Crimeziners who are fans of subtitled “foreign” films will no doubt have seen Andrew Lau classic Infernal Affairs. Crimezine chum Marty Goodfellas Scorsese liked it so much he remade it as Oscar-winning The Departed.
Scorsese is credited as Executive Producer on Revenge of the Green Dragons, which may give the impression to many that this is somehow a Marty movie. Unfortunately it is not. What we are dealing with here is a cult style Chinese movie with English dialogue. If it worked with the Departed, why not here?
“There’s a storm coming detective, and I don’t know of any umbrellas that will keep this city dry,” Quite. It is clear from an early stage that Marty has thrown a fat pile of cash and his best wishes behind this movie and not much more. Meanwhile, Scorsese pal Ray Liota turns up half way through the movie, looking antsy and bloated, in the kind of glorified cameo he specializes in. But he appears bored and apologetic throughout.
Revenge of the Green Dragons. Is based on the story of a real-life retro street gang—the kind of “terrifying” and “merciless” criminals who had middle class America squealing with fear and disbelief before the current crop of Islamic-based criminals came on the scene.
Sonny (Justin Chon) and Steven (Kevin Wu) are two Chinese-American brothers from Brooklyn who find themselves embroiled in the world of the Green Dragons street gang. It doesn’t matter how hard you shout at these nice young men, they are not going to listen. They are quite determined to hammer their square-peg lives into the round hole of street-murder, gang-banging and heroin-dealing. A déjà-vuish demise of such copybook proportions you really wonder how they didn’t see it coming.
Fans of grisly slow-motion murders—headshots, torture, mom-rape, and lovingly filmed knife wound close-ups will not be disappointed. There are also very many patented Bruce Lee, crazed-face-of death-you-die-now expressions pulled by each and every interchangeable bad guy at all the appropriate moments.
There is a half-hearted racism/immigration theme here, but this seems to have been rather clumsily trowled into the plot as an afterthought.
Naturally it all ends badly, and with a great deal of unintentional ennui—But you already knew that didn’t you Crimeziners?