6.2/10
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17 user 10 critic

China Girl (1987)

A modern day Romeo & Juliet story is told in New York when an Italian boy and a Chinese girl become lovers, causing a tragic conflict between ethnic gangs.

Director:

Abel Ferrara
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Russo ... Alby
Richard Panebianco Richard Panebianco ... Tony
Sari Chang Sari Chang ... Tye
David Caruso ... Mercury
Russell Wong ... Yung Gan
Joey Chin Joey Chin ... Tsu Shin
Judith Malina ... Mrs. Monte
James Hong ... Gung Tu
Robert Miano ... Enrico Perito
Paul Hipp ... Nino
Doreen Chan Doreen Chan ... Gau Shing
Randy Sabusawa Randy Sabusawa ... Ma Fan
Keenan Leung Keenan Leung ... Ying Tz
Lum Chang Pang Lum Chang Pang ... Da Shan
Sammy Lee Sammy Lee ... Mohawk
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Storyline

A modern day Romeo & Juliet story is told in New York when an Italian boy and a Chinese girl become lovers, causing a tragic conflict between ethnic gangs. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Krieg in Chinatown See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$531,362, 27 September 1987

Gross USA:

$1,262,091

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,262,091
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Hong (Gung Tu) previously played in the unrelated film of the same name China Girl (1974). See more »

Quotes

Gung Tu: We must never allow ourselves to be divided by war... or to be interfered with by police investigations... all because a few reckless children cannot live within our tradition of our society. Our responsibility is to control our children.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits there is a line: Dedicated to the people of Chinatown and Little Italy. See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK video version was cut by 7 seconds to remove the use of a butterfly knife. The Columbia DVD features the same cut print. See more »


Soundtracks

Sentimental Reasons
Written by Deek Watson (as D. Watson) and William "Pat" Best (as W. Best)
Dutchess Music Corporation
Vocal performed by Peter Yellen
Arrangement by Joe Delia
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A story that never grows old.
29 December 2009 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

Director Abel Ferrara hit's the street's with this modern take on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set amongst waring Italian and Chinese gangs… this is more so the younger generation… as the much older and wiser mafia / triad figures set out for peace so they don't draw unwanted attention from the man in blue. However these young-guns make it a battleground and caught between it is two love-struck lovers; a Chinese girl Tayn-Hwa and Italian lad Tony Monte. They don't care about colour or race, despite what's happening all around them and what it could do to them or even loved ones.

There's no real surprises to the old hat, if simply low-key material (which was penned by Ferrara's collaborator Nicholas St. John), as we pretty much know how this dangerous story plays out and eventually finishes, however director Ferrara has a gritty, but devoted style and upbeat tempo that's uniquely his own that elevates the conventional framework with his striking eye for a sense of place and powerfully lasting imagery that's uncompromising. He does more than just direct from the screenplay. The concentration on the tough, smoky urban setting (with excellent location photography of New York's bordering neighbourhoods Chinatown and little Italy), helps build a seedy atmosphere where hatred and violence is simply waiting to boil over, as obsession and pride becomes a death wish. Ferrara polarises it very well, especially the conflict not between (which is still quite blistering), but within the same races seeking out honour in who they are ---- this is where it was at its strongest, because the forbidden love angle (while important to the plot's progression) did stall and take away from some of the underlining tension. Although outside of its pushy race card slant, it does feel like it's just building up these explosive acts to glorify its foreseeable conclusion. Joe Delia's melancholy score fits in perfectly.

The performances are down-to-earth and genuinely projected by its cast. Richard Panebianco and Sari Chang are sympathetically touching as the two lovebirds. An admirable James Russo and especially a hot-headed David Caruso bring an unstoppable intensity to their roles. Russell Wong is quite laid-back in a sound performance, in his quest to please his elders by controlling his gang and that of his wayward sister. Journeyman actor James Hong pops up, as well as Robert Miano as heavies.

You might call it lesser Ferrara compared to his other works, but it's involving and efficiently handled with his trademark raw and brutal edge shining through.


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