A.W.A. - Asians With Attitude... Hawaii411 reviews "Better Luck Tomorrow"
Parry Shen stars as Ben, a baby-faced Asian is at the top of his class in a public school, is involved with school clubs, organizes charity drives, on the basketball team, headed for an Ivy league school, is in love with the girl next door, and has a hard time finding and identity as one of the Asian kids out of the mainstream. What's the worst trouble he can get in? Smoking? Yup. How about selling cheat sheets at school? That too, but there's more. How bad can it be? Try drug dealing and stealing. So what is this about, your typical McKinley squid gone bad? The sad thing is, that it very well could be.

Jason Tobin, Sun Kang, and Roger Fan join Shen in "Better Luck Tomorrow". They portray four teens that, aside from being Asian, are your ideal All-American boys. As 4.0 students they realize that as long as they have the grades, nobody questions their morality. Bored with the challenges of school and life, they get their thrills by using their intellect to steal and cheat. They slowly progress from running a cheat sheet ring for profit, to higher crime of grand theft and drugs. Once the alienated minority of the school, they find themselves in power, and being to think they are untouchable.

As the lead character, Ben's innocent looks hide the torment within. On one side he loves the high he gets from the thrills and on the other he finds himself in the middle of something he just can't get out of. Through it all, he falls for his dream girl Stephanie (played by Karin Anna Cheung), but finds himself in the "friend" zone, where he becomes her confidant rather than her love. The movie progresses through Ben's eyes, and you follow his painful ride from Angel to Devil.

The acting in the movie was great. Growing up in Hawaii, you look at these characters, and find that they really could be the boys next door. They are believable as best friends looking for a good time, laughing, partying, and fighting together. The romantic tension between Ben and Stephanie really added to the overall plot. Rather than distract you from the theme, it allows us to see the good side of Ben.

Director Jason Lin, takes you into their unique world, and has you almost wishing that you had the thrills they had. You can feel the charge they get as the once meek take over the school. Lin shows us their transformation, and makes you want them to reform, while at the same time; you are hoping to see what else they can get away with.

At times, the movie did drag. I found some of the "interludes" in the movie needless as we learn the definitions of words we will soon forget. There are times when you wonder where these kids' parents are, and how they can get away with absolutely everything.

"Better Luck Tomorrow" takes us into a world that you hope doesn't exist, but you know probably does. Most ethnic films usually focus too much on the minority experience, but Lin, and fellow writers Ernesto Foronda and Justin Marquez, avoid inserting too many stereotypes and preaching. This is more than just an Asian-American movie. To their credit, it is a good movie that shows us another face of life in America. Hawaii411.com gives is a rating of 4 shakas out of five, and puts it on our must-see list.