The Laser Man is a quirky, cross-cultural, high-tech comedy about serious matters from Peter Wang, who made an impression with A Great Wall. Self-consciously implausible story concerning the manipulation of a laser expert by big business serves as a pegboard on which Wang hangs any number of amusing observations about the The Melting Pot, 1988, particularly where Chinese-Americans are concerned.
Laser researcher Arthur Weiss (Marc Hayashi) accidentally kills a colleague in an experiment, and is instantly rendered so unemployable that he is forced to sign on with a suspicious firm involved in space age weaponry and arms smuggling.
Weiss has a Jewish mother (Joan Copeland) who happens to believe she has a Chinese soul and persists in cooking perfectly dreadful Chinese meals. Joey Chung (Tony Leung), Arthur’s best friend, is married to a Jewish woman and reveals that he has never slept with a Chinese, never, that is, until he meets Susu (Sally Yeh) a stunning, newly arrived immigrant who lives and works in a massage parlor and dreams of going to Las Vegas. Last, but certainly not least, there is Janet (Maryann Urbano), a Caucasian woman obsessed with things Oriental, who, to Arthur’s distinct frustration, would rather meditate than make love.
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Unfortunately, the plotting is not always hospitable to the engagingly flippant tone Wang mostly maintains, especially when one of the major characters becomes the victim of the fancy gun, only to be casually resurrected later on. Scenes with the women are invariably the most human, humorous and resonant in the film.