Master Chu, a retired Chinese Tai-Chi master, moves to Westchester, New York to live with his son Alex, his American daughter-in-law Martha, and their son Jeremy. However, Martha's second novel is suffering from severe writers' block brought on by Chu's presence in the house. Alex must struggle to keep his family together as he battles an inner conflict between cultural tradition and his modern American lifestlye.Written by
Before there was Broke Back Mtn or Crouching Tiger, Ang Lee had a few things to learn
I have to disagree with many of those who gave this film anything above a 5. Granted it was directed by Ang Lee in 1992, or long before The Hulk or Broke Back Mountain. But still, it looks too much like an earnest but not-too-skillful novice effort.
The story does center around the old man newly arrived to Westchester after more than 70 years in China, taken in by his loving son and his almost stereotypical Anglo housewife (Martha), complete with her curly hair, her vegetarianism, her obsessive concern about her weight, her poor parenting skills, her disinterest in sex, her... Lots of clichés on the feminine side, although to his credit, Lee does well with his main character-- except for making him a mysterious Kung Fu master (in this case Tai Chi).
The opening scene seems interminable, as we watch Martha struggle at her (now seemingly primitive) computer, while Grand Father slowly does his Tai Chi exercises in an adjacent room. He knows no English, she knows no Chinese, so there is no dialog. We wonder, what's happening, where is this film going? Finally, slowly, the story unfolds, and we learn details about their respective lives.
But this film may also set some sort of record for Most Visible Boom Mic. I swear it makes more on screen appearances than the couple's son (which is fortunate, because this kid is one of the worst child actors in memory).
Yes, this is a story of generations, cultures, ambitions, etc.-- but there are many, better examples. Some scenes show promise, but as a whole, this film does not warrant more than a 5.
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