This is an old story, but it can’t hurt to tell it again.
It’s been 21 years since the late Roger Ebert pushed back at Asian-American political correctness following a Park City Library screening of Justin Lin‘s Better Luck Tomorrow.
The original version of Lin’s film, which I saw at the very same screening that Ebert attended, was a very sharp and striking film about opportunism and amorality among Asian American youths. During the q & a some guy got up and said this kind of depiction denigrated Asian-American culture and called it “empty and amoral.” Ebert stood up and called that way of thinking repressive horseshit.
Can you imagine how anti-woke Ebert would be today if he was still with us?
Rewatching this video reminds me how Lin copped out on Tomorrow‘s ending after his film got picked up by Paramount. In so doing Lin conveyed to the suits that he was basically looking to roll over and play ball and make commercial films. And that’s what he wound up doing.
After the Paramount acquisition Lin got pressured about the original ending (in which the lead guy, played by Parry Shen, gets away with murder and isn’t all that bothered about it) being overly dark and despairing. So Lin changed it so that the film implied at the very end that Shen would probably get caught for his crime.
Lin’s capitulation is partly what led to my posting this imaginary conversation piece.