[REVIEW] Miami Vice — “Golden Triangle, Part II”/”Smuggler’s Blues”

Miami ViceLast week’s cliffhanger for “Golden Triangle, Part I” was so terrific that it would seem to be impossible to top it in the second half of the story. And, sadly, that turns out to be the case in “Golden Triangle, Part II.” The episode is still really good, and is required viewing along with the first installment, but it never pays off to the level you’d like it to, given how shocking things were at the end of the initial part. But, hey, that’s how it goes.

I sort of assume you’re watching these episodes as we go along, so I try to do my best not to post any significant spoilers until the week after you’ve been tasked with your viewing. So don’t be mad at me here when I tell you that the first and most important piece of unfinished business in “Golden Triangle” is the matter of Castillo’s wife, May Ying, played by Joan Chen.

In other reviews, though not the ones for Miami Vice, I have complained about something I call Any Asian Will Do casting. Television shows and movies habitually treat all Asians as exactly the same, despite the fact that there’s as much variation between Asian ethnic groups as there is among white people. You wouldn’t cast an Italian to play an Irishman, but it’s perfectly okay in Hollywood to stick Chinese characters in Japanese roles, or Filipinos in Vietnamese roles. I mean, who cares, right? They all look alike anyway. Or so the thinking clearly goes.

Anyway, Joan Chen is not Thai, as she’s supposed to be in this episode. And Keye Luke, who makes a great turn as the nefarious Thai drug lord General Lao Li, doesn’t hail from that region, either. In fact, I’ll wager we don’t see a single ethnic Thai in the entire episode. It’s not the sort of thing that wrecks suspension of disbelief, or ruins the episode, but it’s disappointing when casting directors don’t even try.

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[REVIEW] Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the YemenMy wife and I share a Netflix account. We each have our own profile, and in addition to all the various streaming options we have, we also have the DVD plan. We do two discs at a time. She gets to pick one and I get to the pick the other. It works out fairly well in practice.

Variety in Netflix’s DVD library is exponentially better than it is in their streaming options, which is one of the reasons why I have no intention of leaving their DVD plan behind, but it has an oddball effect sometimes. My wife and I will find movies that no one’s ever heard of and rent them, oftentimes to the dismay of the other spouse. Such was the case with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen?” I asked. “What the hell is Salmon Fishing in the Yemen?”

We sat on the disc for a while and my wife even suggested we send it back, but I decided to give the film a try. I’m glad I did, because Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is an absolute delight on every level and I would feel somewhat robbed if I’d been deprived of the opportunity to see it. So if someone in your household suggests Salmon Fishing in the Yemen might be something worth watching, listen to that person because they’re onto something.

The movie is taken from a novel of the same name. I have not read the book, nor I am I likely to now that I’ve discovered it’s an epistolary novel. I don’t care for epistolary storytelling on the best of days, and I certainly don’t want to read a whole book of it. No, I’ll stick with the far more standard method of telling a story movie-style, even though there’s a surprising amount of epistolary content in the film itself.

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