The Laserman (1986)

Genres - Comedy  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Focusing on idiosyncratic characters and culture-clash comedy, rather than on the high-tech action its title might suggest, writer-director Peter Wang's The Laserman dramatizes the personal and professional struggles faced by a young Chinese-American scientist. When a bungled experiment leads to the death of his lab assistant, laser specialist Arthur Weiss (Marc Hayashi) is forced to reevaluate his life. His family provides little solace, as his attempts to deal with his mother (Joan Copeland), a Jewish woman obsessed with Chinese culture, and his brother (Tony Leung), a petty thief, lead only to more stress. Things begin to look up for Arthur when he receives a offer from a mysterious company to resume his research, but he soon discovers that his employers hope to use his developments for questionable ends, placing him in a disturbing moral crisis. Wang crowds the film with oddball personalities, opting for a quirkier sort of comedy than in his earlier A Great Wall, a more realistic look at the Chinese-American experience. Although the sheer number of these supporting characters and subplots often threatens to overwhelm the film, it attracted positive critical response for its offbeat humor.

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Keywords

foil [thwart], cross-cultural-relations, government, laser, mistaken-identity, research, scientist, terrorism