The expectations from Revenge of the Green Dragons were high and why not. Coming from director Andy Lau, the maker of Infernal Affairs, and executive produced by Martin Scorsese (who won an Oscar for helming the Hollywood remake, The Departed, of Lau’s film), the film has solid pedigree behind it. However, it fails, and spectacularly at that. In fact, it is almost unfathomable to think that old Marty would associate his name with a project that is so obviously bad, it’s cringe worthy.
The story of the film is based on the rivalry between the Asian gangs in the Chinatown and Queens’ neighborhoods in NYC. The story is apparently true, with the title coming from the notorious gang, the Green Dragons and White Tigers, who were at their peak in the 80s. The two main characters are Steven (Kevin Wu) and Sonny (Justin Chon), who are shown joining the gang while very young and fall prey to their violent ways.
The story spans a decade, showing the gang’s growth. Instead, what the audience gets to see is a seedy tale of revenge with a lot of people getting killed. Oh, and that is before the gang gets the wise idea of importing heroin. The actors try hard but they are offbeat from the start, Leonard Wu in particular. He looks hideous in long hair and his dialogue is tacky, with liberal use of the F-word. He tries too hard to look rough and play tough and falls flat on his face.
Co-directors Andrew Loo and Andy Lau give it their best shot but some of the choices they make are baffling. One example is the voiceover in the beginning that serves little purpose other than telling you what is happening on screen. There is liberal use of slow motion, a huge turnoff, which is made worse by the screeching electric guitar that serves as the score of the movie.
The interesting part is that some of the scenes that were in the trailer aren’t in the movie. The film is not too long, clocking in at 94 minutes, but even then it’s a stretch. Technically and artfully, Revenge of the Green Dragons is a huge letdown. The film is rated R for sexual and violent content and drug use.
As a side note, Ray Liotta also shows up in this travesty. This makes it two bombs for him in a row, following up with last week’s The Identical.
Photo credit: Revenge of the Green Dragons via MoviePilot