Directed by: Hisonni Johnson
Written by: Hisonni Johnson / Hedy Wong
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Take Out Girl
Tera Wong (Hedy Wong) has grown up in the bad end of town long enough. Long enough to know the ropes, know the life and dream of something more. This is a 20-something who is not afraid to do whatever it takes, legal or not to better her life. This characteristic is demonstrated perfectly during the opening scene of this title, as Tera sells test papers and the like.
The better life is not just her herself, but also her family. Great care has been given to Tera not being a thug, although she could be when needed. As Tera delivers some food from her family's restaurant Sai Kung, she's very aware that all her family has ever done is float. Never any better off and simply working to be able to work another day. This all changes when she meets Lalo (Ski Carr) who is a known gangster and drugking pin. Tera comes up with an idea that would make everyone happy - except her own family.
The deal is simple, Tera has always been invisible to cops and Sai Kung is a perfect disguise to deliver the goods for Lalo. For a small percentage, she'd be more than willing to mule his product, for a short time until she gets what she needs to get her family out of the hood. Things go good for a while until it's slowly revealed that Lalo suspects something about Tera is off in the final act, the doors of hell open up and (spoiler alert) this title does not have a happy ending. It does have a good one though.
I've reviewed titles that are low to no budget many times before and am always wary of what I'll be getting myself into. Especially when, almost seeming like an apology, a note is included specifying a title had no money, was helmed by a very green crew or had a rocky script. It's almost as if the submitter is saying, look, I'm sorry it's not that good; but what do you think? So to say I was apprehensive before watching Take Out Girl is an understatement. Now, after watching I have to say I'm still a little in shock. This title does not look micro at all. Even the coolest and most fun to watch no budget movies look like no budget movies. Take Out Girl has been polished to a shine and acted out so well, one could almost mistake it for reality television.
Director Hisonni Johnson's lead is felt throughout this film. Attention to detail, great direction for the amply talented cast and some good choices really elevates this film. The script, also from Hisonni Johnson and Hedy Wong feels like it was tight to begin with, and was just begging to be filmed. This is one of those titles that is nothing terribly new, but done really well. The only thing that felt a little slack was the ending, but not by a lot.
This is one of those titles that will surprise a lot of people I think. Just the perceived production values are a huge compliment for a troupe that had nothing financial to really work with. One of the things the cast and crew of this movie are proud of is that it's pretty much all minority driven, from script to screen. This may be a big achievement in the film industry but for myself, the only achievement that counts is this: Was it a good film? My answer is a resounding yes and I highly recommend Take Out Girl from start to finish. Thank you for reading.