Well, not exactly — CNN released a list of the most anticipated movies in 2009 earlier this week and surprisingly there are many Asian actors and actresses that are apart of many of these movies. Now, I’ll ignore the fact that these movies are apparently most anticipated by geeks — because you know us Asians get our panties all knotted up the wrong way when Asian and geek is mentioned in the same sentence — but the fact that there are Asians that proliferate this list is somewhat profound, especially in the “Asians-cannot-star-in-movies-unless-they-do-kungfu-or-get-saved-by-white-man” mentality that exist in Hollywood today. I’ll just point out a few notable people:
MOST TO GAIN:
Gianna Jun – The list starts off with Ji-Hyun Jeon or Gianna Jun as she likes to be known who is the star of the Blood: The Last Vampire, which is at #3 on the list. Whether or not she actually speaks in this role or she is just regulated to slicing up vampires is yet to be known. (Here is a Japanese Shampoo commercial she was in where she speaks in English; hopefully her English has improved a bit more in the two years since) Nor am I confident in the artistic integrity of this movie; but more times than not these kind of movies that have a cult following tend to be at the very least, decent, so I’ll reserve judgment on that.
Many people will find her character extremely one dimensional and shallow. True. And although slaying vampires is not far removed from high-kicks and karate-chops, Gianna Jun is extremely talented and beautiful, and beautiful in the “Asian standards of beauty” sense, and not the Western idea of big tits and ass sense, so anytime an Asian women like that can star in a movie its a positive in my book.
Daniel Henney – The second person I am putting as “most to gain” would be Korean-American actor Daniel Henney. His new movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a sure-fire blockbuster hit, not only having the target reach of geeks but the average moviegoer as well. Henney in the official Movie trailer has significant face time, although he only says one line (watch trailer below). With the “guaranteed-hit” nature of this film combined with the fact he is actually fluent in English being raised in America and his God given good looks, Daniel Henney may be the next big thing depending on the significance of his role in the movie. Again, the self-proclaimed Asian-American activists will complain that Daniel Henney is in fact only half Asian and he cannot even speak Korean fluently AND the the fact that his very western facial features that make him attractive to Hollywood. Although those facts are true, don’t mistake Henney for being white-washed; he started his acting career in Korea, starred in Korean dramas and movies and is very aware, respectful, and knowledgeable about Korean culture — a positive in my book. Baby steps, people, baby steps.
MOST TO LOSE:
Kristin Kreuk — Ill keep it short and sweet: video game adaptations to movies SUCK ASS 9 out of 10 times. And Kristen Kreuk will be the lead in the film Streetfighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. What are some notable video game to movie adaptations?
Street Fighter: SUCKED
Mortal Combat: SUCKED, although this did relatively well at the box-office
BloodRayne: did not see, but im guessing it SUCKED
DOA: Dead or Alive: NO COMMENT
Super Mario Bros: *BARFS*
Double Dragon: …you get the point.
Keep Kreuk’s future career in your prayers.
NEITHER HERE NOR THERE
John Cho – Lower down on the list at #7 is Star Trek XI, which stars (should I use that term loosely?) John Cho. Not to say this role is not significant but Cho is already an established actor in Hollywood, but important to note that he is playing Hikaru Sulu, a role that George Takei made famous. Being that Takei was the first major Asian American to have a role in a non-stereotypical role in Hollywood its seems also fitting that John Cho, who is somewhat of a Hollywood stereotype-breaker himself, plays the exact same character. I’m just relieved they didn’t decide last minute to change Sulu’s ethnicity to a white guy, not that stuff like that ever happens in good old Hollywood.
On a lighter note: as a Star Wars geek, I want to have prejudice against this movie, but the fact the J.J. Abrams produced this film I shall reserve judgment once again.
Byung-Hun Lee – the Korean James Dean, Byung-Hun Lee will be playing Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. Now that you know that fact, lets play a game: it’s called, “Find-The-Korean-In-The-Movie-Poster:”
Can’t find him? He’s the white guy in the poster. No seriously, he’s the white guy. I mean the REALLY white guy. The guy with the white mask and ninja swords. Yup.
I think this poster may be a metaphor for his role in the movie, unfortunately.
WAIT, YOU WERE IN THAT MOVIE?
Joon-hyung Park – Joon Park will play Yamcha in Dragonball Evolution Apparently, it’s a pretty significant role but I do not see much potential in it. If you dont know who Joon Park, is you probably saw him in Speed Racer as a Yakuza Driver; You had to have watched it very carefully cause he was only in it for about 15 seconds. Oh wait, you didn’t watch Speed Racer? Oh. Sorry.
All in all, I think all the movies in this list have their faults, but I will be rooting for all of them. Even though CNN lists these movies as most anticipated by “geeks”, we all know the famous Genghis Khan quote: “First you conquer the geeks, then the WORLD!” (Actually, I think it was Napoleon who said that; or was it Pinky from Pinky and the Brain?)
Anywho, let us all hope they are successful this year.