EW Staff
October 03, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Asian-American teen counterculture gets its day in Justin Lin’s indie flick about a group of overachieving suburban high schoolers who get involved with cons, cocaine, and murder while simultaneously racking up impressive extracurriculars and straight As for their Ivy-bound college applications. Sounds contradictory, but the young actors’ fresh performances make it work surprisingly well. It’s also refreshing to see Lin replace the ”model minority” stereotype with an edgier, more complex image. But the far-fetched ending is more suited for a martial-arts actioner than a groundbreaking coming-of-age film. EXTRAS A boringly technical commentary by Lin and other cowriters is unfortunate.

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