I'm not aware of a lot of english language ones of that sort, but there are plenty of asian films that feature normal people. Some of my favorites are "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman", "Vertical Ray of the Sun", "Farewell, My Concubine", "Raise the Red Lantern", "Shanghai Triad", "Temptress Moon", "Xui Xui : The Sent Down Girl", "Indochine", "The Scent of Green Papaya", "Chungking Express", and some others I'm blanking out on at the moment. But all of those are excellent films.
I enjoyed Anna and the King with Jodi Foster and Chow Yun-Fat. Does Pearl Harbor, The Final Countdown, other WWII movies, Fast and the Furious, and Shogun count even though they are action based...no Kung Fu?
I think that this comment is based on misinformation. Just off the top of my head I can think of:
Any of the 6 Star Trek movies
Indiana Jones - Temple of Doom
Bend it Like Beckham
Numerous James Bond (maybe a little marial arts)
What Dreams May Come
And that doesn't even include "caricature" films like Sixteen Candles (Long Duk Dong) or World War II or Vietnam movies that by their very nature must incorporate Asians - I could spout a hundred of these without even thinking.
Originally posted by Josh Z No, not every American movie with Asian actors is about kung-fu fighting. There are also plenty of movies about Asian gangsters.
Hey, in the completely non-kung fu category I'll put in "Shower" from China- really a great little drama. Also, from Japan, "Tampopo"- there are, admittedly, kung fu sensibilities at work, but they are only utilized to make the perfect bowl of raman.
Also, would we consider Japanese samurai films a different category?
AMC ran a Charlie Chan mystery over the weekend. I tuned in late and saw a panel discussion of Asian roles in Hollywood, hosted by George Takai. If you're interested then you might try to find it on AMC again.
My favorites have already been listed (Raise the Red Lantern, The Lover, L'Indochine, and Tompopo), and I'd like to add "The Killing Fields". But if your search includes films with Asian-American actors, you should check out the recent film Better Luck Tomorrow . It's an outstanding film about rich suburban Asian-American kids living in Orange Country.
Definitely not your average Hollywood depiction (e.g. Asian-Americans as the nice computer geek sidekicks, etc). Instead these kids are rich, bored, brilliant, and violent. You may not agree with the film's portrayal, but I think it's brave to depict these kids against stereotype. I believe it comes out later this month on DVD.
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