Owen Gleiberman
April 25, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Better Luck Tomorrow

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
99 minutes
Limited Release Date
04/11/03
performer
Sung Kang, Parry Shen, Jason Tobin, Karin Anna Cheung, John Cho, Roger Fan
director
Justin Lin
distributor
MTV Films
author
Ernesto Foronda, Justin Lin, Fabian Marquez
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it a B

A clique of Asian-American high school students become bad-boy criminals, even as they remain tightly wired academic stars; they turn delinquency into the ultimate extracurricular activity. Cowriter-director Justin Lin has captured something new: the tenor and style of an Asian-American youth culture that sees no contradiction between punk aggression and brainiac fervor. The hero, Ben (Parry Shen), pushes himself to a place that isn’t ultimately plausible, yet Lin works with rhythmic observational flair. At times, the film feels like a John Hughes triangle with edgier DNA. Still, it’s a long way from Long Duk Dong.

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