Byron Q's directorial feature-length debut centers around Justin, played by Portland-based rap artist Thai Ngo), a young Vietnamese American gang member. Labeled a good-for-nothing and thrown out of his house by his mother, Justin seeks refuge at the home of his best friend Charlie (David Huynh, winner of the Festival 2007 Outstanding Newcomer award for his title role in Juwan Chung’s BABY), a well-to-do Taiwanese American “parachute” kid whose parents have left him home alone over the holidays to conduct a business trip overseas. Charlie, who seemingly has everything — a home, money and both parents, seems to want to fill the void left by his parents’ constant absence with the kinship of the gang. Justin, who given the constant financial and familial struggles experienced throughout his life, seems to have fallen into the gang life almost by default and yearns to leave it to pursue his real passion — rap music and deejaying.
Like any entrepreneur, Justin by default needs to raise some quick capital to be able to purchase the tools of his preferred trade — a turntable and mixer set. Justin also finds solace and hope in the beautiful Jenn, played by actress Jessika Van). Shy by nature, he seems to find comfort in Jenn’s presence and longs to be with her. Industrious and now focused, Justin bides his time, and diligently saves for the turntable set. But just when Justin finally sees the light at the end of the tunnel, he and his fellow gang members find themselves at war with a rival gang to avenge their friend’s murder. Reminiscent of Don Michael Corleone’s famous line, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in,” Justin is faced with a choice between his loyalty to his gang and finally coming clean. What road will he choose? BANG BANG delivers a keen sense of authenticity in this coming-of-age piece.
Synopsis written by: Vera DeVera