Just a quick post about a movie I watched the other day: Shanghai Kiss. I'm pretty sure I actually saw this in some stores and, judging by a big smiling Hayden Panettiere on the cover, dismissed it as being some dumb direct-to-DVD teen romance. But I was looking up Ken Leung on wikipedia (he plays Miles on Lost, which I've actually been catching up with...I'll write about that more in a later post though) and saw that he was actually the lead in this movie. Which, it turns out, is neither a star vehicle for Hayden Panettiere nor a teen romance. It's actually kind of an indie film about Chinese-American identity. I guess they figured that with Hayden being in Heroes putting her on the DVD cover could help sales but it kind of misrepresents the movie, and I feel like it could turn off a big portion of the audience that it should be targeted to.
Anyway, I actually really enjoyed this. There aren't too many films with a Asian-American male in the lead, and Ken Leung's sort of refreshingly different from the usual kind of Asian-American actors that are out there. It is sort of a romantic comedy, but it has some smart commentary on being Asian-American -- Ken Leung's character is an actor in LA who gets asked if he knows martial arts or speaks Chinese while auditioning for a toothpaste commercial. When he's in Shanghai, at first he feels like he's somewhere he finally belongs but is later accused of not knowing anything about being Chinese. It's really too bad this went straight to DVD and too bad that the marketing has probably deterred a lot of people who I think would enjoy it from checking it out.