Saturday, December 1, 2007

Commentary | "Better Luck Tomorrow" (2002)

Better Luck Tomorrow really hits close to home for me in terms of its representations of Asian Americans. In high school I definitely saw firsthand the dark side of living up to the “model minority” stereotype in America, so it was hard to separate the images I saw in the film from the personalities and lives of my own friends back home. I know that writer/director Justin Lin grew up in the same southern California suburbs as I did, so it was interesting to see how he may have interpreted his characters from people he knew as well, and more importantly, it made me wonder how people from backgrounds unlike the both of us might react to their characters.

However, I think a discussion on whether these types of characters are “good” or “bad” for the Asian American community kind of misses the point of this film. Overall, the representations of Asian Americans in Better Luck Tomorrow are not about stereotypes or counter-stereotypes themselves, but more about challenging both of those ideas by depicting characters who are multifaceted and really uncategorizable. In the end, these boys sort of capacity for evil transcends their ethnicity and is brought down to a human fault. I think the film comments well on the possibly disastrous outcomes of self-destructive ambition and in that sense is very thought-provoking.

Company Credits (via
Production Companies / Cherry Sky Films, Day O Productions Inc., Hudson River Entertainment, MTV Films, Trailing Johnson Productions
Distributors / MTV Films, Paramount Pictures

No comments: