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The story of a Chinese immigrant who entered the US criminal justice system as a juvenile and emerged a leader of prison reform.
Less than four years after arriving in America from China, 16-year-old Eddy Zheng took part in a crime that resulted in charges of armed robbery and kidnapping. Tried as an adult, he became the youngest prisoner at San Quentin, and served over 20 years behind bars. While incarcerated, he embraced the opportunity for rehabilitation and betterment, learning English, completing a college degree, and turning his experience into a cautionary tale about youth violence to share with others. Wang chronicles Zheng’s turn to and away from criminality, his work in prison reform, and his attempts to reconcile with both his family and the victims of his crime. While Zheng is an interesting subject emblematic of rehabilitation and redemption, the film’s structure unfortunately offers little dramatic development, and its running time is too brief to allow the impact of his story to fully resonate.