>> Fantastic Fest 3: Finishing the Game (Brandon’s Review, 8/10)

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FInishing the GameJustin Lin’s Finishing the Game chronicles the search for a stand in to finish the masterwork left behind in the wake of Bruce Lee’s death, Game of Death.  Much like a Christopher Guest documentary this film has it’s share of jokes that don’t stick and I briefly wondered if the players were under the delusion that the premise was more clever than it seemed. That notion was dispelled from the first time I laughed until the end.

Justin Lin assembles some of his regular players and  it’s refreshing to see Sung Kang break free from the aggressively generic supporting roles he’s received of late to play a bright eyed and bushy tailed aspiring actor named Kim, who has trouble summoning up anger. Roger Fan plays Bruce Lee-lite Breeze Loo, an egomaniac who openly admits to having no physicality but very intense eyes.  Fan and Kang are undeniably incredible and it leaves one to wonder how Lin and his two cohorts are unable to get more projects together off the ground.

As with Better Luck Tomorrow, Finishing the Game struggles with questions of identity that may not be entirely specific to that particular culture but in the case of the film there’s no denying where the scope is being aimed. In Better Luck Tomorrow the kids were regarded as nerds but they did some decidedly dangerous things in their off time. In Finishing the Game it has more to do with not being regarded as an interchangeable Asian. On that note, we discover that Breeze Loo was bought for $500 as a replacement for his adopted mother’s dead cocker spaniel and due to his fame Breeze has furnished his parents with a brand new home that has paintings of him hanging on the wall, to which Breeze’s father says, “well we’ll never forget what he looks like.” I don’t know how deep the film aims to cut, but it does and often enough, I understand though because Lin is  a talented man but you wouldn’t know him from anyone else based on Tokyo Drift or AnnapolisFinishing the Game isn’t entirely obsessed with questions of Chinese identity, but in the pursuit of laughs.  I think greater questions about who we are are inevitably answered.

8 on a 1 to 10 scale

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