REVENGE OF THE GREEN DRAGONS follows two immigrant brothers Sonny (Justin Chon) and Steven (Kevin Wu) who survive the impoverished despair of New York in the 1980s by joining Chinatown gang "The Green Dragons". The brothers quickly rise up the ranks, drawing the unwanted attention of hard-boiled city cops. After an ill- fated love affair pits Sonny against his own brother, he sets out for revenge on the very gang who made him who he is. Written by
Revenge of the Green Dragons marks the English language debut of Hong Kong's most highly respected director, Wai-keung Lau. With classics such as Infernal Affairs among his heavy filmography, Revenge of the Green Dragons will be a stain on an otherwise awesome and talented career. Yes, Revenge of the Green Dragons is an awful film and catches me at my most disappointed. Seeing the name Martin Scorsese on anything makes it look appealing but after the first five minutes, it all goes downhill from there and crashes and burns before the forty minute mark. By then I began to wonder what a genius like him ever saw in a script so baseless and lacking in humanity. The film follows Sonny, a young Chinese immigrant who becomes involved with the Triads in 1980s New York City. While the film tries to put an eastern spin on the American crime drama, it amounts to nothing new and almost all of this we've seen done before in better films. Lau tries to translate the way of Hong Kong cinema into an American cinema but it ends up being just a rehash of American crime films such as Mean Streets, Goodfellas, and even American Gangster. By no means am I comparing this film to those classics, quite the contrary, this film takes what good its inspirations have done and put them in a nonsensical plot with terrible pacing and cheesy dialog . This feels more and more like a big budget student film by the end of it, made by a guy who simply has seen WAY too many crime films. While I know this is far from the case, it still feels that way and has left a sour taste in my mouth because of it. Lau is SO much better than this garbage. This comes as a devastating shock, considering the hype that this film has been garnering for quiet sometime. Don't be fooled by the trailer, which by the way, most of what we see in the trailer DOES NOT even wind up in the final film. This leads me to believe that maybe there is some saving grace behind the film that was simply left on the cutting room floor, for reasons I'd love to know. Overall, this is a really disappointing film with too many problems to count. And as much as I would love to find a saving grace in this film, I simply can't. It is THAT bad.
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