Deadly Class (Season 1, 2019)

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It’s the late 80s, and Marcus is a homeless teen with a deep hatred for Ronald Reagan. See, Reagan closed the insane asylums, and let lots of mentally ill people, including one who killed Marcus’s mom and dad, out on the street. Now, all Marcus wants is revenge. That, and to avoid the police, since the boy’s home he lived in mysteriously burned down, and Marcus was the only survivor. This last fact is what attracts the attention of Master Lin, the principal of King’s Dominion, a private school that teaches the children of criminals and assassins on how to be the best killers. Lin offers Marcus a place at his institution, and Marcus accepts, learning things like how to brew poison, shoot guns, and other assassination vitals, and all while navigating bullies, girls, and all the other high school tropes. Continue reading

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Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

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In the future, a catastrophic war has left the Earth devastated. Now, the last remaining humans live in a trash-covered, overcrowded metropolis, Iron City, which sits below a floating utopia, Zalem. Iron City’s inhabitants dream of going up to Zalem, but are not permitted to. And so, they do everything in their power, stealing, bounty-hunting, gladiatorial combat, to enter the flying paradise. In the midst of all this, Dr. Ido, a scientist who came down from Zalem years ago, finds a cyborg girl in the trash, realizes she’s still alive, and so rebuilds her. The girl, whom he names Alita after his deceased daughter, can’t remember her past, but possesses incredible abilities, including knowledge of the long-dead martial art Panzer Kunst, which was used by soldiers during the war. Things only get more complicated when Nova, a man up on Zalem, begins recruiting people down on the ground, including gangsters, bounty hunters and hit men, to bring him Alita’s heart. Will she survive? Will she find out who she is? Well… Continue reading

Is Crazy Rich Asians Good For Representation?

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I read an article in The Atlantic recently. It was by Mark Tseng-Putterman, and titled “One Way That Crazy Rich Asians Is A Step Backward.” What it argued, essentially, was that, despite the films groundbreaking nature, it also took care to represent its Asian characters according to White norms. Those norms being things like having Western names, going to Western universities, wearing Western-style clothes, and being wealthy and materialistic. To Mr. Tseng-Putterman, the fact that the Asian characters in the movie were all so well off and Westernized made them un-relatable, and not at all emblematic of the experiences shared by the vast majority of Asian Americans. Now, normally, I wouldn’t give an op-ed piece like this much thought. Every time a movie about a certain group or issue comes out, even if the intentions of the filmmakers are clearly good, there will inevitably be detractors. There were women who thought that Wonder Woman wasn’t Feminist enough. There were Black people who thought that Black Panther perpetuated Western stereotypes of Africans as being warlike and tribal. So, of course, Crazy Rich Asians will have its fair share of Asian detractors. But two things happened, the publishing of Kelly Marie Tran’s New York Times piece, and the release of Netflix’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, that got me thinking about the article and its questions of Asian representation more seriously. So I decided to address them, and, hopefully, figure out what, if any, solutions can be found. Continue reading