I liked it, I guess as a Chinese-Canadian I’m glad to see a Hollywood movie come out that finally portrays Asian men in a positive light. In too many Hollywood movies, Asian girls and Asian men have been portrayed in a dichotomous way with double standards: Asian girls always the hot young beautiful sex fantasy for the white protagonist (see: Lucy Liu, Brenda Song, Jamie Chung, Zhang Ziyi etc) and the Asian guy some nerdy or kung fu stereotype (see: Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Ken Jeong, Jimmy Yang the latter two who is coincidentally in this movie).
But for the first time since Bruce Lee’s films back in the 1970s we see Asian men being portrayed in an American movie… looking masculine. The scenes with the abs and topless and stuff is actually a huge barrier breaker more than people realize – how many American films have you seen where an Asian guy has been shown like that? again I don’t think since Bruce Lee. and that was 40 years ago.
The plot itself is nothing special – its typical Korean drama affair – but its the significance of this movie being a Hollywood racial barrier breaker that is the big deal here.
And not just that, but the cast is perfectly cast. All of the main characters more or less resemble who they are in real life. Constance Wu was born in Richmond, Virginia, she is that scrappy Asian American girl who finally made it big in Hollywood with Fresh Off the Boat. Henry Golding is that charming, handsome half-Asian guy who had never acted in any film before. Gemma Chan is a posh, sophisticated goddess who graduated from Oxford – prim and proper just like her role as Astrid. Awkwafina was once an unemployed New Yorker – now she’s a successful actress and music artist and just as quirky and funny as her role here.
These Asian American / Asian British stars lived the American Dream, and I think much more than the actual movie itself, I enjoyed the movie for its significance in bringing Asians (especially for men) back into a positive light once again. No more stereotypical kung fu / nerdy guys.. this proves to Americans (Korean drama fans already know this) that Asian men can be both masculine and sexy and be romantic..