Reviews & Previews - Shanghai Kiss

Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 06:00 PM

Shanghai Kiss

By: S. Tran

Starring: Ken Leung, Kelly Hu, Hayden Panetierre
Directed By: Kern Konwiser, David Ren
Running Time: 106 minutes
Rated: Unrated

Does Not Suck

Hey you ever heard of this movie called Shanghai Kiss? No? Wonder why? Because its about a Asian dude. Which means only one thing, straightto DVD baby. Yeah, Hollywood is nothing if not predictable. Which is too bad because this is actually a good movie. Maybe if they hadgiven Liam (Leung) a stereotypical, wise cracking black friend, itmay have made it into the theatres, we'll never know.

The film was written by David Ren, and takes an honest look at he plightof an Asian-American guy, Liam as he struggles for acceptance as anactor in Hollywood and as a person in day to day life. In each case people have hard time seeing past his Chinese exterior. The opening scene highlights the issues that Asian Americans face in Hollywood ina funny way without getting preachy. Liam is asked about his martial arts skills and ability to speak Chinese, even though the part is fora toothpaste commercial, leaving Liam confused by the whole line of questioning.

Perhaps the one person who doesn't question anything about Liam is Adelaide (Panetierre), a 16 year old with a crush on the much older Liam. This movie was finished before she hit it big on Heroes, but if you check out the dvd you'll see that she takes up 70% of the cover even though she's only in about 20% of the film. You can't blame them fortrying to ride on her success, but poor Leung is reduced to a bit player in his own starring role, at least on the cover.

Liam's journey for acceptance and self discovery eventually takes him to Shanghai after his grandmother leaves him her home in her will. Therehe meets Micki (Hu) who makes him realize that he has been running away from anything in his life that reminds him that he is Chinese.

Everyone in the film gives some good performances and Leung needs to besingled out for really good performance. He is effortless as the confused, yet charming lead, slipping easily from angry Asian guy inone scene to chick magnet in another. While his search for identity is central to the film it doesn't define who the character is, whichis nice to see. Leung plays the every man who happens to be Chinese and in that respect gives the audience a view of Asian actors they don't get a chance to see very often.

The story from Ren is honest and funny, side stepping cliches for the most part. Some of the scenes seemed a bit awkward and Liam's interaction with his father were not the strongest aspects of the movie, but overall it was an engaging narrative with few dead spots.

Themovie itself look fantastic. You would never know it was a direct to dvd product by watching it. Whoever was behind the camera did a greatjob as the film looks bright and the colours are almost cartoonish inthe way they pop from the screen.

If you are looking for something different give this film a chance. Unless you do you'll never be able to complain about the same dreck that Hollywood keeps pumping out.

Finally if you enjoy my articles here, check out something else I wrote:


3.5 stars out of 5.


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to