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.
Leave a comment | tags: 2000 film, Aaliyah, all-star cast, American cinema, Andrzej Bartkowiak, Anthony Anderson, Asians, beautiful young actress, betrayal, black family, breakout performance, Ch'u Sing, Chinese gangs, classic oriental music, co-star, compare and contrast races, crude plot, cute girl next door, dawg, Delroy Lindo, disappointing, Doom, Exit Wounds, expected better, football dome, ghetto speak, Han Sing, happy ending, Henry O, high securtiy prison, Hong Kong, intelligent black man, Issak O'Day, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Jon Kit Lee, Kangaroo Jack, karate, lack of police presence, Lethal Weapon 4, mafia family, Martial Arts, minimal fight scenes, murder, music, no kissing scene, no onscreen chemistry, no real love spark, O'Day family, Oakland, Panda Express, Po Sing, police officer, R&B singer, racism, racist film, Romeo and Juliet, Romeo Must Die, rubbed me the wrong way, Scary Movies, Sing family, slang, sour mood, star crossed lovers, stock character actor, Street Fighter, subtitles, The Queen of the Damned, tired and old, too outdated, tragic death, urban, Ving Rhames, warring families, yo | posted in Movies
It’s all fun and games to playa hate on Ping Pong. But not to the Chinese. In a sport that originated in China (not in England, as white people claim, apparently…) Chinese people take the art of the Pong very seriously. (Balls of Fury can make fun of this one all they want. Yes, at times that movie was funny, but it is considered a sport.) But this movie
Yao Ming ballin’ it up at a Ping Pong table?
doesn’t take itself too seriously. Written by Jimmy Tsai the star of the film, combined with Jessica Yu’s directing and co-writing, comes a lighthearted and inspirational film that resets the Chinese at the top of the crop in table tennis.
At the start of the film we are introduced to C-dubs (Jimmy Tsai). He has amateur dreams of becoming an NBA basketball player, following in the famous footsteps of Yao Ming. In a mock interview with someone made to look like Ron Howard (Jonathan Oliver playing “Jon Howard), C-dubs attempts to shake the Asian stereotypes that are held over his head with his ghetto dialect, an effort in vain.
Everyone has 4th grader friends, right?
His parents, Mr. (Jim Lau) and Mrs. (Elizabeth Sung) Wang find him lazy and apathetic to the world of Ping Pong, despite owning and operating a Ping Pong equipment shop and Ping Pong lessons at the local community center. Spending all his days with his black friend, JP Money (Khary Payton) and his 4th grader friend Felix (Andrew Vo), C-dubs looks hopeless. Until the day that his older brother Michael (Roger Fan) gets into an accident with his mother, who is no longer able to host her Ping Pong lessons. It is up to C-dubs to hold down the fort and teach some Ping Pong.
As you can expect from an inspirational film like this, C-dubs is very resistant at first. He goes to the community center with no desire to
DESTROY THOSE FOOLS.
teach, despite having a talent from a young age. You know it’s getting in the way of his training for basketball, but there’s a little surprise with that… With the help of his elementary level school friends and the interest of a young and beautiful Chinese woman, Jennifer (Smith Cho). When rep is on the line, C-dubs picks it up and realizes he has been a mess his whole life. Time to step up to the paddles.
King Erotic, you’ve come back…
There are a few great appearances in this movie. Stephanie Weir from MadTV makes an appearance as the awkwardly racist Ping Pong judge. Shelley Malil from The 40 Year Old Virgin is also featured as the father of one of the awkward Indian kids who is to smart for his own good. And, what may be the best, is Khary Payton as C-dub’s black friend. Many may not recognize him, but his was King Erotic in the Troy/300 spoof, The Legend of Awesomest Maximus. Man was he latently homosexual in that movie…
The acting was fine and there were laughs and comedy throughout. Every time there is a swear word, a basketball bounce is played over it (making it funnier than if they had sworn). It’s a movie for teens that teaches a lesson about good
sportsmanship, as well as race relations. Never judge a book by its cover (i.e. C-dubs and his bball dreams) and always have in the back of your mind that what you say may offend others. It has a nice message and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s semi-entertaining and may not be funny for everyone, but check it out. You might learn something. 6.4 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 300, 4th grade friend, accident, Andrew Vo, apathetic, Asian stereotypes, awkwardly racist, Balls of Fury, bball dreams, black friend, C-dubs, China, Chinese, Chinese woman, comedy, community center, director and writer, doesn't take itself too seriously, Elizabeth Sung, England, equipment shop, Felix, fine acting, funny, ghetto speak, good sportsmanship, Indian kid, inspirational, Jennifer, Jessica Yu, Jim Lau, Jimmy Tsai, Jon Howard, Jonathan Oliver, JP Money, Khary Payton, King Erotic, latently homosexual, laughs, lazy, lighthearted, love interest, MadTV, Michael Wang, mock interview, Mr and Mrs. Wang, NBA basketball player, nice message, Ping Pong, Ping Pong Playa, race relations, rep, resistant, Roger Fan, Ron Howard, semi-entertaining, Shelley Malil, smarts, Smith Cho, spoof, sports movie, star of the film, Stephanie Weir, swear words bleeped, talent, teaches a lesson, The 40 Year Old Virgin, The Legend of Awesomest Maximus, training for basketball, Troy, white people, Yao Ming | posted in Movies