• Revenge of the Green Dragons

    Released By: Lionsgate
    Released On: January 13, 2015
    Director: Wai-Keng (Andrew) Lau, Andrew Loo
    Cast: Ray Liotta, Justin Chon, Harry Shum Jr., Kevin Wu, Jin Auyeung
    Year: 2014
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    The Film:

    It's 1980's New York, and boatloads of Chinese immigrants are coming in either through legitimate channels at Ellis Island, or by ramming their boats up onto the shore. In Flushing, Queens, these immigrants end up working as slaves in the city's numerous Chinese restaurants, or turning to a life of crime; if they've got what it takes to make the cut. Brothers Steven and Sonny spend most of their time washing dishes for a cruel and thankless boss, but that's all about to change after Steven encounters the Green Dragons gang in the school bathroom.

    Initially certain that the severe beating he's taking will end with his genitals being sliced off by his gang of tormentors, Steven gets the gift of mercy from Paul, leader of the Dragons. Returning to the restaurant to save his brother, the two embark on a crime-filled adventure involving girls, dope, guns, and murder. Unfortunately, there's a downside to being a gangster, and that downside involves a bellyful of lead after the Dragons cross the equally violent White Tiger gang.

    Barely recovering, Steven makes it out of the hospital and back to the gang, but the police are now watching them a little closer. But when Paul makes a decision to burn somebody on a heroin deal, Steven and Sonny are pulled in different directions, one by the need for vengeance, and one by love. Sniff.

    Put Martin Scorcese's name on a project, add in the director of Infernal Affairs, and a New York City gang film like Revenge of the Green Dragons should be a no-brainer smash success, or at the very least, a genre film well regarded by fans and critics. So why is it such a piece of garbage? That's not an understatement, by the way, this film is absolutely horrible. The actors deliver their lines in a way that can only be described as wooden, talking as they imagine gangsters should talk. Every few minutes, it seems, we're treated to some slow-mo, gun-firing extravaganza for no reason, and the constant barrage of "Yee-haw!" rock music is tiresome.

    Equally tiresome is the annoying conveyance of the message that not all Chinese immigrants are bad, some are here for a reason and have hope, blah blah blah. Ray Liotta's cop character is seen comparing a boatload of immigrants to rats, a Chinese detective schools him on how Asians come from different countries after declaring that missing dogs get more attention than dead Chinese, and Green Dragon Paul makes a passionate speech about America being a symbol of hope for so many who choose to go there. The message is about as subtle as a kick in face but nowhere near as effective, and the filmmakers milk it for all they can. It's a good message, but why is Ray Liotta, who thinks that they're rats, suddenly pleading to his supervisor to pay more attention to murdered Chinese gangsters, with no motivation within the film to do so?

    Green Dragons also misses out on locations and production, despite being filmed in New York City. There is virtually no evidence of 1980's NYC as it's been seen in countless films...even low-budget monstrosities...and that's a damn shame. Instead, it seems that the filmmakers are more content to show a bunch of dudes sitting around with joints and guns and girls on their lap, and when they DO go outside into "80's New York"....we get the most generic settings imaginable. What could have been an amazing look at Asian street gangs in New York City ends up being worthy of a DTV release that should fall through the cracks before it has a chance to be discussed. Don't judge a book by its cover, and don't judge Revenge of the Green Dragons by the people behind it...you'll walk away wickedly disappointed.


    Revenge of the Green Dragons comes to Lionsgate blu-ray in a 2.40:1 transfer that looks good. Black levels are great, colour palette is well-defined, and detail is crisp with no artifacting or other issues. Likewise, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track thumps and booms, with heavy use of the sub and the surrounds. Dialogue is clear and balanced well with the annoying as hell rock guitar score.

    First up in the supplements is The Not-So American Dream: The Cast (13:37) that looks at the cast of the film, and features them discussing the roles that they play amidst clips of the film.

    Stitches In Time: Costume Design (6:14) features the costume designer of the film talking about the challenges that she faced with so many roles to cover, and the design process. Interestingly enough, she talks also about how not making a documentary means that she was able to make creative decisions as far as costumes were concerned. Hard to imagine Scorcese letting incorrect wardrobe slide by...

    A Claustrophobic World: Production Design (4:47) features the Production Designer talking locations for the film, and how he grew up in that era. Oddly enough, none of the locations in the film seem like they're genuine to the period.

    There are also almost 2 minutes of Deleted Scenes, and a promo trailer reel that doesn't include Revenge of the Green Dragons.

    A feature commentary with Director Andrew Lau and Writer/Director Andrew Loo is also included, in which the two discuss the locations and characters in the film, among other things. There are some pretty large gaps in the conversation, though, and they spend a lot of time talking about the locations in terms of what you see on the screen, so it does drag.

    The Final Word:

    Lau has said that Revenge of the Green Dragons gets bad reviews because it's a difficult film to watch. If by difficult, he means that it's a bad film that grates on the nerves within the first ten minutes, he's correct. Just all around not good in the least. Avoid.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      It disappoints me to hear this is not good.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      It's freakin terrible. TERRIBLE.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      Blame RZA. He should have stepped in and made it better.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I figured Scorcese had it haha.