Starring: Taylor Takahshi, Taylour Paige, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Bashar "Pop Smoke" Jasckson
Director: Eddie Huang
Review: Almarys Rodriguez
Rating: 2.5X out 5X’s
Boogie, written and directed by Eddie Huang (Fresh off the boat, The After Party) follows Asian basketball player, Albert “Boogie” Chin (Taylor Takahashi ) during his senior year in high school, who has hopes to make it to the NBA no matter what the odds are against him.
The film depicts what is going in our world today surrounding racial stigma and stereotypes. In the movie we see how Boogie talks about how the world sees being an Asian means having to become a cook or simply only relying on being smart, but that’s not all they are. Boogies passion however is Basketball. With the support of his father, Albert’s family moves to Brooklyn with dreams of claiming the top spot in the city and getting him scouted into the NBA. But to prove it to himself, Boogie must first he has to beat to street baller, Monk, played by none other than late rapper “Pop smoke”.
The movie gives us a grasp of all the stereotypes that happen in the Asian community . But it’s the dysfunctional family dynamic between Boogie and his parents that is the heart of the story. Writer and director Eddie Huang truly emphasizes on the struggles the Asian community goes through surrounding their nationality through a somewhat fish out of water basketball story.
Where Boogie misses the mark is the fact that the story is suppose to be be about a basketball player, But we see very little basketball being played. There weren’t a lot of game conflicts but more drama. Not enough blood sweat and tears on the court for me. The film also is questionable in areas surrounding its relationship between Boogie and his female counter part played by (Taylour Paige). The twos first meeting is cringe worthy enough to ask how do these two even become friends in today’s climate? Sexist remarks and rape like gestures are romanticized throughout. And though the two seem very close, her contributions to lack a driving force to keep his character moving forward. This isn’t Love and Basketball by a long shot.
Last but not least the missed opportunity, which given the sad circumstances of his real life death, could’ve been a win had they utilized their biggest contribution to the film correctly was Bashar “Pop Smoke” Jackson. He’s used like a background character who is supposed to carry the high stakes for Boogie, but he barely has any screen time and very little lines. Outside of Boogie constantly stalking his game play from a far we never really see them interact until the third act of the film. This made the stakes seem very low by the end of it all.
To wrap it up, I gotta say guys if you want to watch a movie about seeing someone’s drive and seeing how much it takes to get him there it’s not a hit for me . I wanted to see more of his cockiness and skills on the courts but instead we got a lot of a kid who believed in himself and not in his “trash team” and this goes on throughout most of the film until the very last game without an any on screen moment of clarity. I hate to say this l, but I wanted to love it. I feel like this being Eddie Huang’s first directorial debut maybe he could have stuck to something a bit lighter and less dramatic.