The Laserman

Director: Peter Wang
Screenwriters: Peter Wang

Institute History


Incorrigible, irreverent and always funny, Peter Wang, director of A Great Wall Is a Great Wall (1986 USFF), is back with a new comedy with serious undertones. Lieutenant Liu (Peter Wang) plays a Charlie Chan for the eighties in New York’s Chinatown. He is on the trail of Arthur Weiss (Marc Hayashi), an unemployed laser scientist who is actually a nice guy, in spite of the fact that his last experiment backfired and blew his assistant’s head off. Arthur’s cousin, Joey (Tony Ka-Fei Leung), a small-time wheeler-dealer, introduces Arthur to a shady corporation which is interested in funding his research on laser weaponry. At the same time, Joey meets Susu (Sally Yeh), a beautiful young Taiwanese girl who has come to find the American dream, but must work in a massage parlor while she’s searching.

As the film unfolds, we are introduced to a series of wonderfully quirky characters, including Joey’s adoptive Jewish mother (Joan Copeland), Caucasian by birth but Chinese at heart. She spends much of her time cooking inedible Chinese delicacies, which she serves to her unsuspecting family and friends, including Lieutenant Liu. Hot on the trail till the end, Liu narrowly averts a catastrophe of worldwide proportions, with help from Joey and Arthur.

Director Peter Wang, drawing on his own experience as a research scientist, creates a provocative comedy, which pokes fun at racial stereotypes an cultural differences, while it raises some serious questions about the morality of the technological advances of our time.

— Marjorie Skouras

Screening Details

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