Cast: Donnie Yen, Joe Chen, Kang Yu
Official Selection, 2018 Fantasia International Film Festival
In BIG BROTHER, Donnie Yen plays Henry Chen, a former U.S. Marine returning to the scene of the crime — in this case, his Hong Kong alma mater where he was once a troublemaker, the “naughtiest” in the entire class. Interpreting a message from an eagle that started following him on his post-military travels, Chen decides he needs to go home and help bring up his juniors.
Showing deep empathy for his students, who are coping with teenage hormones, seemingly uncaring adults, alcoholic or authoritative parents, and extreme pressure to score well on university entrance exams, teacher Chen takes it upon himself to motivate each of his students in highly tailored ways, determined to solve bullying, racism, sexism, low self-esteem, nicotine addiction, alcoholism, gang activity, public housing issues, strained parent-child relationships, and more.
The young cast complement Yen’s genial smile and lightning legs with plenty of quick wit and charisma of their own. Rarely has a message film so winningly combined reliable action sequences from a master with subversive social commentary to make us think about a troubled education system long after the fight scenes are over.
– Wilda Wong
Co-Presented by: The Asian Pacific Alliance of County Employees (APACE), County of San Diego Filipino-American Employees’ Association (CSDFEA), Episcopal Refugee Network, Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego (PALSD), Three Treasure Cultural Art Society.
Shaolin practice session perfectly jumps between Wiseman-esque details, lush swirls of martial arts hypnosis, and Busby Berkeley effects layered with haunting sound design.