Martin Scorsese & Revenge of The Green Dragons

Posted 7 years ago by myetvmedia

Martin Scorsese is executive producer of the high velocity, crime thriller “Revenge of the Green Dragons”. This is his second collaboration with Andrew Lau. Based on a true story, the movie is set in NYC’s Chinatown in the 1980’s, a pivotal time in the city’s recent history. Screenwriters Michael Di Jiacomo and Andrew Loo (co-director) were inspired by an article found in the New Yorker magazine about two Chinese immigrant brothers; Justin Chon (Sonny), Kevin Wu (Steven), who rose through the ranks of Chinatown’s gangs. This is co-director Andrew Lau’s (Wai-keung Lau) english language directorial debut. Lau has already won international recognition for his Hong Kong mobster vs cop movie ‘Infernal Affairs’ (2002). Scorsese remade Lau’s ‘Infernal Affairs’ as ‘The Departed’ and set it in Boston, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and with it finally won his first and to date only Oscar for Best Director (2006). Scorsese has received multiple Academy Awards nominations over the past 50 years, but despite his movies having won many Oscars for the stars and other filmmakers, starting with his doc ‘Woodstock’ (1970), he had never won. He humbly says it was a good thing he did not win sooner.

Scorsese has won almost every other filmmaking award imaginable including the Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival (1995), the AFI Life Achievement Award (1997), the Honoree at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 25th Gala Tribute (1998) and the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award (2003), The Kennedy Center Honors (2007) and the HFPA Cecil B. DeMille Award (2010). A filmmaking genius, he has a great respect for those he collaborates with. Scorsese’s screen collaborations have been famous and include his ongoing relationships with Robert De Niro (Mean Streets, New York, New York, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Casino) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island). ‘Revenge of the Green Dragons’ has many of the classic elements of Scorsese’s filmmaking style: it is set in New York City (Scorsese was born in Queens in 1942); it is R rated for the explicit violence, language and sex but all of this is factual and critical to the proper portrayal of the story; there are extraordinary levels of bad language; and the protagonist, Sonny (Justin Chon) partially narrates the story line.

‘Revenge of The Green Dragons’ packs a powerful punch, taking a very personal look at what happens when immigrants enter a new system with few economic opportunities, ruled by fear and discrimination. Sonny (Justin Chon) and Steven (Kevin Wu), are forced to choose a life of crime in order to survive the desperate conditions of NYC Chinatown. While still in grade school, they are coerced into joining “The Green Dragons”, a ruthless Chinatown gang. The brothers become hardened criminals and in their rise up the ranks of the gang, their actions start to attract the attention of the CIA and the NYPD. There was no love lost between the cops and the Chinese gang members, and a vicious animosity and distrust existed between them. Ray Liotta plays the CIA operative who also suspects foul play and international espionage is operating through New York’s Chinatown. The NYPD was also riddled with corruption. The brothers grow older and tougher, making headlines for themselves. They have a great falling out over a beautiful woman and it ends in tragedy. Sonny turns his anger against the gang that turned him into the man he has become.

‘Revenge of the Green Dragons’ presents the perfect opportunity for Scorsese to tell yet another story about a key period in the development of New York City that should resonate across cultures and time. The story shines a light on Scorsese’s belief that humans are capable of doing despicable things given certain circumstances. The world of international crime and the role of the immigrant and the underdog, are key factors that have shaped and continue to shape reality. The film vividly portrays the brutality of life as a Chinese immigrant in 1980’s NYC. Scorsese, the cast and directors attended the gala premiere of the film at TIFF in Toronto where we met and interviewed them on the Red Carpet. Gut-wrenching and difficult to watch at times, this movie depicts the struggle to achieve the American Dream by whatever means possible. Betrayal, violence, human bondage, corruption, greed and the pursuit of power are major themes.

Moira Romano

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