Los Angeles neo-noir meets multiformat video grit with varying success in Chris Chan Lee's sophomore effort Undoing. The film stars Sung Kang (Better Luck Tomorrow, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) as Sam, returning from a year-long sojourn in Asia where he fled after witnessing his friend's botched drug deal and abandoning his bleeding body in a car. Like other cinematic American wanderers with a history of violence, Sam comes home to bury the body and make things right again with friends, lovers, and father figures while dodging the interference of crooked cops, Koreatown gangsters, and a hired assassin who keeps him hanging on every Christopher Walken-esque word. Kang is quietly effective with his tall, hunky modesty and the filial geniality he showed in Finishing the Game. The coarse video format helps evoke the bleached-out sunniness and neon-drenched darkness of a 1970s L.A., with most of the action taking place inside big cars, diners, and underground parking garages. A bit too much tinting in yellow, which imparts an atmosphere of sickly tension, nonetheless kept reminding us of the title of Lee's first film (Yellow), about the criminal night of eight Korean American teens on the eve of graduation. Happily, Undoing displays a more adult, romantic sensibility.
Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2007