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Friday, December 11, 2015

On Capturing Humanity, Asian Film Stereotypes and THE ASSASSIN



Why does Hollywood continue to obsess over Asian films in which the characters are either doing some kind of martial arts, are assassins, or are in some way personifying violence? Granted, Korean revenge thrillers are some of the best genre films on the market right now, but the tunnel vision approach to Asian film criticism is so frustrating.

I say this all to say that folks have been fallen all over themselves for the Chinese drama, THE ASSASSIN, which is indeed a solid film but nothing I haven't see before. The story of a seventh-century female assassin whose target is a high-profile political leader in China just, in the words of Jennifer Lopez on American Idol, doesn't give me goosies (i.e. goosebumps, i.e. doesn't get me excited--at all).  Don't get me wrong, the movie is gorgeous to look at (and I'm sure Oscar voters will throw all kinds of technical awards at it--because gawd forbid they recognize any of the actors). But when will people finally recognize the beauty of Asian humanity in film--and not only see them as killers, kung-fu artists and geishas?

During a year in which a film like Advantageous can resonate so deeply as a small independent sci-fi drama, it continues to be left out of the conversation as more expected Asian dramas prevail. It's so tiring.

Watch the trailer for THE ASSASSIN:

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