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Green Dragon

31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In 1975, refugee camps were set up across the deserts of the United States to house an exodus of over 100,000 Vietnamese immigrants before and immediately after the fall of Saigon. When Tai (Don Duong) arrives at Camp Pendleton, he is confronted by a camp filled with despair. Jim Lance (Patrick Swayze) is the Marine in charge of housing the refugees until sponsors can be found to help them assimilate into American life. Lance quickly commissions Tai, who speaks English, to translate for him. Prepare to embark on a remarkable journey as an unlikely bond of friendship is formed between two men from opposite sides of one of the world's most infamous and bloodiest wars.

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A little-known aspect of America's Vietnam War debacle--life in the temporary camps set up in the States for the thousands of refugees who came here after the fall of Saigon in 1975--is the subject of this 113-minute film, released in 2001. Director-cowriter Timothy Linh Bui and his brother, writer-producer Tony Bui, have made a movie that's obviously very sympathetic to its Vietnamese characters; Green Dragon is also apparently quite realistic, and refreshingly lacking in excessive sentimentality. Much of it is in Vietnamese (with English subtitles, of course); indeed, one senses that nominal top-liners Patrick Swayze and the always-reliable Forest Whitaker are on hand more for their star power than for the importance of their roles. In the end, this is a good story that's rather well told. The DVD is packed with extras, including director commentary, deleted scenes, trailers, and a behind-the-scenes documentary. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • Photo gallery
  • Behind-the-scenes documentary
  • Deleted scenes with optional director commentary
  • Filmographies
  • "Light and Life in the Green Dragon" article

Product Details

  • Actors: Patrick Swayze, Forest Whitaker, Duong Don, Hiep Thi Le, Billinjer C. Tran
  • Directors: Timothy Linh Bui
  • Writers: Timothy Linh Bui, Tony Bui
  • Producers: Forest Whitaker, Alison Semenza, Andrew Stevens, Elie Samaha, Quynh Trinh
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006BS7R
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,723 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Green Dragon" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Solange on May 31, 2002
As the first story ever told on big screen of the antecedent Vietnamese refugees to arrive in the U.S right before the official fall of Saigon, director and script writer, Timothy Linh Bui, depicts the utmost astonishing insights from these refugees' perspective of the aftermath of the Vietnam war: innumerable lives lost, both American and Vietnamese, and families' grievances; the refugees' uncertainty and fear of separation from each other in foreign land, of what the dim future could hold; the struggle with humility as even former doctors and lawyers need to adjust and start all over with lowly manual labor jobs; with hope and determination and family as the only remaining possessions they had to rebuild everything in this new, foreign land.....A movie with different insights that almost any generation or age group can relate to.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 22, 2005
Format: DVD
This 2001 film is set in 1975, at Camp Pendleton in California. This is where Vietnamese refugees were processed after fleeing the aftermath of the American pullout in Vietnam. The place is crowded, emotions are high, and there are multiple individual stories. Written and directed by the Bui brothers, who came to America as babies in the 1970s and there's an authenticity to the film that goes deeper than the surface tales. 1975 seems a long time gone now, but this film brings it all to life as the refuges live in this shadow world between Vietnam and America for several weeks or months. As background, we hear frequent news broadcasts about the situation in Vietnam and the fall of Saigon. It gave me the shivers.

The basic storyline casts Don Duong as an uncle who has escaped with his small niece and nephew. The children believe that their mother will join them soon but it is likely she has not escaped. Trung Hieu Nguyan is cast as the small boy with big wide eyes who discovers Mighty Mouse comic books. He is befriended by Forest Whitaker, cast as a volunteer cook at the camp and who teaches the youngster some valuable lessons in life. Patrick Swayze is the camp commander whose job seems impossible at times. To some, he represents the ugly Americans who caused all the trouble in the first place.

Most of the stories play like a soap opera and the entire film moved much too slowly for my taste. However, it really didn't matter that this film will never win any academy awards. I applaud it for bringing a long-gone time and a place to life. And for raising my own consciousness about the Vietnamese people who made the long journey to America. This is a sad movie and I found myself depressed afterwards. But I know I'll never forget it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A-Train on April 4, 2003
Format: DVD
I passed up this movie several times at the video store. Something about the generic title and Patrick Swayze's big mug gracing the cover. I had no idea what I was missing. "Green Dragon" brings to light a piece of lost history--the internment camps of Vietnamese refugees following the Vietnam war. Through the film we meet a variety of characters and their developing relationships with one another. 3 things really make this picture work: the wonderful perfomances, the stunning photography, and the direction from the Bui brothers. Tony and Timothy Bui previously made another wonderful picture called "Three Seasons." "Green Dragon" is as good, if not better. They love these characters, and that's what makes the movie so fulfilling. Extra features on the DVD include an audio commentary, Documentary, 3 trailers (Crouching Tiger, Beijing Bicycle, and Vertical Ray of the Sun), and an essay on the cinematography. If not to own, "Green Dragon" is an absolute must-see for great drama.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Fink on October 5, 2002
Format: DVD
Green Dragon, the first movie from Forest Whitaker's new production company, is one of the best wartime movies of the last couple of years. Perhaps a lot of that is due to the fact it stays far away from the war it takes places during (Vietnam). Instead, it takes you to the Camp Pendleton refugee camp set up after the United States pulled out of the war. It deals with the difficulty on both the side of the refugees and the Sergeant responsible for them (played by Patrick Swayze). The refugees want to get on with their lives, but they aren't quite sure how to do that. They know returning to their country would be a pointless deathtrap, but they are afraid of what life in America will be like for them. Introduces Trung Hieu Nguyen as the little boy Minh who develops a friendship with Forest Whitaker's doomed cook/artist Addie. If you are interested in the more emotional side of the effects of war and not just the explosions, put it on your "to rent" list. Final Grade: A-
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tom L. on July 6, 2002
This is one of the most meaningful films I've seen in a while, probably because my partner is Vietnamese and this is a slice of his life. What's most interesting, though, is that I liked it a lot more than he did. What he found cloying and sappy, I found touching and sincere. He admits that this is a pretty accurate reflection of "how it was," though.
This is the same director that filmed "Three Seasons," and the difference between the two is in the star of the show. In "Three Seasons" the star is the breath-taking Vietnamese landscape - so beautiful! In "Green Dragon" the star(s) are the actors.
Patrick Swayze is sort of blah, clearly trying to branch into something un-hollywood. You won't recognize him. Much more interesting was Forest Whitaker, whom I've never liked, (never read as sincere). His part was believable and endearing. Breathtaking was Trung Hieu Nguyen as Minh. He steals the show. Every thought he has appears on his face. You should see this film for him alone.
Take Kleenex.
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