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The 2007 VC Film Festival opened with Justin Lin's Bruce Lee send-up Finishing the Game. APA was on the scene with the big questions.
Bruce Lee died in 1973, leaving unfinished his dream project Game of Death and a legacy which all subsequent Asian Americans, for better or worse, have been compared to in the subsequent decades.
Game of Death was famously hijacked by Hollywood and Hong Kong producers, who replaced Bruce Lee with a faceless stand-in for all the scenes except the single sequence Lee already had in the can: the legendary fight between him and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The replaceability of Bruce Lee in this and subsequent copy-cat films cemented Lee and the Asian American figure as anonymous and substitutable; all Asians look alike, or so the stereotype went.
Justin Lin's delightful new comedy Finishing the Game can be called the Asian American revenge against both Hollywood and Hong Kong financiers. After all, it's the Asian American male who's suffered most from the trans-Pacific dash to capitalize on Bruce Lee's image and death. Lin's film follows the comic travails of a number of Asian American actors who aspire to enter the film industry after Lee's early exit.
Finishing the Game was the opening night film of this year's Visual Communications Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. The stars of the film -- and other Asian American celebs -- came out to support the film and the festival.
Asia Pacific Arts had two questions for the men and women on the red carpet. If not a mash-up of look-alikes and wannabes, what should Game of Death have been? And second, what's the meaning of Bruce Lee to Asian Americans today, nearly 35 years after his tragic death? The results varied from the predictable to the silly to the oddly profound. And while Bruce Lee set a bar that Asian American actors unfairly had to compete with, nobody could deny the importance, attitude, or appeal that Lee continues to represent. --Brian Hu
Opening night red carpet, Visual Communications Film Festival
May 3, 2007
Interviewed by Brian Hu
Camera and video edit by Oliver Chien
Music courtesy Far East Movement
Click here for APA's capsule review of Finishing the Game.
For APA's capsule reviews on the VC Film Fest's Asian American narrative features, click here.
For APA's capsule reviews on the VC Film Fest's Asian narrative features, click here.
For APA's capsule reviews on the VC Film Fest's documentaries, click here.
For VC's Music Video Showcase, click here.
Date Posted: 5/11/2007