Run time: 80 mins
In Theaters: Friday 4th June 1982
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
IMDB: 7.0 / 10
Director: Wayne Wang
Producer: Wayne Wang
Screenwriter: Wayne Wang
Starring: Wood Moy as Jo, Marc Hayashi as Steve, Laureen Chew as Amy, Peter Wang as Henry the Cook, Presco Tabios as Presco
Also starring: Wayne Wang
There's a story here, but barely. Two Chinese San Francisco cab drivers (Wood Moy and Marc Hayashi) discover their friend, Chan Hung, is, well, missing. This probably wouldn't bother them much, as humans go, they're a pretty disaffected pair. But Chan has $4,000 of theirs, and he's vanished under suspicious circumstances, revolving around something called "the flag-waving incident," which we sort of understand but don't really care about.
That's because, like many of Wang's indie movies, this is a story about people and their environments. Chan's cabbies -- one an older, traditional Chinese man, one a youngster with high hair and a Saturday Night Fever swagger -- are what we in San Francisco would call "characters," the kind of locals that you see on every corner, each an original that's come from a now-broken mold. Moy and Hayashi visit Chinatown back allies and steamy take-out kitchens in search of information about Chan, but what develops isn't a mystery, but rather a look at the city from the inside out. This isn't Fodor's, folks.
Ultimately, Chan remains missing and the movie ultimately feels a little thin. Locals like myself will probably find it eye-opening to see that in a quarter century the city has barely changed at all. Outsiders will probably want to hop on a flight to get here for some dim sum.
The DVD includes a retrospective interview with the two leads.