The intertwined lives of two kindred souls with ambition begins when Captain Whip Hoxworth discovers that Nyuk Tsin has been smuggled aboard as part of the cargo on The Carthaginian, which he captains, a cargo supposed to consist of only male Chinese workers bound for Hawaii. Nyuk Tsin was kidnapped from her Haaka village to be sold to a Honolulu brothel. She is spared when Mun Ki claims she is his wife, and Hoxworth goes along with his wife’s suggestion that they can work in the Hoxworth household as domestic servants. Nyuk Tsin becomes known to all as Wu Chow’s Auntie (Aunt of Five Continents) when her five sons are named after continents (with Mun Ki’s wife in China regarded as their official mother). Whip founds an empire in pineapples, using Japanese laborers, after smuggling his first seed crop from French Guiana as Wu Chow’s Auntie grows a family business in Honolulu around her sons.
I preferred this sequel to the original
At the same time, the story follows a Chinese woman (Tina Chen) that comes to work for Heston. She is the concubine of a Chinese man whose wife remained behind in China. Throughout the movie she is referred to by her biological children as “auntie” because she is not the official wife of the man (Mako). This is very sad, because she is devoted to him and when he contracts leprosy, she selflessly follows him to the hellhole island on Molokai to the leper colony. Somehow she survives and can rejoin her children, though the man dies of his disease. Once back, this polite and selfless woman begins to change to a hard-as-nails business woman.
Later in the story, a romance buds between Heston’s son and Chen’s daughter and both prospective in-laws have to learn to put aside their bigotry and learn to accept this relationship. In a way, it is a metaphor for the “new Hawaiians” of the 20th century.
The film has great action, acting and a story. Lots to hold your interest in this film.