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Two cabbies search San Francisco's Chinatown for a mysterious character who has disappeared with their $4000. Their quest leads them on a humorous, if mundane, journey which illuminates the many problems experienced by Chinese-Americans trying to assimilate into contemporary American society. Written by
Rick Ferncase <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Picked by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Independent Films" in a special supplement devoted to independent films that was only distributed to subscribers in November 1997. See more »
This mystery is appropriately Chinese: what's not there seems to have just as much meaning as what is there.
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These comments come as a counterpoint to the user review left some years ago, an opinion with which I completely disagree.
I think this was a wonderful examination of the Chinese American character, at least in the eyes of a Mexican American (me). While the film addresses assimilation, as the previous reviewer expressed, that just scratches the surface of what it's telling you.
This film highlights the depth of cultural differences, the conflicts faced by immigrants or those of immigrant background. But these are not just grandiose, operatic conflicts; they are daily, constant, and felt in both the major and minor issues of life. They are confronted in matters of life and death or musical preferences.
This grand theme is presented in a lighthearted, often very funny, but subtly so, way. I found the storyline to be very interesting and exciting, not at all boring. It was a mystery, clues and leads leading to other leads or dead ends, interesting characters along the way. Yes, the search for Chan is secondary to the subtext, but it makes it no less entertaining.
Car crashes? No. Shootouts? No. Sex and violence? No. But the film gives the viewer an alternate view of what is real, and an alternate context for the evaluation. Is it real, or is it not unreal? To me, this is both extremely funny and a brain burner.
All this aside from the fact that this was a film made with seemingly real Chinese Americans, not big screen actors playing routine stereotypes. Look at Joe, and then listen to him speak, and see if it doesn't contradict some stereotypes burned into your head by Hollywood.
This is a very good film.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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