Friday, September 10, 2010


Directed by Juwan Chung.
2008. Rated R, 100 minutes.
David Huynh
Ron Yuan
Tzi Ma
Christina Stacey
Peter Cho
Feodor Chin
Kenneth Choi

After seven long years in prison, Baby (Huynh) is pushed back onto the dangerous streets of LA. They keep saying prison, but it has to be juvie. Our little antihero is only 18, after all. Let’s move on. After a brief stint as a dishwasher and unable to get over the sting of his old flame not waiting for him and generally not seeing eye to eye with his dad, Baby finds himself again involved in a life of crime. Let’s stop right there, for a moment. Yes, you’re math is right. Both parties of the couple in question were 11 when he went in. More on that, later.

It wants to be an Asian-American Boyz N the Hood. It even says so right on the DVD cover. Sadly, it fails for several reasons. First, his age is supposed to make the movie more powerful but really just makes it goofy. Even if you’ve been locked up so long you’re social growth has been stunted beyond repair, you still shouldn’t say “I thought you were gonna wait for me” with a straight face to a girl who was 11 the last time you saw her. Next, he’s a dull character, seemingly incapable of independent though and bereft of charisma. There is nothing drawing us to him.

The biggest problem, however, is the story barrels toward its inevitable conclusion with complete hoplessness. The kid doesn’t seem to stand a chance and there never appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. What makes Boyz N the Hood great, what makes it stick with you is we can see a way out of the despair for characters we’ve become vested. Since we can see that hope, it hurts us when not only is it snuffed out, but we recognize and feel helpless to stop the cycle we see perpetuating itself. Here, the cycle is the same but we care less because Baby never really seems to be on the way up. He’s the kid we were right about, all along. Imagine if, in Boyz N the Hood, instead of us spending plenty of time with Ricky and Tre, we were entirely focused on Doughboy. This is what Baby does.

MY SCORE: 5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment