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American Born Chinese review: Fragments of Everything Everywhere All At Once prove magical for the show

Although the show sure has magic, all the scenes are not magical

American Born Chinese review: Fragments of Everything Everywhere All At Once prove magical for the show
American Born Chinese
  • Shaheen Irani

Last Updated: 07.33 PM, May 26, 2023

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Jin Wang has faced stereotype in American school all his life. He smiles and moves on, till introduced to Wei-Chen, who becomes his best friend. They serve a much higher purpose.


American Born Chinese goes for an introduction a la Star Wars. You realize the story through a text and what follows are visuals that leave you intrigued.

This is a mystical world. There's magic and surviving all around.

The visuals in the show do not appeal to you instantly but eventually. Imagine Baahubali meeting Star Wars. That is almost what this show is about.

Jin, who plays the lead character, is quite an interesting development. He aims to be more than an ordinary middle-class boy and of course, something interesting is coming up. Ben Wang doesn’t miss a beat in playing this very important character.

The songs in the series work well. They don't disturb the story and rather, lighten the mood.

Mahi Alim is introduced as Anuj much ahead in the series. He is constantly shown in a mysterious light and ends up being limited to the lead protagonists’ friend. Mahi does a fair job in his role in the limited screen time nonetheless.

The show taps into stereotypes. Two Chinese students are paired together in America. Wang and Wei-Chen, as one can expect, form an unusual friendship out of circumstances. Not just that, 'What could go Wong?' is one of the iconic dialogues that do not age right, much like various TV shows from a different era. Ke Huy Quan, who plays the role of Freddy Wong, nails every emotion required for the impact it leaves.

Slow motion shots make it to the series. They do make the scenes fun but the moment is very brief and not always necessary.

Wei-Chen has a mystery to him. It is not what you expect when he is first introduced but makes complete sense as the show progresses. Jimmy Liu is impressive in his role as the character.

Daniel Wu, who plays The Monkey King aka his father, is good for his part too. While you expect to know more about him and his connection to the Gods and Goddesses, this season does not offer you much detail about that. The one thing would leave you disappointed when it comes to this character.

The makers of Everything Everywhere All At Once do it again. They give you a similar setup and story but this time, it works only to an extent.

The lead actress from the movie, Michelle Yeoh, makes a comeback at the most unexpected moment. This time, she's a Goddess, Guanyin. She is fabulous with her action this time as well.

The story is more political than required for the show. That is what takes the series to a certain downfall.

The show gets fun with Pigsy coming into the picture. Wei-Chan is the hero who brings in a lot of trouble this time but it all works.

The backstory offers no new information than what you have already seen. There's a whole episode dedicated to that which is mostly a waste.

Although the message of stopping stereotype is good, it is repetitive and rarely effective enough. The only time you feel the impact is with Freddy and even he does not leave you with a ‘wow, that’s something’ factor.

The whole cast comes together for a scene, which very much aligns with the concept of Everything Everywhere All At Once. The shot, too, is brief and little impactful.

The last episode of the series really brings the show together. Wei-Chan vs The Demon God is something you'd want to look forward to.

The very end of the show brings you a pleasant surprise. The VFX is what works best with the scene. It is what makes the long watch worth it.


American Born Chinese would’ve probably been more effective had it been a film. The story gets repetitive and there are very few scenes that hit you hard. The Everything Everywhere All At Once effect is still there and that is what keeps you hooked to the series from time-to-time. The last episode, though, is a good watch.