Good Hunting will likely be one of your favorite shorts to come out of the Love, Death + Robots anthology.
|Screenplay By||Ken Liu, Philip Gelatt|
|Good If You Like||Steampunk Sci-Fi
|Isn’t For You If You||Uncomfortable With Rape Situations
Find Penises Disgusting
|Liang||Matt Yang King|
Good Hunting Plot Summary
In an alternate timeline, the British still create Hong Kong and impose their will, but the effects of them coming and industrialization do much more than oppress the locals. It also leads to the death of magic and suffocation of spiritual beings like Yan. Spirits, with a female form, who find themselves, when they can no longer transform into their true forms as foxes becoming sex workers. Ones brutalized for the entertainment and fetishes of the English.
Luckily for Yan, when she was a pup, he a child, she met Liang. Mind you, on one of the worst days of her life, but he also gave her the tools for revenge. Thus crafting a short which feels like the first episode to something so much bigger.
It Gives You Everything & More
Let’s break it down, the short has an Asian protagonist and touches on Asian folklore. It brings in the idea of how parts of the culture were lost as people went to the cities, became subjugated to British whims, and westernized as well. On top of that, it presents the struggle between being successful, good at your job, and happy.
Then, with Yan coming in, it presents this strange beauty of recognizing how interesting times were when things were more easily explained by feelings, the idea of spirits, and things of that nature, over science. Yet, as the short went on, it integrated the spiritual and science and gave birth to a revenge plot that you so badly want to see more of.
Yan and Liang Not Dating
Be it guilt or lack of interest, it was weird, yet pleasant, that these two had a friendship that didn’t evolve into a romance. Now, don’t get me wrong, if they did become romantic that would have been fine. However, him developing into more of a big brother made for a more intimate relationship. Especially in sci-fi for it seems the genre too often either sexualizes the women or de-sexualizes them altogether. So to show Yan as both someone who uses sex to survive and yet can just be a spirit around Liang gave her the type of complexity that the genre is still working on. At least, in terms of productions I know about and have watched.
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing) – Recommended | Available on Netflix
This is right up there with Sonnie’s Edge, if not beyond. Maybe it is because, with this also being longer than most of the shorts, you aren’t left with what feels like a teaser but instead an episode. But, what Good Hunting has which Sonnie’s Edge doesn’t is a sense of culture and that is probably what pushes it ahead the most. For cool graphics, engaging characters, maybe a little something to tip your glasses forward about, that’s all well and good. However, what most of these shorts haven’t had is a sense of real-world culture, and Good Hunting is an exception.
Hence the positive label, and recommendation, for standing out amongst the many shorts in this anthology.