Director Yi-An Lou starts out Goddamned Asura, the official submission for Taiwan, with a bang - literally. It starts with Jan Wen, played brilliantly by Joseph Huang, commiting an atrocious random shooting in a crowded night market on his 18th birthday, which results in one person being killed. He feels like he’s been trapped in a cage for his entire life. He’s fed up. He feels like a pressure cooker with a gust of anger inside him, that is ready to explode at anytime. And he did explode.
And there we begin the three act film, involving Jan Wen and five other people, all intertwined and related in some way to the shooting.
In Goddamned Asura, Yi-An Lou creates an evocative city of dense apartment buildings and office blocks, almost looking like tiny prisons. The residents are all desperate to make some kind of connection, on a human level, and to escape this place. It's a community of diverse individuals, including the six main characters in the film.
The first two acts of the film deal directly with the shooting, the past, and the impact that the shooting has on these character’s lives. The third act of the film changes its direction and plays a different scenario of what would’ve happened if Jan Wen didn’t go on a shooting spree and kill a man. The big “what if.” Each of the six lives did drastically change - some positively and some negatively. But as Jan Wen figures out, even in a different scenario, the world doesn’t seem to have changed a bit. Nothing can be changed. The world has a way of balancing itself out. One life saved means another one’s life ends. As they say, a life for a life. Asuras are described as powerful superhuman demons with good or bad qualities. We can only move forward and try to be the best that we can be without our inner demon, like an Asura, coming out in a fit of rage.