By Theodore Tae
You know the drill:
Asian American actors get typecast as kung fu villains or mobster henchmen in Hollywood films, before being unceremoniously offed on screen and fading into relative obscurity in real life.
From Die Hard to Karate Kid 2, these so-called awesome Asian bad guys ruled the imaginations of many an Asian American youngster growing up in the ’80s or ’90s. Directed by Stephen Dypiangco and Patrick Epino, Awesome Asian Bad Guys is a tribute to those actors and their iconic roles. It makes its East Coast premiere at the 37th annual Asian American International Film Festival in New York.
Described as a “screwball comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously,” Awesome Asian Bad Guys follows the two directors as they recruit an unlikely band of Asian American actors including Al Leong, Yuji Okumoto, Randall Park, and Tamlyn Tomita in the titular roles. Together, they must take down ruthless Los Angeles mob boss (and fellow Asian American bad guy) Aaron Takahashi.
Filipino American directors Dypiangco and Epino first came up with the idea for Awesome Asian Bad Guys in a 2-minute video on the duo’s YouTube channel before garnering over $54,000 in funds for the film on Kickstarter. The two directors make up the National Film Society, a filmmaking studio that produces YouTube videos and web content in partnership with PBS Digital Studios. According to the official website,
“For decades, awesome Asian bad guys have kicked butt in excellent, awful and cheesy movies. The National Film Society honors their favorite Asian bad guy heroes and their sweet mustaches.”
Awesome Asian Bad Guys screens Friday, July 25 at 6 p.m. at City Cinema Village East, with an additional screening Saturday, July 26 at 2 p.m. at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP. AAIFF will also be hosting a Q & A session after the screening with Epino, producer Phil Yu and writer Milton Liu.
Until then, make sure to catch the trailer below.