China Girl

The fact that lower Manhattan’s Chinatown and Little Italy are adjacent to one another provides the basis for this 1987 exploitation bloodbath directed by Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant), which has racial gang fights and old-boy networks to spare. Bojan Bazelli’s location photography is luminous and exciting, and the battle lines charted in Nicholas St. John’s script are fairly complex, but the characterizations in this Romeo and Juliet tale of an Italian-American (Richard Panebianco) and a Chinese-American (Sari Chang) caught in the cross fire are so minimal that it’s hard to get very involved in the proceedings. (The fact that St. John occasionally filches dialogue from West Side Story doesn’t help much either.) James Russo, David Caruso, Russell Wong, Joey Chin, and the Living Theatre’s Judith Malina also figure in the cast. (JR)

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