“… as trashy as an 80’s film, but lacking all of the charm…”
I love movies about gangs, and recently I have been interested in the subset of gang movies that I like to call “kung-fu gang movies”. These movies, more often than not, feature Asian characters and unlike american gang movies, these guys kick the shit out of each other in what is usually a seriously fun time to watch. The latest of these films that I watched was Revenge of the Green Dragons. Now Revenge of the Green Dragons is about the immigration crisis in America in the 1980’s, specifically the Chinese immigration crisis in New York. The movie follows Sonny, a young boy who after losing his mother befriends Steven, another young boy who also immigrated to New York. These boys become the best of friends but tragedy strikes when they end up joining the Green Dragons, one of the six main Asian gangs in New York. Much like every other gang film, Revenge of the Green Dragons chronicles the rise and fall of both Sonny, and the Green Dragons themselves; and it prides itself on being based on a true story.
Now I usually love action movies, but Revenge of the Green Dragons tries to be more like Goodfellas than Flashpoint (which I also reviewed). This causes the movie to fall completely flat on its face because none of its components are good enough to pass this movie off as serious. Revenge of the Green Dragons is about as close to an 80’s movie you can get, without actually watching an 80’s movie. With terrible writing that features many a catchphrase perfect for trailers, acting that makes you feel bad that these Asian actors had to force broken english to make the film seem more “realistic”, and a soundtrack that sounds like a parody of 80’s films with guitar riffs a plenty, Revenge of the Green Dragons is as cheesy as an 80’s action film. Now you may be thinking “But I love 80’s action films!”, and so do I; but Revenge of the Green Dragons is as trashy as an 80’s film, but lacking all of the charm of an 80’s film. So what you are left with is a bad taste in your mouth, wondering exactly why you chose to watch this movie.
I’m not going to spoil Revenge of the Green Dragons, but just know that the story was not written well. For something that is based on a true story, they sure as hell structured it poorly. We are introduced to about 20 characters, and are expected to keep them all straight in our heads. There are multiple story lines happening concurrently, which isn’t so much an issue until the end of the film. And the ending of Revenge of the Green Dragons itself is anticlimactic, with the writers seemingly saying “Oh shit, we’ve got somewhere to be. Quick, just add some bullshit at the end and lets get going”. In fact, the only reason that I won’t be giving Revenge of the Green Dragons the lowest score, is because I was able to laugh at the film more than a few times; so at least it provided me with a sliver of entertainment.
Ultimately Revenge of the Green Dragons is a movie that is from a genre that is a dime a dozen; so if you ever get a hankering for a movie focusing on a gang, watch anything but this.
I give Revenge of the Green Dragons a D