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BRUSH WITH DANGER - Movie Review

 

Asian Immigrant in America

Production : Sun & Moon Films
Director : Livi Zheng
Casts : Livi Zheng, Ken Zheng, Nikita Breznikov, Norman Newkirk, Michael Blend, Stephanie Hilbert, Kathleen Boushey
Duration : 83 Minutes

Alice and Ken Qiang, brother and sister from Asia, willingly to become immigrant in the U.S. Arrive at Seattle in an airless container. The sister is so talented on painting and the brother is good at fighting. They are starting a new life. A gallery owner, Justus Sullivan, is interested with Alice's painting and provide shelter for both of them.

The dream of starting a good life seems like a step away. When the sister is focusing on her painting, Ken is living a hard life as a fighter in the arena of gambling. But, the good dream is not easy to achieve because Alice is forced to duplicate the classic painting of Van Gogh. When detective Nick Thompson tracks them, whether they want it or not, now they are involved in a dangerous criminal world!

The story-screenplay that Ken Zheng wrote is based on a true story of the hard life of an immigrant. It is not clear where they come from, but from the name and their oriental face, you can guess that the Qiang's brother and sister are from one of the Asian countries.


The story seems too cheesy (though still needs 32 times revision before the producers accept it!). The acting from all the casts seems like performance from level two actors, maybe even level three. To be honest this film should be included in the section of action-drama of class B film. However, we still can feel the message of how hard it is for the immigrant. They have to sacrifice their lives to achieve their dreams and don't use shortcuts to achieve success.

Don't expect the fighting scenes would be as good as Jean-Claude Van Damme versus Bolo Yeung on Bloodsport (1988).  Then what's good about Brush With Danger? Is it on its director, Livi Zheng (26), girl from Blitar, who became the first Indonesian in history to direct and starred in a Hollywood production? Her struggle to get into the Hollywood cinema is worth a note. This young talented director has come to the line of international director and can be an inspiration for young generations especially for Indonesian people who lives outside the country. Or is it her simplicity that made her succeeded? A lot of Indonesian famous directors, since the era of Usmar Ismail, Wim Umboh, Teguh Karya, Sjuman Djaya, until Garin Nugroho, and now Hanung Bramantyo have tried. Probably because they have designed something so unique to turn it into Hollywood films, but until now not even one of them have succeeded.

And for Indonesian actors starting to have great opportunity to go to Hollywood, like Joe Taslim, Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Ray Sahetapy (All of them are casts from The Raid:Redemption). So different from Livi and her real life brother, Ken Zheng (registered as wushu athlete in Jakarta province), who are actually both students attending the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

The good news is, Livi has just finished her second film, still starring Ken Zheng. This time he is going to play with top stars like Tony Todd, Madeline Zima, dan Sean Patrick Flannery.
The release would be first in America on April 2016, then in Indonesia. We can hope that Livi will direct Indonesian's film after she's done with her college.  *** YaWi

Point: 55

 

The Film Reporter 2013-2015