Baby (2008)

"Good"

Baby (2008) Review


Trumpeted by its own marketing as "the Asian-American Boyz n the Hood," Baby suffers somewhat in comparison. Yes it is a vicious and violent gang flick set on the scruffy streets of a crummy LA neighborhood, but while Boyz had some deep emotional underpinnings (remember when Cuba Gooding Jr. mattered?), Baby goes for the gun every time, and as the bodies pile up, the viewer's main response is shell shock.

Although Baby (David Huynh) was barely more than a baby when he was sent to juvie on a manslaughter rap at age 11, he emerges after seven years a traumatized young man whose entire world has passed him by. His older brother is dead, his father (Tzi Ma) has surrendered to alcohol, and even his playground crush Sammy (Christina Stacey) has a boyfriend with a BMW. Even though he takes a stab at going legit by working as a dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant, Baby knows that the only thing he's any good at is "rollin'" with a gang. Flashbacks show us how his felonious brother got young Baby involved in crime in the first place. No wonder he feels he has no options.

Baby also has revenge on his mind, and one of his first orders of business is to visit Benny (Feodor Chin), the current neighborhood kingpin against whom Baby has been holding a grudge for those seven long years. A gang war inevitably starts, and there is so much wild and random carnage that it requires an epic suspension of disbelief to accept that so many corpses could pile up in one town without the police ever putting in an appearance.

The main problem here is there is no one to root for. At times, Baby is positioned as the "gangbanger with a heart of gold." He's a victim of negligent parents, of society, of the prison system. And yet, rather than rising above it or getting on bus for Portland, Oregon or finding a new girlfriend, all he can think to do is get a gun and start killing. In fact, the only real good guy in the film is Baby's childhood friend Petey (Peter Cho), a straight arrow who begs Baby to clean up his act. But we all know what happens to goody-goodies in gang pictures.

Despite all those complaints, Baby is quite watchable, with a kickass soundtrack, MTV editing, and multiple flashbacks to keep the action moving forward (and backward). David Huynh deserves better than this script. Tiny and tattooed, he mumbles through his role, giving Baby a modulated James Dean-like angst that serves the character well. It will be interesting to see what kinds of roles he can find in the future.

Not what we'd call a babyface.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Juwan Chung

Producer: Jason Serrato

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.