Yellow (1998) Poster

(I) (1998)

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feilung8889 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Great movie, really funny. A lot of people dog this movie, but I enjoyed it. Star of "Harold and Kumar..." and "Better Luck Tomorrow", John Cho, is in this one and probably one of his first movies. Jason Tobin, star of "Better Luck Tomorrow" is really funny. It's about a group of Korean American friends who spend their grad night trying to help out a friend who gets himself into trouble. This is an independent film that happens to be a comedy which also addresses the Asian American youth experience. This is no "Joy Luck Club" and it's pretty low budget, but it's an interesting film to see and a rarity because of the mostly Asian American cast. After seeing this film I recommend you see "Better Luck Tomorrow".
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This is a worth watching movie.
jgusw2 June 2001
I thought this movie was pretty good. There were some parts that were a tad hard to understand, but if you watch it through, many things become clear. Too bad there's no prequel, because you know hardly anything about the characters. This movie is a lot of fun for people who like to watch independent films. It was a very good job by the director and I would encourage others to follow his work.
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not quite there
eurie8 May 2001
to make this short and sweet: i hope this movie will not be considered the seminal work for the "gener-asian" of american film making. the acting was sub-par, relying on stereotypes, raised voices, and exaggerated eye-buggery to convey its message. chris chan park does not delve very deep into the any of his characters, allowing them to remain caricatures of angry/frustrated/distant/uncommunicative asians. these depictions do not make characters mysteriously appealing; it makes them confusing and unsympathetic. i like to think that us asians are more complex than that.

i came out of the movie unconvinced. unconvinced that these characters had a life long, blood-brother like connection with each other to go to the lengths they did to help their buddy out. unconvinced that the main character had anything beyond a superficial attraction to his girlfriend. unconvinced that hard working immigrant parents wouldn't pay for their son's college education. unconvinced that all of the characters were even necessary, i.e.: janet, who is put to bed in the back of the car and quickly forgotten.

the story line, which i actually think had potential, was not allowed to come into its own for two reasons: 1) flat characters for whom i had no sympathy/affinity, 2) the plot is overshadowed by meaningless non-sequitur scenes, such as the seance/donut shop sequence with amy hill which was simply ridiculous and unnecessary.

i commend park for his efforts, as i'm sure it took a lot of hard work to even produce the film, and i'll even give him the benefit of the doubt this time around as a rookie director/screenwriter, but i sincerely hope that next time around he'll go a little deeper. just because the film is one of the first of its kind about the korean american experience, doesn't mean it's automatically good.
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One-dimensional characters + inane script = painful movie
henryhsu24 April 2001
In his feature film debut `Yellow,' Chris Chan Lee attempts to enlighten Hollywood's portrayal of Asian-Americans by departing from the stereotypes typically depicted in mainstream film. However, in so doing, Lee commits a far more heinous crime: he exaggerates Asian-Americans' own stereotypes of themselves to the point of incredulity. The result? Dreadfully one-dimensional characters and an outrageously shallow script triggers the cast into a frenzy of over-acting, ultimately resulting in a film that is physically painful to watch.

Don't be deceived by any of the positive reviews garnered by `Yellow'; each falls into one of two camps. In one corner (e.g., right here on, you find Asian-Americans who are so elated that an Asian character can be depicted onscreen without thick glasses and a math book, that they somehow neglect the idiocy of Lee's final product. On the other hand, you find movie critics who have simply presumed that it'd be uncool to give `Yellow' the thorough bashing that it deserves; after all, it's an edgy Asian-American film made by an independent Asian-American filmmaker... protected territory for now.

Case example: main character Sin Lee (Michael Chung). Writer/Director Lee accomplishes a monumental feat with Sin, by editing `Yellow' in such a way that Sin never appears onscreen unless he is either scowling or yelling. See Sin resenting his friends' support. Scowl. See Sin walk along the beach and brood. Scowl. (Yelling ensues.) See Sin closing up his father's shop. Scowl. See Sin urinating. Scowl. See Sin breathing. Scowl.

Gee, I wonder if Sin is full of Asian-American angst. Do you think? I'm not sure. Scowl. Scowl.

Just to be thorough, Lee introduces us to Sin's father, Woon Lee (Soon-tek Oh). Throughout the movie, whereas Sin simply scowls or yells, Mr. Lee scowls *and* yells. In fact, this is Woon's principal role in `Yellow': simultaneous scowling and yelling.

Gee, I wonder if Woon is an Asian father with an authority complex. Do you think? I'm not sure. Scowl. Yell.

If Lee's one-dimensional characters don't annoy you, his story line will. Meet Mina (Mary Chen) and Joey (John Cho), two characters that exist in this film solely for the purpose of spinning a tangential and entirely irrelevant love story into the film. You see, Lee learned in film school that every good movie must include some sort of love-related subtext, and these two characters allow him to fulfill the obligation. Mina and Joey's excruciatingly inane flirting dialogue consists of one-liner insults culminating in a kiss: `Nerd!'; `Stupidhead!'; (eyes meet); (understanding smile); (kissing ensues).

But rest assured, somewhere out there, Sin is scowling while this all takes place.

That neither Mina nor Joey contributes in any way whatsoever to the film's plot does not perplex me so much as Lee's insistence on the most hackneyed movie cliches to accomplish his nonsequiturs. And trust me, the flirting sequence is just the tip of the iceberg.

Towards the end of the film, we find Woon Lee attempting to explain his constant scowling and yelling to Sin's girlfriend, Teri (Mia Suh), in what I am sure Lee meant to be a poignant moment. What a surprise: as Woon invokes a metaphorical story about the homeland to illustrate his point, ripped straight out of Reader's Digest, his voice quivers in that extra-special paternal way. The camera pans into an obligatory shot of Teri's trembling hands. We feel compelled to roll our eyes, except we realize that Woon's explanation makes no sense whatsoever. But lack of substance didn't stop Lee from making the movie, so why would he cut this particularly ineffective scene? After all, the world can always use another cliché.

Well, you say, the movie may be painful, but at least it *must* be a technical masterpiece -- say, like, `What Dreams May Come.' Sorry, on a technical basis, `Yellow' disappoints as well. Lee's edits are awkward and disrupt what little rhythm exists in the film at all, but I'm sure Lee thought they would seem hip. To make matters worse, every frame is either underexposed or overexposed. Although the light meter was invented in 1932, somehow the newfangled technology didn't make it onto the `Yellow' set.

In light of the film's utter deficiency, supporting actor Burt Bolos, who plays Sin's best friend Alex, performs relatively well. Although Bolos overacts slightly, you can't really blame him when Lee's script consists solely of scowling and yelling. Bolos' castmates, on the other hand, show no restraint in their overacting whatsoever.

I have not seen a film as bad as `Yellow' in a very long time. And I truly pray that I will not see a film as bad as `Yellow' for quite some time, as well. Please do not waste see it; life is already way too short. Thank you.
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A fun, fun film
dogspit30 August 2002
I loved this film. It had a high energy level and simply never stopped moving. The ethnic humor and comic situations were funny without being demeaning. A first rate comedy that I will watch again.
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Even for a non asian-american, the film succeeds.
misteracerbic5 June 2002
Teen angst, Overly expectant parents... It's something that all children and parents experience... Yellow does an excellent job conveying it all....

While the lead character turns in a mediocre performance, The supporting cast shines. Sin's Father turns in an epic performance as the overprotective father who only wants the best for his child, including the morals and drive that he learned along the way. In a very telling scene between Sin's Father and Sin's girlfriend, we learn that Sin's Father is not as evil as he may seem. He is truly trying to provide the absolute best for his child, and have him not see the eons of struggles of life.

Another amazing performance is turned in by Alex, Sin's best friend. A guy who is willing to compromise everything, just for his friend. His emotion is true, and his desperation is apparent. One could only wish for a friend like that...

This is a film that transcends the racial barriers. Yellow is appropriately titled not for the "Racial Overtones" rather that Yellow is the color of cowardice. Sin exhibits this cowardice, courage and desperation in this epic tale of growing up.

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A good slice of life movie from an Asian perspective.
jeggery15 August 2001
It was nice to see a movie from an Asian point of view. So often in mainstream Hollywood movies, Asians are portrayed in a two dimensional, stereotypical manner. I would like to see more movies from the perspective of ethnic and racial sub-cultures. Too often their voices are not heard and their art is not seen. I hope Chris Chan Lee makes more films in the future.
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NinjaKilla27 May 2001
The film Yellow casts an interesting light upon any Asian who has the opportunity to see it. I rented it one day by chance just to see what it was all about. In the end I was pleased with the the overall product.

I feel that the whole background of the story warrants a film. It seems to me that it is almost a documentary that is happening in real time. The main character (Sin) doesn't quite get me by the end of the film. I never really understand his motives, and some of the things he does to his friends are just too far fetched and don't lend me to respecting his situation. He seemed like a first time actor, and I think other male memebers of the cast could've pulled off the role with a much greater strength. The rest of the cast was pretty strong especially the father of Sin and Sin's mother.

My favorite part of the film is the beautiful moment between Sin's father and his girlfriend. I also enjoyed the cliche love scene between Joey and Mina's character. I didn't like the symbolic coins falling on the floor at the beginning nor during the robbery. It lacked a force that I wanted to get hit with. Also, there were bad edits with the sound. The scene when we are introduced to Burt Bulos and Jason Tolbin's characters with the basketball...the cars that pass by, with the cuts make it sound out of sequence and that there is obvious audio cutaways. But overall it was alright.

So watch the movie
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Well crafted story of Asian-American teen angst.
glee038 March 2000
Asian American issues are very rarely tackled in film, the issues surrounding Asian American youths even less often. However, the film "Yellow" does both with success.

The circumstances, characters and ideas portrayed are sure to strike a chord with anyone who grew up in a Korean-American household. The film may be criticized for it's inaccuracies in certain areas or the fantastic events that occur as we follow this group of asian teenagers, but inaccuracy and fantastic events are somewhat expected on the big screen, and in my opinion do not detract whatsoever.

The film centers on the activity of a Korean H.S. student name Sin. (I assure you, the name is not symbolic at all.) He has aspirations of attending college, however, his somewhat overbearing father has other plans for his future. Backed into a corner, how far will Sin go to bring his dreams to fruition?

Certain scenes are particularly poignant and mandate special attention: Sin's girlfriend confronts Sin's father - What follows is Sin's father's take on life in which he equates a handful of rice to life for his entire family. For all children of recent immigrants who now enjoy a standard of life much better than their parents had when they were children, be aware and thankful of the sacrifices that were made completely on your behalf. Alex, Sin's friend, stereotypes different ethnicities that frequent the Lee family's store - attempts are made to tackle race relations in the powder keg that is L.A. Grace's inability to communicate with her mother - It was is if the writer was present for my entire childhood. The generation gap is made even wider when parents and children grow up in different worlds.

I thought the acting, in my uneducated opinion, was all around very good. On top of it all, the entertainment factor was high.

Right now, the movie is difficult to find, if at all. However, I believe it marks too important a step to fade quietly away.
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we can hope for better
xhari_nairx5 June 2001
I'm always on the look out for American films that actually acknowledge that there are more than two races in America. Unfortunately, while YELLOW does in fact feature Korean Americans, it fails in too many ways. The title itself is an in-your-face attempt to say "Hey!! THIS is Asian-Americanism!!!" The characters seem to have been created to fulfill the film maker's desire to represent Korean Americans. That's a trap that a lot of films about ethnic minorities fall into, but sometimes with skilled writing that purpose can be fulfilled while still creating characters that seem real. Not so in this case, and in fact, they characters and story don't give you any genuine feel for the issues facing Korean Americans anyway. No point in taking the actors to task for their performances... the finest thespians couldn't make these character's motivations tangible. The story suffers from the "dummy-plot" syndrome.... there would be no story if the characters weren't stupid. The story drifts aimlessly from one contrived event to another. It eventually reaches such levels of ridiculousness that you're wondering if the film maker just added scenes in because it would be fun to shoot. That all being said... Chris Chan Lee might have a good film in him. At times he displays a good visual sense. Maybe if he was working with a writer who could craft a convincing story with genuine emotion. But unfortunately, YELLOW is a film worth watching only if you're writing a term paper on Asian American film.
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