Anderson (co-star of some of the Scary Movies… and Kangaroo Jack…) just rubbed me the wrong way. He wasn’t funny, and seeing him get his ass handed to him by Jet Li just seemed satisfying… Overall though, the whole movie put me in a sour mood. I’ve seen better from Jet Li. This movie is one of those Asian/American films that takes the whole action/martial arts thing for granted. It sickened me a little bit. It was just too dated for me. They should’ve changed the title too… Romeo Must Die? More like A Vague Racist Action Movie About Building A Football Dome. There you go, all fixed. 4.3 out of 10.


District 13: Ultimatum

Dope.

In this sequel to the French action film, Banlieue 13, also known as District 13, there’s more parkour and straight up ass kicking to the extreme in this film. Taking place 3 years after the events of the first, Ultimatum is a movie that really makes me wanna go back and watch the first. That’s how good this movie was, it makes me wanna watch the first one (although I understood what was going on) just so I can connect the two and rewatch the second one. That’s what’s good with this film. Word.

In this film, David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli reprise their roles as Leito and Damien, the hard hitting cop and parkour specialist. In this movie (and I’m assuming it’s a continued story from the first) there’s still a District 13 in France,

Dave and Cyril, Damien and Leito, back again.

comprised of thugs and gangsters from every major European nation. There’s the Jews, the Blacks (Africans, I’m pretty sure), the Asians, and so on and so forth. In a symbolic representation of the tensions felt between races, this movie really speaks to race relations in a modern society, if left unchecked. With these problems plaguing the French government, the DISS (also known as the Department of Internal State Security) has some big plans for this district.

After busting some dumb thugs who see a man in heels and a wig and assume he’s a woman, Leito (Belle) takes them out one by one with a medicinal gun. He drops them down this¬†conveniently¬†placed sewer grate and looks good all the while doing it. I don’t think it means I’m gay that I found him to be attractive as a woman, I had no idea at first that he was a man, which I think is a bit of a bravo for the makeup crew on this movie set. The movie industry does wonders. Afer a job well done, Leito goes back to his flat and bangs his black girlfriend. Then he’s kidnapped for a drug framing. And this is where the conspiracy starts.

Just a taste of the parkour in the film.

While in jail, Leito calls on his best friend Damien to help get him out, which he thankfully agrees to. With some great parkour moves and some investigating of his own, Damien and Leito discover a plan that will rock all of District 13. Will they be able to stop the dastardly plan? It’s all up to Damien and Leito and their French stunt skills.

What I really liked about this film was the realistic stunts. And the way those realistic stunts flow in between a well delivered plot with some good rapport and dialogue. Leito goes from shoving his foot down some punks’ throats to Damien jumping effortlessly from building to building in order to save the day. And who knew that parkour could save someone’s life? The last scene is quite mind blowing and full of adrenaline pumping destruction from every gangster in the film. Any scene between Damien and Leito is a natural conversation between friends, although I know nothing of the French dialect and its intonations. Just two friends destroying and having a good time doing it.

The classic batch of gangsters.

The idea behind the movie is pretty cool, and I’ve not seen that many French films before. Luc Besson has written some badass films in the past (Transporter Series, The Fifth Element, etc.) and this movie is no exception. You know that old stereotype about French being sissies? Watch this movie and tell me that to my face with a straight look. I was impressed with the wide ranging cast of ethnicities and the

‘Bout to kick some ass, all while savin’ a Van Gogh.

deliverance in lines. There’s a bit of that cheesily delivered lines, and some lines you wouldn’t believe people in government wouldn’t ever say, but this action movie doesn’t go overboard. And that impressed me. With a movie like this that can keep you entertained at every turn with its fast paced filming and action, you can’t do anything but want more of it. And that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. Impress me some more France. I’m listening. A solid 7.3 out of 10.