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Parents' Guide to

Revenge of the Green Dragons

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Vicious '80s gangs fight in graphically violent drama.

Movie R 2014 94 minutes
Revenge of the Green Dragons Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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It gets off to a solid start, with a compelling early narrative and good performances, but the energy ebbs as it lapses at times into clichéd characterizations. The soundtrack is often elegant and brilliantly matched to the images, giving a sense of the directors' taut control over the material. But the over-artfulness also leads the filmmakers astray. Episodes of nearly balletic violence ultimately begin to stand alone as tableaux of disturbing artwork unconnected to the story. Rather than moving the plot along, it feels as if gory action sequences were shot just because it would be fun to dream them up.

Based on a magazine article about 1980s Chinese gangs, immigration, and lax law enforcement, REVENGE OF THE GREEN DRAGONS is co-directed by Andrew Loo and Andrew Lau, who directed Infernal Affairs -- on which Martin Scorsese based his The Departed. Scorsese executive produced this film as well; unsurprisingly, it feels like a stylistic mixture of his Goodfellas and a Hong Kong actioner. But in the end, without the humor and irony of Goodfellas, a weary viewer may find this film fizzling into pointlessness.

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