With so many basketball movies taking to the floor, you’d be forgiven for benching a few in this binge culture. Yet, ‘Chang Can Dunk’ on Disney + should still make your cut. The coming of age comedy drama is hot on the hardwood heels of their ‘Big Shot’ girls basketball series and the real-life ‘Rise’ of Giannis Antetokounmpo, as Mickey Mouse looks to out-hustle Netflix when it comes to court content.
Like Disney’s ‘Glory Road’, ‘Chang Can Dunk’ looks to pave its own way to high-school and hooping success. Our lead (Bloom Li) wants to touch the rim and get the girl. Our lead (Bloom Li) wants to touch the rim and get the girl.
Mind you, Zoe Renee, who is about to star in the forthcoming ‘Hunger Games’ film (‘The Ballad Of Songbirds and Snakes’), is no prize to be won. Just like Princess Jasmine says in Aladdin. Stomping the yard to her own beat in this marching band with Chang. He must earn her trust like the dunking spurs in his sneakers.
There’s also a bullying cool kid standing in his way like a set screen. Chase Liefeld plays the kind of character that 50 Cent would say, “damn, homie. In high-school, you was the man, homie.”
He doesn’t believe Chang can fly, and he’s willing to bet his game-worn Kobe Bryant 62 point scoring jersey in exchange for a Pokémon card even rarer than a Jordan rookie one. This is an offer nobody could refuse. Especially when Chang has the Mamba Mentality of his muse.
‘White Men Can’t Dunk’, but can Chang? Best friend and vlogger Ben Wang thinks so. Not to mention ‘Maze Runner’ star Dexter Darden who takes names at the playground when he’s not taking calls from his Verizon mobile customers. Together they form a big-three ready to take Chang’s above the rim journey to a YouTube channel near you.
ESPN’s Kimberley A. Martin, Jay Williams and Kendrick Perkins make cameos in this movie. NBA stars Andre Drummond and Richard Jefferson are in the house too. Although, it’s the mothering scenes with Mardy Ma that really strike a chord and hit your heart.
Weaving between all the laughs and lessons to be learned. Jingyi Shao’s underdog, feature length debut and Disney original movie is more than a wax and polished surface with a social media sheen.
The story contains many themes like identity and striving for success. What it means to be an Asian-American without any cliché, or descent into stereotype or racist roles. Instead, it’s a refreshing take on this generation and what it takes to not just be great, but to be yourself in this wide world.
‘Chang Can Dunk’ takes a big leap and sticks the landing. Making us believe in the air up there without leaving our heads in the clouds. Bringing us back down to earth and what fundamentally matters on the floor and those who support us off of it.