Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fast Five: How Asian-Americans should do It?

Fast Five
written by: Mr. APA

So the trailer for the new Fast and Furious movie just came out check out my reaction and the trailer after the jump. 

 Justin Lin
I hope he hit it
So why am I covering this?  For those of you who don't know, Fast Five is the fifth installment of the ever popular film franchise "The Fast and the Furious" and is directed by Asian American Director Justin Lin pictured here with Jordana Brewster who is not his girlfriend.

I know he hit it.
The film also features the very very handsome Asian American Actor Sung Kang who reprises the role of Han that he played in both Tokyo Drift and Fast and Furious (4th film).   But I've already talked to much.  Check out the trailer below and we'll talk some more.

     So what did you guys think?  It should be noted that the Fast and Furious Series is marketed heavily towards hispanic and latino audiences without regard for the Asian American audience.  I'm not really sure why I just told you that.  Anyways, the exciting part is that Sung Kang is reprising his role as HAN.

Sung Kang
Photo taken before he dies in the movie
     Now for those of you who haven't seen Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift [SPOILER ALERT]Han actually dies in a car crash in part 3 so what is he doing alive in part 5?  Well, Han aka Sung Kang was also in part 4 meaning that part 4 was a prequel to part 3 and so is part 5.  Why are they making so many prequels?  I think it's mainly JUST TO KEEP HAN aka Sung Kang around and why would they do that? (Sung Kang's role in part 4 is very short where he says "I'm going to go check out Tokyo" and then dissapears)  These films have been made prequels literally just so Justin Lin can bring an Asian Guy back into the mix.  That is crazy!  That is insane!  That is also power.  The entire Fast and Furious "universe" is being manipulated just so Justin Lin (the director) can bring back Sung Kang.  It's not even like Sung Kang is super important to the film, check out the trailer, he always seems to be just chillin' in the back.
Sung Kang Fast Five
Sung looking off into the distance very dramatically

Sung Kang Fast Five
Don't feel bad, I missed it the first ten times too, there's actually an Asian guy somewhere in this bikini scene!

     So after covering tons of YouTubers putting themselves on screen, I thought it was appropriate to look at a couple of guys who've made it through in the mainstream.  So you might say, well, this isn't that big of a deal, Sung Kang might be barely in the film, he didn't even make the first poster!  But this simply represents a more traditional avenue for Asian Americans to follow in media.  When a director like Justin Lin has the power to change the direction of an entire film franchise SIMPLY so he can put his Asian Buddy in the film, we should take notice.  This my friend, is progress.

Sung Kang
Lucas Black > All Asian American Actors apparently
     A little fact that most of you don't know is that when Justin Lin was hired to direct Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, he insisted that the main character be an Asian Guy if they could find the right actor.  Sadly, Justin couldn't find the right actor AFTER the studio had ok'ed the fact that he could be Asian.  They still actually went with Lucas Black after Justin couldn't find the right fit.

     So what does this say.  Obviously, I'm sure there are conflicting reports but the facts I stated above I actually heard from Justin Lin's mouth on a DVD commentary (i know, "accurate source").  Meaning that sadly, even though this role was prime and ready for an Asian American guy, Justin couldn't find somebody good enough that could carry the film.  ( I say this cautiously)

If Asian Americans are going to show up in the mainstream, we not only need talented people representing us, we need hard working people.  Acting/writing/directing is VERY VERY difficult task to MASTER and only true MASTERS end up in the Cineplex (yes, even the worst working director is probably better than the best wanna be director and being a good Actor is VERY VERY hard).  I personally, as an Asian American Screen and TV writer, having gone to one of the most prestigious Film Schools in the country and as well as being very fortunate to receive mainstream attention with my work very soon after graduation know that even though I've met tons of Asian Americans who want to pursue acting/writing/directing, I've met less than three people who wanted to do those things, and was ready to put in the amount of YEARS (it took me 3 years before I got a meeting with an Agent and 2 more years after that till any Agent actually took my work seriously) it takes to get to a professional level.  (both in terms of skill and networking)
Sung Kang was still sexy before he was famous
     Justin Lin himself went to UCLA film school and graduated in 1995.  It wasn't till 2002 that BETTER LUCK TOMMOROW was released (the film featured SUNG KANG also playing a character named Han, come to think about it, maybe he's the same guy) and wasn't till 2006 that Justin Lin got to direct Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, the film that would cement him as a studio director with the power to make change.

     That's a lot of time for something with not a lot of guarantees.  So what I'm saying folks is this, if you have the desire to do this, do it full force and go all the way because having Sung Kang in Fast Five meant that Justin Lin had to work years to get in a position to be able to demand Sung Kang be in the film.  If we are going to change Hollywood, it's because we got to a level of talent and importance so high that Hollywood could no longer say "no" to putting Asian Americans in a film, even if it means disrupting an entire multi billion dollar film franchises' timeline in the process.  Fast and Furious part four and five are prequels simply because the Asian American Director Justin Lin, wanted his buddy Sung Kang to be in the movie even though he already killed him off in part three.  I am not saying that YouTube isn't as important or as good as this, I'm just saying, here is another way for Asian Americans to get to the front lines and we need just as many Asian Americans doing this route as we do Asian Americans representing us on YouTube.

Best of luck to all of you with big dreams!  Ok, and I'll leave you with a fun video of Sung Kang making fun of himself for having been in the Fast and Furious films.  It's called, Car Talk.

1 comment:

  1. 1. I could look at Sung Kang for days
    2. Hispanic = Latino
    3. Make no excuses.

    There's always someone good enough if you're REALLY looking. Do you think those who represent the mainstream ever say, "There just wasn't a good enough white actor so we went with the Asian guy"? No.