Though not entirely an original concept, this vibrantly shot, East-meets-West fusion of Wushu and Washington never feels like a cheap forgery
The seemingly divergent worlds of art and martial arts intersect colorfully in "Brush With Danger," a thriller co-written and co-directed by its likable young leads, siblings Livi and Ken Zheng.
As brother-and-sister undocumented immigrants who sneak into Seattle via shipping container, kickboxer Ken and aspiring artist Alice are convinced they're living the dream when her work attracts the eye of a smarmy gallery owner (Norman Newkirk).
Naturally, it turns out their unbelievably generous patron is less interested in Alice's originals than he is in her talent for copying masterworks — particularly a long-lost Van Gogh. Despite her initial reluctance, the con is on.
The storytelling has all the dramatic complexity of a paint-by-numbers set, and you know exactly where all this is headed from the get-go. But unlike any number of bleak cautionary tales dealing with those who come to America in the quest for a better life, the Zhengs' take on the subject remains undauntedly upbeat.
It will never be mistaken for a true original, but thanks to the siblings' youthful, idealistic approach, neither does this vibrantly shot, East-meets-West fusion of Wushu and Washington ever feel like a cheap forgery.
"Brush With Danger."
No MPAA rating.
Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes.