Hong Kong Action Cinema If you like martial arts....join. http://www.lunch.com/HKaction <![CDATA[ Bruce Lee avenges his teacher in this highly influential kung-fu film.]]>
The movie was another huge success for Bruce Lee who now had the freedom to become his own director. His constant butting of heads with Lo Wei, the want to create movies that will appeal to a wider Asian and International audience (I guess the film was kind of hard to market in Japan) led to the production of Way of the Dragon, more more light hearted action film (well, compared to Fist of Fury and The Big Boss). The film was remade several times, parodied by Stephen Chow and was made into a TV series in Hong Kong.

If you're a fan of kung-fu films then you'll want to make sure Fist of Fury is on your list.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Fist_of_Fury-543-1388305-203862-Bruce_Lee_avenges_his_teacher_in_this_highly.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Fist_of_Fury-543-1388305-203862-Bruce_Lee_avenges_his_teacher_in_this_highly.html Sun, 13 Mar 2011 20:59:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Will Bruce Lee be able to take down The Big Boss?]]>
Bruce Lee stars as Cheng Chow Ahn, a young rascal who is sent to live with some cousins in Thailand after getting in trouble one too many times in Hong Kong. He made a vow to his elderly mother to never fight again. His cousins are working at an ice plant pooling their savings together so they can return home with enough money to buy a business. Unknown to them, the ice plant is a front for a drug smuggling operation and those that are nosy and don't join disappear. Cousin Cheng becomes a foreman (after turning the tide in a brutal sit down strike) vows to discover what happened to the missing workers.
During his discovers, he finds out about the plant's dirty secret and is caught up in a bloody mess as he tries to topple The Big Boss.

Production on the film took place in Thailand with a small crew. Golden Harvest at the time was a fledgling company who made Cantonese language films (as opposed to Shaw Brothers, the big kids on the block who made Mandarin productions). The shoe string budget, along with a tight shooting schedule and a few eager extras who wanted to try and test their fighting skills with Lee hampered the filming. But when the film was released, the public reaction in Hong Kong and around Southeast Asia was huge and Bruce Lee was on his way to becoming a star.

The movie itself is brutal, bloody and gory, I was surprised by who violent the Hong Kong version of the film was. I read about how even more violence was edited out after it's initial screening. Bruce Lee didn't care for the brutal violence and made one more picture with Lo Wei (Fist of Fury) before making his own film (Way of the Dragon). If you want to see some hardcore violence and exploitation then you'll want to see The Big Boss.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Big_Boss-543-1388303-203858-Will_Bruce_Lee_be_able_to_take_down_The_Big_Boss_.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Big_Boss-543-1388303-203858-Will_Bruce_Lee_be_able_to_take_down_The_Big_Boss_.html Sun, 13 Mar 2011 18:28:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ Martial Arts in a Boxing Ring]]> Star Rating:


I’m generally not a fan of martial arts movies, mostly because they seem to be about nothing other than martial arts. What bothered me greatly about 2008’s Ip Man was that it wasn’t a story so much as repeated set ups for the title character to fight; much of it had the simplistic feel of a 1950s American teen drama, where rival gangs in leather jackets glare at each other murderously until the leaders finally decide on a location for a rumble. We now have Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster, and it continues in this tradition. Only this time, the filmmakers up the ante by expanding the scale of the turf war – in British-occupied Hong Kong, Eastern martial arts will be matched against Western boxing.
 
Both this film and its predecessor are based on the life of Ip Man, a Chinese martial arts master renowned for introducing the world to Wing Chun, most prominently through his most famous student, Bruce Lee. Part of the problem is that, as depicted in the films, he’s not all that compelling; apart from spending a little too much time with his disciples and not enough with his family, the man is an unassuming and highly moral mentor stereotype, and his skills basically make him indestructible. The more I watched him winning match after match after match, many times completely free from injury, the more uninteresting he became. So too did the fight scenes. If I’m conditioned to know someone will be victorious no matter what, then I’m afraid even the best-choreographed action won’t be able to keep my attention.

                                             
                                               
The first film took place during the Second Sino-Japanese War, when Master Ip descended from prosperity to poverty and was forced to partake in a fight with a Japanese general. The second film begins right as that match comes to an end; Master Ip (Donnie Yen) survives a shot to the neck and flees with his family to Hong Kong, where he hopes to open a Wing Chun martial arts academy. But money is an issue, and he can only afford a shack on the rooftop of an office building. When the students finally come, many of them are unable to pay their tuitions – but Master Ip is understanding and often lets them leave with IOUs. It seems that times are tough and the economy is down, which is all the more dire now that Ip’s wife (Lynn Hung) is pregnant with their second child.
 
Ip’s problems are exacerbated by a legion of corrupt martial arts masters, led by Master Hung (Sammo Hung). He’s bound by an unwritten but well understood set of rules, namely that no master can teach in peace until he proves himself worthy. And so Ip and Hung find themselves going head to head while precariously balanced atop a table; if one of them should fall, he will forfeit both the match and the honor of being addressed as Master. It’s a spectacle all right, and a pretty amazing one, but it’s also at the mercy of a plot that’s basically a clothesline on which to hang scene after scene of the same old, same old. Am I not supposed to care about the story and just focus on the choreography? You might as well ask me to forget about the plot of a novel and only notice the typeface.

                                             
                                               
Ip will find more trouble with a violent British boxer named Taylor “The Twister” Milos (Darren Shahlavi), a hulking gorilla who openly mocks martial arts and is part of an imperialist scheme to defame the Chinese. Shahlavi’s build and rugged, almost animalistic facial features suggest something disturbing, namely the intentional casting of an unusual-looking actor for the purposes of villain identification. His character is so one-dimensional, it’s as if he had been transplanted from an after school special about bullies. He wouldn’t be the only one; all of the British characters look about as strange as he does. Couple this with the fact that none of the English-speaking actors give decent performances, nor was their dialogue dubbed particularly well. With this in mind, the final match between Twister and Ip Man is little more than a set up for an astonishingly clunky sermon, one that would be better suited for a PSA about tolerance and equality.
 
Paging through the film’s press release, I stumbled onto a glaring chronological inconsistency. If the sequel takes place in 1949, which is nine years after the events of the original, then why does Master Ip’s firstborn son look no more than a year or two older? Some may consider this a minor detail, but to me, it’s an important oversight, especially since we’re talking about the life of someone who actually existed. No power on earth can make me believe that Ip Man and Ip Man 2 are anything close to historically accurate; his story has been distorted by filmmakers to serve as a backdrop for relentless action choreography, which can only go on for so long before it becomes incredibly boring. If it’s wrong of me to require more of a film than visual spectacle, I don’t think I ever want to be right.

                                                      ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Ip_Man_2-543-1699152-200984-Martial_Arts_in_a_Boxing_Ring.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Ip_Man_2-543-1699152-200984-Martial_Arts_in_a_Boxing_Ring.html Tue, 8 Feb 2011 22:58:37 +0000
<![CDATA[ A funny, kung fu romantic comedy]]> his is somewhat different from the other Jackie Chan movies that I have seen. For starters it's basically a romantic comedy with martial arts added. The humor is pretty foreign to us westerners, but is pretty funny nonetheless (the boy who buys Bu an "engagement oyster" for example, and the scene with Bu in the fridge was pretty funny too). But additionally its more than that. It's also about the nature of rivalry, emnity, and eventual friendship between Chan and one of his business competitors. The film manages to capture a certain depth of human nature which is unusual in the genre.

The fight scenes fall into two categories. The first are the classic Jackie Chan type fight scenes. These include the boat scene, him taking on the four goons with baseball bats, and so forth. The second are the scenes with the American street fighter which are of an altogether different variety and something I am not used to seeing in his movies. Here we see some cross-over between western boxing and kung fu, beautifully choreographed, with plenty of surprises. These scenes emphasize fair play, respect, and sportsmanship.

The film is well worth watching, and is suitable for family viewing.

Both Jackie Chan (Chan/C.N.) and Shu Qi (Bu) play their roles very well. Highly recommended.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Gorgeous_1999_movie_-543-1018531-197328-A_funny_kung_fu_romantic_comedy.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Gorgeous_1999_movie_-543-1018531-197328-A_funny_kung_fu_romantic_comedy.html Fri, 17 Dec 2010 16:49:16 +0000
<![CDATA[Drunken Master Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/d/UserReview-Drunken_Master-81-1467507-185699.html http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/d/UserReview-Drunken_Master-81-1467507-185699.html Tue, 12 Oct 2010 06:47:11 +0000 <![CDATA[Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-81-1019603-185693.html http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-81-1019603-185693.html Tue, 12 Oct 2010 06:36:18 +0000 <![CDATA[IP MAN Quick Tip by YungBolo]]> http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-IP_MAN-81-1379963-151226.html http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-IP_MAN-81-1379963-151226.html Fri, 10 Sep 2010 21:44:14 +0000 <![CDATA[ License to Steal...the 90s!]]>
I knew nothing about this movie before seeing it other than the knowledge that it was a Yuen Biao film, and that was more than enough temptation for me to watch it. In actual fact he didn't play the lead role in the movie and I got a sense that his participation was more about raising the profile of it, you find that this is often the way with Hong Kong action cinema but I definately think that this attitude of getting fellow friends and collegues to help out in other projects is to it's credit as familiar faces begin to emerge over time.

The main premise of the movie revolves around the characters of Hung (Joyce Godenzi) and her sister Ngan (Agnes Aurelio) whom are both part of a family of cunning thieves, Ngan feels resent towards Hung as although she is matched in skill she isn't quite as good as her sister. Feeling the need to eradicate Hung from the theif family so that she will become their fathers successor, Ngan leaves her behind whilst on a job and puts her in the hands of the police. Hung's eventual release from prison will no doubt lead to revenge.


It's quite impressive to see how Joyce Godenzi takes to her fight scenes with ease given that she is not a martial artist, although I think it would be safe to assume that her husband, Sammo Hung, no doubt gave her guidance along the way. Sammo himself does make an appearance in the movie, but it could hardly be classed even as a cameo due to the fact that he enjoys less than half a second of on-screen presence.

Comedy is ever present in the form of Richard Ng, and a typical late 80s/early 90s soundtrack provides much entertainment. Perhaps the moments which most watchers of this film will be looking out for are the fight scenes, and no doubt two of these in particular would be of interest. Whilst unfortunately very brief we do see a light-hearted exchange between Yuen Biao and a young Colin Chou, as well as an explosive clash with a certain Billy Chow.

Overall this isn't a movie that will be on the shelf with your most prized favourites, but it will undoubtedly raise a few smiles and you'll enjoy it. At the very least it's worth a watch.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-License_to_Steal-543-1574991-131578-License_to_Steal_the_90s_.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-License_to_Steal-543-1574991-131578-License_to_Steal_the_90s_.html Tue, 24 Aug 2010 01:43:51 +0000
<![CDATA[The Dead and the Deadly Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Dead_and_the_Deadly-543-1574980-127698.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Dead_and_the_Deadly-543-1574980-127698.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:53:15 +0000 <![CDATA[Dreadnaught Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Dreadnaught-543-1581115-127697.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Dreadnaught-543-1581115-127697.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:50:34 +0000 <![CDATA[Thunderbolt Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Thunderbolt-543-1576027-127695.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Thunderbolt-543-1576027-127695.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:45:59 +0000 <![CDATA[Broken Oath Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Broken_Oath-543-1574892-127693.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Broken_Oath-543-1574892-127693.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:42:42 +0000 <![CDATA[Righting Wrongs Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Righting_Wrongs-543-1581492-127692.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Righting_Wrongs-543-1581492-127692.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:40:21 +0000 <![CDATA[Armour of God Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Armour_of_God-543-1397471-127691.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Armour_of_God-543-1397471-127691.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:37:31 +0000 <![CDATA[Fist of Fury Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Fist_of_Fury-543-1388305-127690.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Fist_of_Fury-543-1388305-127690.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:36:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Kung Fu Hustle Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Kung_Fu_Hustle-543-1527374-127689.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Kung_Fu_Hustle-543-1527374-127689.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:34:02 +0000 <![CDATA[Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Twinkle_Twinkle_Lucky_Stars-543-1574985-127687.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Twinkle_Twinkle_Lucky_Stars-543-1574985-127687.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:11:46 +0000 <![CDATA[My Lucky Stars Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-My_Lucky_Stars-543-1574984-127686.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-My_Lucky_Stars-543-1574984-127686.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:09:50 +0000 <![CDATA[Project A Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Project_A-543-1574983-127685.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Project_A-543-1574983-127685.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:06:20 +0000 <![CDATA[Dragon's Forever Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Dragon_s_Forever-543-1574989-127684.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Dragon_s_Forever-543-1574989-127684.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 02:03:57 +0000 <![CDATA[Project A Part II Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Project_A_Part_II-543-1397469-127683.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Project_A_Part_II-543-1397469-127683.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 01:56:25 +0000 <![CDATA[Wheels on Meals Quick Tip by BigToughGully]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Wheels_on_Meals-543-1419167-127682.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Wheels_on_Meals-543-1419167-127682.html Mon, 23 Aug 2010 01:53:58 +0000 <![CDATA[ Jet Li's Last Martial Arts Film Is Restored, Re-Edited And Released In All Its Glory!]]>
The story may be a bit simple, but delivers a strong message NOT to be ignored. It explores the consequences of revenge and the sin of hubris. Arrogance is a strong taint in one's soul and vengeance darkens it. The message is that tolerance and understanding is the way of a TRUE master, humility his tool and above all, honor is the true goal. Huo learned quite a lot in his experiences, and what is more important is that he learned from his mistakes.

     

   

The theatrical cut of "Fearless" was very good, but it did suffer a bit in pacing. Now, with this Director's cut, we see why. The theatrical release was edited in a way that action films were cut, now, re-cut and re-edited; Fearless is better than ever. It now feels more of a dramatization and re-edited in a way a TRUE Martial Arts Epic should be...

There are major differences in the director's cut, with 40 minutes more footage. This version is even better than the recent unrated version. It includes the opening sequence with Michelle Yeoh and while the previous release started in the middle of the action, this cut begins the story with Huo in a boat. I will outline the scenes because I can still remember (I saw this version in 2006) since this film gave me such impact with its message and emotional action sequences.







1. Opening sequence with Michelle Yeoh as a Chinese diplomat, in the bid to consider Wu Shu in the Olympics.

2. This cut shows more of Huo's childhood. From his determination to study Wu Shu that he stole his father's notebooks that leads up to his second encounter with the boy who had beaten him after Huo's father was beaten in a match.

3. Huo's arrogance is explored and brought into exposition, he is often in a disagreement with his best friend.

4. After he had fled the town and found by farmers. There are additional scenes where he mends. He learns more of the farmers' lifestyle and becomes puzzled how these simple people can be so gentle and humble in their ways. He admires how they care for an old ailing bull. Huo's blossoming relationship with the blind girl is more explored.

5. Now, this is the keeper; this scene was included in the theatrical release in Thailand. Huo defends the honor of a child who is accused of stealing an animal, he offers himself for punishment while an "incense" still burns. He engages a Muay Thai fighter in combat but instead of fighting back, he only defends himself and ends up saving his opponent's life.

   

    

Now, for the question; is the director's cut worth owning? A RESOUNDING YES...in spades!! Jet Li is in his absolute best in this film. Not only do we see him in excellent fights (choreographed by the legendary Yuen Woo-Ping), in this cut we also see his skills as an actor. The renowned action star can indeed perform in a very emotion-driven role. The extra 40 minutes of footage is worth every penny that this release even outshines the previous unrated release.

Jet Li claims that this will be his last WU SHU film. ( I hope not). Li has won Best Actor in the recent Hong Kong film awards for his role in the historical epic; “The Warlords”. Director Ronny Yu has definitely redeemed himself with "Fearless" after his abysmal "Bride of Chucky". (Freddy vs. Jason, anyone?)

HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!! [5- Out Of 5 Stars]
VIDEO/AUDIO: 2.40 Anamorphic Widescreen. The picture is flawless, strong blacks, radiant colors and nary a speck of dirt or compression artifacts are visible. It also carries the unrated Theatrical release.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-70253-Jet_Li_s_Last_Martial_Arts_Film_Is_Restored_.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-70253-Jet_Li_s_Last_Martial_Arts_Film_Is_Restored_.html Tue, 27 Jul 2010 06:07:03 +0000
<![CDATA[IP MAN Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]> http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-IP_MAN-81-1379963-65083.html http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-IP_MAN-81-1379963-65083.html Sat, 10 Jul 2010 04:56:54 +0000 <![CDATA[ A CLASSIC FILM]]>

DRUNKEN MASTER

In 1978 a film came out that in my opinion revolutionized the industry and made one man a superstar, that film was "Jui Kuen aka Drunken Master" and that man was Jackie Chan. At the time movies were just not done like this especially in the Kung-Fu area until Chan stepped the game up, the original Kung Fu Hustle you could say. I have loved this film since the first time I was privileged to see it and truly believe it is one of the all time greats in film history, not just in its own genre. I can honestly say that I have never met any one who did not like this movie, any one who had seen it that is.

Wong Fei-Hung [Chan] is a very gifted and talented young man but his inability to take his craft seriously won't let him achieve his full potential. He acts out and does not listen to any one including his teacher at his father's school; in fact he likes to show the teacher up. He is also fond of showing up any and every one that he pleases and can but an unfortunate event involving a woman and her daughter land him in hot water with his father. After countless times of trying to make him learn a little something his father decides to bring in outside help in the form of Su Hua Chi [Siu Tien Yuen], a master of the 8 Drunken Gods fighting styles. Of course Wong is not keen on the idea and runs off in order to escape his responsibilities. That all changes after a brawl at a restaurant were the master saves him, and then begins to train him. The training is not going all that well and Wong runs off again only to run into a hit man named Thunderleg [Jang Lee Hwang] who destroys him and makes him realize how little he knows. Add in the fact that this man is out to kill his father Wong must now take his training seriously in order to not only save his father but find himself as well.

This film has got to be one of the most entertaining films I have ever seen in my life as it is full of excellent fight sequences and full of great humor. This was the first of its kind mixing the martial arts with slapstick humor and this happened because Jackie wanted to have a separate identity from Bruce Lee. What a grand idea it was because the result was this master piece that also added a new twist on an old character. Wong was one of the most popular characters in the genre's history and was a very serious character, until Chan came with this. The fight sequences are also another up side to this wonder film has with most Jackie flicks the film shines when he is on screen doing his thing. The actual fighting is amazing and the comedy gags mixed in with his facial expressions only add to the good time.

Directed by Woo-ping Yuen who was also a writer along side producer See-Yuen Ng and Hsiao Lung this is by far a classic and is well worth any price that is asked in my opinion. This DVD comes with a wonderful commentary that is full of info and is very interesting, and some trailers. This is a very fun movie and is with out a doubt a classic amongst classics, buy it now. This film has inspired countless others including the anime series "Dragon Ball", series creator said this film was one of his major influences.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Drunken_Master-543-1467507-22535-A_CLASSIC_FILM.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/d/UserReview-Drunken_Master-543-1467507-22535-A_CLASSIC_FILM.html Fri, 28 May 2010 00:02:12 +0000
<![CDATA[ 3 ½ Stars: Continuing The Saga of Bruce Lee's Teacher...Donnie Yen Delivers The ACTION!]]> After the highly successful IP MAN, Donnie Yen once again reprises his role as Bruce Lee’s teacher; the famed master of the martial arts style of Wing Chun in its sequel “IP Man 2”. But for this sequel director Wilson Yip and producer Raymond Wong takes the sensationalized biopic into something more commercial and crass. ‘IP MAN 2” is not a history lesson but more about martial arts action; and honestly the spectacular action may well be enough for most people to find the film entertaining.
 
Following the events of the first film, Master IP (Donnie Yen) flees to Hong Kong with his wife (Lynn Xiong) and his son. To earn a living, he opens a Wing Chun school on a rooftop and soon earns his first student (Huang Xiaoming) by giving him a taste just how effective the art really is. But he attracts the attention of the other Kung Fu schools and it seems like they are organized mostly like the triads and most of them aren’t pleased that there is a new teacher in their turf. They challenge Ip Man to a series of duels with some of the group’s best practitioners (Long Meng and Fung Hak-On) that includes the most bad ass of them all: Master Hung Chan-Am (Sammo Hung) who steps up when Master Ip dispatches the other masters. But Master Hung is being forced by the British authorities to extort money from the schools and soon, Master Ip finds himself dragged into this situation and he may well be forced to fight once again for his country’s pride…

         Ip Man 2

      
 
The first half of the film is pretty good. I liked the idea that the politics and the inside workings of the Chinese martial arts community come into exposition. It was a good move to follow the themes established by the first film as Master Ip is forced to take a stand against the ways of the corrupt martial artists. Donnie Yen’s charisma and convincing presence made the film’s first half quite convincing. Sure the set ups appeared a little contrived, how the master finds student, the master finds master themes are things we’ve all seen before; but what made it work was the fact that the scenes exuded passion especially when the viewer becomes privy to the martial arts duels. It was clever to see overturned stools and chairs in place of sharp swords and that rickety table as the venue for combat was very creative. The fights were real good and the highlight of the series of fights were the Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung fight. Once again, Sammo Hung comes out with stellar fight choreography as with the first film.
 
        IP MAN 2
 
Now I can tolerate contrivances in plot mechanics, but the second half of the film just feels like a mixture of “Fearless”, “Born To Defense“, “True Legend” and even “Rocky IV”. We see the film truly depart from any historical details and becomes a full-fledged fictional tale. The film becomes filled with overblown commercialism, flag-waving, racism and really loud performances. The East versus West theme has been used many times before; with a more stronger, younger opponent bullying the humble Chinese people and of course it is up to Master Ip to uphold national pride. What bothered me is the fact that it was filled with racist cartoon-like caricatures and this type of storytelling may work in the past but not today. I know there is a hint of reality to these sequences (Asians are always discriminated against) but it is very uncomfortable with the manner that it executed its asymmetrical style. It is too simplistic and seemed aimed to appeal to the blind nationalist pride of the Chinese audience. I am not sure, but it felt really repulsive to see this type of filmmaking instigated by the filmmakers.
 
Now what made the film stay aloft was the well-executed fight sequences. We’ve seen the Kung Fu versus Western Boxing before in movies like Jet Li’s “Born to Defense” but this time around it was more intense and quite frankly, I felt like the stakes were higher because of the brutality in the fights. I guess I appreciated the fact that Donnie Yen was getting his tail kicked by the boxer as well; Master Ip looked like he was in a real fight. The English fighter was stronger and bigger; it was a case of “David vs. Goliath” and what made it worst was the fact that the odds were put in the stronger man’s favor. The fight was long and hard, as we actually saw Donnie Yen getting his ass beat. It was clever for the direction to have Master Ip get hurt, he appeared more human and not invincible. However, as much as the final fight was brutal, bloody and long, the highlight of the film still fell on the Donnie Yen-Sammo Hung encounter. It looked real traditional with some touches of wire-fu meant to enhance the blows and never to make the moves ’spiffy’. Wilson Yip knows how to shoot fight scenes and “Ip Man 2” is another testament to this. 

      IP MAN 2
 
I guess “IP MAN 2” may be nothing more than a money grab and sacrifices historical fact and authenticity in favor of commercialism. I admit, some fictional accounts may indeed be necessary to make a film more entertaining and “IP MAN 2” is real entertaining. It has a good first half and while the second half also entertains, it was all for the reasons that I wished it didn’t. Some people may find the 2nd half a little comical, as the acting becomes quite loud and crass as the over-the-top baddies just blunder around onscreen. I know Wilson Yip’s first “IP MAN” film wasn’t exactly a historical epic but at least it was disciplined to keep to its tone and energy. “Ip Man 2” does not expand on the story of Bruce Lee’s teacher, but rather just adds fiction to it. (The producers failed to secure the rights to portray Bruce Lee as a child throughout) I know Wong Kar-Wai’s upcoming dramatic- biopic “Ip Man” may well be the definitive movie about Master Ip, but I guess for now, this will have to do. But for those looking for straight up action, they will not be disappointed.
 
Recommended! [3 ½ out of 5 Stars]

 
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Ip_Man_2-543-1699152-22454-3_Stars_Continuing_The_Saga_of_Bruce_Lee_s.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Ip_Man_2-543-1699152-22454-3_Stars_Continuing_The_Saga_of_Bruce_Lee_s.html Wed, 26 May 2010 05:49:02 +0000
<![CDATA[ 3 ½ Stars: Continuing The Saga of Bruce Lee's Teacher...Donnie Yen Delivers The ACTION!]]> After the highly successful IP MAN, Donnie Yen once again reprises his role as Bruce Lee’s teacher; the famed master of the martial arts style of Wing Chun in its sequel “IP Man 2”. But for this sequel director Wilson Yip and producer Raymond Wong takes the sensationalized biopic into something more commercial and crass. ‘IP MAN 2” is not a history lesson but more about martial arts action; and honestly the spectacular action may well be enough for most people to find the film entertaining.
 
Following the events of the first film, Master IP (Donnie Yen) flees to Hong Kong with his wife (Lynn Xiong) and his son. To earn a living, he opens a Wing Chun school on a rooftop and soon earns his first student (Huang Xiaoming) by giving him a taste just how effective the art really is. But he attracts the attention of the other Kung Fu schools and it seems like they are organized mostly like the triads and most of them aren’t pleased that there is a new teacher in their turf. They challenge Ip Man to a series of duels with some of the group’s best practitioners (Long Meng and Fung Hak-On) that includes the most bad ass of them all: Master Hung Chan-Am (Sammo Hung) who steps up when Master Ip dispatches the other masters. But Master Hung is being forced by the British authorities to extort money from the schools and soon, Master Ip finds himself dragged into this situation and he may well be forced to fight once again for his country’s pride…

         Ip Man 2

      
 
The first half of the film is pretty good. I liked the idea that the politics and the inside workings of the Chinese martial arts community come into exposition. It was a good move to follow the themes established by the first film as Master Ip is forced to take a stand against the ways of the corrupt martial artists. Donnie Yen’s charisma and convincing presence made the film’s first half quite convincing. Sure the set ups appeared a little contrived, how the master finds student, the master finds master themes are things we’ve all seen before; but what made it work was the fact that the scenes exuded passion especially when the viewer becomes privy to the martial arts duels. It was clever to see overturned stools and chairs in place of sharp swords and that rickety table as the venue for combat was very creative. The fights were real good and the highlight of the series of fights were the Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung fight. Once again, Sammo Hung comes out with stellar fight choreography as with the first film.
 
        IP MAN 2
 
Now I can tolerate contrivances in plot mechanics, but the second half of the film just feels like a mixture of “Fearless”, “Born To Defense“, “True Legend” and even “Rocky IV”. We see the film truly depart from any historical details and becomes a full-fledged fictional tale. The film becomes filled with overblown commercialism, flag-waving, racism and really loud performances. The East versus West theme has been used many times before; with a more stronger, younger opponent bullying the humble Chinese people and of course it is up to Master Ip to uphold national pride. What bothered me is the fact that it was filled with racist cartoon-like caricatures and this type of storytelling may work in the past but not today. I know there is a hint of reality to these sequences (Asians are always discriminated against) but it is very uncomfortable with the manner that it executed its asymmetrical style. It is too simplistic and seemed aimed to appeal to the blind nationalist pride of the Chinese audience. I am not sure, but it felt really repulsive to see this type of filmmaking instigated by the filmmakers.
 
Now what made the film stay aloft was the well-executed fight sequences. We’ve seen the Kung Fu versus Western Boxing before in movies like Jet Li’s “Born to Defense” but this time around it was more intense and quite frankly, I felt like the stakes were higher because of the brutality in the fights. I guess I appreciated the fact that Donnie Yen was getting his tail kicked by the boxer as well; Master Ip looked like he was in a real fight. The English fighter was stronger and bigger; it was a case of “David vs. Goliath” and what made it worst was the fact that the odds were put in the stronger man’s favor. The fight was long and hard, as we actually saw Donnie Yen getting his ass beat. It was clever for the direction to have Master Ip get hurt, he appeared more human and not invincible. However, as much as the final fight was brutal, bloody and long, the highlight of the film still fell on the Donnie Yen-Sammo Hung encounter. It looked real traditional with some touches of wire-fu meant to enhance the blows and never to make the moves ’spiffy’. Wilson Yip knows how to shoot fight scenes and “Ip Man 2” is another testament to this. 

      IP MAN 2
 
I guess “IP MAN 2” may be nothing more than a money grab and sacrifices historical fact and authenticity in favor of commercialism. I admit, some fictional accounts may indeed be necessary to make a film more entertaining and “IP MAN 2” is real entertaining. It has a good first half and while the second half also entertains, it was all for the reasons that I wished it didn’t. Some people may find the 2nd half a little comical, as the acting becomes quite loud and crass as the over-the-top baddies just blunder around onscreen. I know Wilson Yip’s first “IP MAN” film wasn’t exactly a historical epic but at least it was disciplined to keep to its tone and energy. “Ip Man 2” does not expand on the story of Bruce Lee’s teacher, but rather just adds fiction to it. (The producers failed to secure the rights to portray Bruce Lee as a child throughout) I know Wong Kar-Wai’s upcoming dramatic- biopic “Ip Man” may well be the definitive movie about Master Ip, but I guess for now, this will have to do. But for those looking for straight up action, they will not be disappointed.
 
Recommended! [3 ½ out of 5 Stars]

 
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Ip_Man_2-543-1699152-22454-3_Stars_Continuing_The_Saga_of_Bruce_Lee_s.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Ip_Man_2-543-1699152-22454-3_Stars_Continuing_The_Saga_of_Bruce_Lee_s.html Wed, 26 May 2010 05:49:02 +0000
<![CDATA[Once Upon a Time In China Quick Tip by jamesliu]]> http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Once_Upon_a_Time_In_China-81-1433659-55124.html http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Once_Upon_a_Time_In_China-81-1433659-55124.html Wed, 17 Mar 2010 00:33:46 +0000 <![CDATA[Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]> http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-81-1019603-55078.html http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-81-1019603-55078.html Tue, 16 Mar 2010 03:14:57 +0000 <![CDATA[Police Story 2 Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Police_Story_2-81-1397446-55062.html http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Police_Story_2-81-1397446-55062.html Mon, 15 Mar 2010 21:43:06 +0000 <![CDATA[Police Story Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Police_Story-81-1397421-55060.html http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Police_Story-81-1397421-55060.html Mon, 15 Mar 2010 21:37:37 +0000 <![CDATA[Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> http://www.lunch.com/reeloverseas/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-4-1019603-55059.html http://www.lunch.com/reeloverseas/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-4-1019603-55059.html Mon, 15 Mar 2010 21:28:52 +0000 <![CDATA[Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Quick Tip by devora]]> http://www.lunch.com/reeloverseas/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-4-1019603-55057.html http://www.lunch.com/reeloverseas/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-4-1019603-55057.html Mon, 15 Mar 2010 21:21:30 +0000 <![CDATA[Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Quick Tip by QUEENBFLIX]]> http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-81-1019603-54821.html http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-81-1019603-54821.html Fri, 12 Mar 2010 14:41:49 +0000 <![CDATA[Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Quick Tip by coldsteel7]]> http://www.lunch.com/reeloverseas/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-4-1019603-54764.html http://www.lunch.com/reeloverseas/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-4-1019603-54764.html Thu, 11 Mar 2010 21:26:53 +0000 <![CDATA[ Still the greatest Chinese epic movie]]> Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon first came out, and there have been dozens of copycat and other Chinese epic movies in the meantime, but this one is still the best. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is chock full of strong characters, beautiful music, and exciting fight scenes. Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh make an excellent pair as warriors who try to suppress their feelings. Moreover, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has a lot of heart. The movie doesn't have a lot of violence or special effects, but rather really focuses on the four main characters and their development. I'd go so far as to say that this is he best Chinese-language film so far.]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-543-1019603-72545-Still_the_greatest_Chinese_epic_movie.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-543-1019603-72545-Still_the_greatest_Chinese_epic_movie.html Sat, 27 Feb 2010 12:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[ Still the greatest Chinese epic movie]]> Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon first came out, and there have been dozens of copycat and other Chinese epic movies in the meantime, but this one is still the best. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is chock full of strong characters, beautiful music, and exciting fight scenes. Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh make an excellent pair as warriors who try to suppress their feelings. Moreover, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has a lot of heart. The movie doesn't have a lot of violence or special effects, but rather really focuses on the four main characters and their development. I'd go so far as to say that this is he best Chinese-language film so far.]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-543-1019603-72544-Still_the_greatest_Chinese_epic_movie.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-543-1019603-72544-Still_the_greatest_Chinese_epic_movie.html Sat, 27 Feb 2010 12:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[ Still the greatest Chinese epic movie]]> Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon first came out, and there have been dozens of copycat and other Chinese epic movies in the meantime, but this one is still the best. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is chock full of strong characters, beautiful music, and exciting fight scenes. Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh make an excellent pair as warriors who try to suppress their feelings. Moreover, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has a lot of heart. The movie doesn't have a lot of violence or special effects, but rather really focuses on the four main characters and their development. I'd go so far as to say that this is he best Chinese-language film so far.]]> http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-543-1019603-72543-Still_the_greatest_Chinese_epic_movie.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-543-1019603-72543-Still_the_greatest_Chinese_epic_movie.html Sat, 27 Feb 2010 12:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[ Honor and Fair Play Above All! One of the Best Martial Arts Films Ever!]]>
Jet-Li is a Wu-shu champion who was deeply upset when his father lost a Wu-shu championship match. Li is determined to become the best Wu-shu artist there is and win the championship for his father. What he learns is that winning is not as important as how you compete and that respecting your opponent is by far the most important lesson to be learned.

Though we can see instances of "wires" supporting the fighters, the fight scenes are way more realistic looking then most films of this genre. We also learn that many of the supposedly "evil" opponents are really not so "evil" once they are shown a little bit of mercy.

Not to be a spoiler but the ending is very unconventional and even with tragedy there is greatness. It works very well.

This is probably the best film Jet-Li has made!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-8259-Honor_and_Fair_Play_Above_All_One_of_the_Best.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-8259-Honor_and_Fair_Play_Above_All_One_of_the_Best.html Wed, 29 Apr 2009 17:56:46 +0000
<![CDATA[ Honor and Fair Play Above All! One of the Best Martial Arts Films Ever!]]>
Jet-Li is a Wu-shu champion who was deeply upset when his father lost a Wu-shu championship match. Li is determined to become the best Wu-shu artist there is and win the championship for his father. What he learns is that winning is not as important as how you compete and that respecting your opponent is by far the most important lesson to be learned.

Though we can see instances of "wires" supporting the fighters, the fight scenes are way more realistic looking then most films of this genre. We also learn that many of the supposedly "evil" opponents are really not so "evil" once they are shown a little bit of mercy.

Not to be a spoiler but the ending is very unconventional and even with tragedy there is greatness. It works very well.

This is probably the best film Jet-Li has made!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-8259-Honor_and_Fair_Play_Above_All_One_of_the_Best.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-8259-Honor_and_Fair_Play_Above_All_One_of_the_Best.html Wed, 29 Apr 2009 17:56:46 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Most Overrated Movie Ever!]]>
The beginning of the movie introduces a sword that is very old (I think about 400 years) that gets stolen. It then turns out that nobody really cares about the sword.

It then turns out that an aristocratic young woman (who also read a manual and became and awesome Kung Fu master) stole the sword. Why? It is never really explained. She also had an affair with a guy in the desert who leads a band of rebels. The scene where they meet involves him attacking her caravan and stealing her fan. She chases after him on horseback. There are some horse riding tricks performed as the two battle on their horses (something like Indiana Jones did in Raiders of the Lost Ark).

The fight scenes are an insult to anyone that has studied martial arts. One person can take on hundreds and never get tired. (the director needs to see any Jean Claude Van Damme film to see what exciting fighting looks like) And then they fly and float in the air like Mary Martin in Peter Pan. There is also a scene where the old woman shoots poisonous needles through a Gatling gun type device and the needles are blocked by the heroes swinging their swords.

This movie is two hours long and the plot just didn't ever make sense. The ending was ridiculous too (I don't want to give it a way but it is an artsy type that makes you shake your head).]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-543-1019603-6385-The_Most_Overrated_Movie_Ever_.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Crouching_Tiger_Hidden_Dragon-543-1019603-6385-The_Most_Overrated_Movie_Ever_.html Mon, 23 Mar 2009 00:19:55 +0000
<![CDATA[ 4 ½ Stars: "Yes, Chen Zhen...The Best!!"...]]>

…that's the way Gordon Chan's "FIST OF LEGEND" was dubbed before; it displays Chen as a little cocky, a little arrogant but honorable young man. Dragon Dynasty has restored the film's original language track with excellent subtitles. You would not believe just how bad dubbing can affect a film, the only thing that the Dimension release had going for it was its great music, and it is uncut and titled the same. The film has been hailed as Jet Li's best film. The story behind "Fist of Legend" is loosely based on real life events and the film itself is a remake of Bruce Lee's "Chinese Connection" (Asian title: FIST OF FURY).

Chen Zhen is a young martial artist sent to Japan to study and find new skills and methods so that the Chinese may combat the Japanese more effectively. While in Japan, Chen receives word that his master had been killed in a duel with a Japanese master named Akutagawa (Jackson Liu). Chen returns home to Shanghai to pay his last respects and decides to get to the bottom of his master's death. After a quick fight with the Japanese master, Chen determines that Akutagawa couldn't have beaten his master in a duel. The military soon becomes involved to discredit the school, and social differences threaten to take the school and its masters apart. All the more setting events in motion that would set Chen and the Jing Wu school on a collision course with Japanese authorities.

The film's main premise would be the conflict between the Chinese and the Japanese, or rather, who are the best fighters? But the film does delve into something much deeper. The film also explores the differences and social tensions between the Chinese and the Japanese. The film is well-acted (if you use the real language track) and characters are nicely developed. The court drama in the first half may be a little lacking and far-fetched, but I thought it wisely represented the social differences between the two countries. Mitsuko (Nakayama Shinobu) is a blessed presence for Chen and wow! Jet gets a beautiful Japanese leading lady. The tensions between Jing Wu's new master Ting-An (Siu Hou Chin) were excellently played. Chen's encounter with an honorable Japanese master named Fuimo Funakashi (played by Yasuaki Kurata), different styles are on display even blindfolds as they fight to prove their superiority which ends in a resolution that reinforced their respect for each other.

Well, all these intricate storytelling are set aside for numerous fight sequences which is the film's main draw. Legendary fight choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping (Kill Bill, Fearless) earns his paycheck, the fights are nicely shot and excellently executed. Jet Li fights a bunch of students in Akutagawa's dojo, is just a great sight to behold under a masterful hand, it also brought back memories from Bruce Lee's original. The moves are on display and the techniques are perfect. While some films use action scenes to delay a film's resolution, "Fist of Legend" uses action to get to the films' resolution. The majority of the fights looked very realistic while some are the usual wire fu that Jet Li does.

The fight sequences are excellently placed and does further add to the film's strengths. The fights are quite long and radiate sheer intensity. The fight between Chen and Fuimo is arguably the best one. Fuimo's experience and ability to adapt to Chen's style may have given him the upper hand, and I really thought that this fight represented what true Martial Arts should really be about. It is just so incredible to see the two styles clash that maintains a certain amount of honor and sensibility. Chen's climactic encounter with General Fujita (Billy Chow) may well be etched in action fanboys' memory as one of the best fights ever captured on film; the final fight is long, at times brutal. The only reason why I preferred the Chen/Fuimo fight to the Chen/Fujita fight is because while the final fight was spectacular, I was a little turned off with the use of a belt (?) against a katana. Realism was thrown out after all the hard-hitting precision, I felt that it deserved a better climax. Sorry, it just takes a nose dive, a nunchaku would have been more believable as in "Chinese Connection".

Yes, this film has been hailed as Jet Li's best films and it is a loosely based prequel/sequel of sorts to "Fearless". The film is the living epitome of Li's younger days and a worthwhile display of his skills--also has been hailed as one of the greatest martial arts action films of all time. There is just such "guilty pleasure" when you see Jet Li beating the tar out of everyone and he does it so--looking precise and cool. The film just has boatloads of action and is sure to please martial arts fans!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [4 ½ Stars]



VIDEO/AUDIO: 2.40 excellent anamorphic widescreen. Very nice transfer and well beats the letterboxed version by Dimension. 5.1 Dolby Digital English Dubbed track, 2.0 stereo Catonese/Japanese Language track, 2.0 stereo Mandarin Laguage track. Why didn't Dragon Dynasty remaster the original Cantonese track to 5.1 DD??

Extras:

Almost 3 hours of extras! You don't need the commentary by Bey Logan--should have been given the Cantonese track the 5.1 Dolby Digital treatment!

Deleted scenes- a must-see!

Interview with Gordon Chan a must-see!

Way of the Warrior- interview with Japanese legend Kurata Yasuaki- must-see!

School of Hard-knocks- screen fighting seminar at Kurata's school.

How come Brett Ratner and Elvis Mitchell gets to give their two points for the film??


]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Fist_Of_Legend-543-1381275-6261-4_Stars_Yes_Chen_Zhen_The_Best_.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Fist_Of_Legend-543-1381275-6261-4_Stars_Yes_Chen_Zhen_The_Best_.html Fri, 20 Mar 2009 22:00:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ Thrilling Martial Arts Action Film Based On the Life of Bruce Lee's Teacher...]]>                final fight

In the tradition of Jet Li's "Fearless" and "Fist of Legend", comes the fourth collaboration between the Wilson Yip-Donnie Yen tag team who also brought us the phenomenal "Sha Po Lang" in 2005. "IP MAN" is based on the life of the man responsible for making the Chinese kung fu style of "Wing Chun" (invented by a woman), which is up to this day, is among China's most revered style. Yes, Ip Man is also the man who has a huge number of talented disciples--most notably, the late great Bruce Lee.

In the 1930's, the Chinese province of Fo Shan is a thriving place of martial arts schools, with various sects of different styles. Fo Shan is said to be the place where the famous Fong Sai Yuk learned his art and therefore this place has a reputation. Ip Man (Donnie Yen) is a very accomplished martial artist but he keeps to himself, maintains a low profile and quietly spars with friends at home. But after an acknowledged victory over a fighter from the Northern quarter, Master Jin (Fan Siu Wong), Ip Man becomes an instant hero in Fo Shan.

Time passes and in the late 1930's, following the Japanese invasion, Ip Man's property was confiscated by the Japanese army and his family is forced to live an abject existence. One day, general Miura (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi), a fanatical practitioner in Karate, witnesses the skills of this Wing Chun master. The general becomes obsessed with Ip man, and demands that the Chinese style of Wing Chun be taught to the Japanese army. But Ip man refuses and instead challenges Miura to a duel. Ip Man has to uphold the benevolence of his art and protect Chinese dignity. The battle for national pride is about to begin….



The one thing I know for sure is that Ip Man is indeed Bruce Lee's first teacher in Hong Kong for many years, and that Ip man was indeed asked to teach the Japanese; the rest of the significant historical details in this biopic is a little questionable. Yip and screenwriter Edmond Wong does get some details right, but please keep in mind that this is an action film first and foremost--it is hardly a historical drama. The action direction by Hong Kong legend Sammo Hung is indeed amazing, and it is the film's main draw. The story has the usual elements of honor, family, loyalty and pride and offers very little that is new and  fresh--but this doesn't mean that it made the film any less exciting.

There is very minor characterization involved. The film has two acts, and the first has Ip Man's status in the Fo Shan province. He is a business man and he doesn't teach his art, there are hints that he used to compete, but he decided to keep a low profile because of his wife, Cheng (played by Lynn Hung). His relationship with his wife and son is somewhat estranged at times because of his love for sparring--she throws a tantrum whenever he fights; Ip Man is a humble man, and shows his wife the respect due her. The second act exposes the effect of the Japanese invasion of 1937 on Master Ip, his family and the Chinese people. While Donnie Yen may indeed lack the necessary acting ability to portray him dramatically--he sure has the presence of a highly trained martial artist. Director Yip did the right thing in focusing more on fights than dramatic impact. There are also some touches of social commentary seeing as how some Chinese prey on their countrymen and they only look out for themselves.

            Ip Man  

As I've said, Sammo Hung's action choreography is indeed phenomenal and it sure helps when you have a cast of real-life martial arts practitioners and action-honed actors such as Yen, Louis Fan and Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, who holds a Kuro Obi in Judo in real life. Sammo Hung maintains a nice balance between finesse, realism and downright brutality--the fights are very intense and very focused. It is a mix of the usual wire-fu and occasional acrobatics. Highlights include, Ip Man taking on 10 Japanese fighters in one time, the fight between Fan Siu Wong and Yen is quick but exciting, complemented with some subtle doses of humorous cracks. The fights are exquisitely shot, with multiple camera angles in a perspective view to close ups, so you can see all the hard-hitting action. There are also times when an opponent is thrown in the camera's view and I thought this added a lot of style and intense attitude. Director Yip and company knows exactly how to shoot and edit fight sequences, this proves to be the film's main showstopper along with the superb fight choreography.
 
            Ip man    

The action encounters are nicely placed and Wilson Yip needs to be credited for maintaining an excellent pace with its balance between action and drama. While this film is historically inaccurate, for the most part, it does succeed as an action film--a very well done at that. The film does ultimately fail as a character-driven, true-to-life biopic. Donnie Yen's "Ip Man" is more about his capabilities as a fighter than who he really was as a man, which is no doubt due to fact that it wanted to maintain a China-friendly film. The film's structure is more of a popcorn action film than an emotional biopic of a man who made his mark in using his fists to unite the Chinese people. It plays too fast and free to fully realize the film's potential as a "based on true events" type of deal.

Despite some flaws in the script, and the filmmakers relying too much on the audiences' good beliefs rather than developing Ip Man as a man than as a caricature of a folk hero; (no doubt an attempt to match Wong Fei Hung in "Once upon a Time in China" and Huo Yuan Jia in "Fearless") to portray him as an inspirational role model/saint. "IP MAN" is a truly exciting film which is just full of action and the energy it exudes is just so much fun to watch. I am rather very interested in seeing as to what Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen would bring "IP MAN 2", which would hopefully show more of his experiences in Hong Kong (which may include his time with Bruce Lee). Of course, by that time, Wong Kar-Wai's version of "IP MAN" will be released and will hopefully have more historical significance than action thrills.

Still, this film comes with a "Highly Recommended" rating from me, it does kick major ass as a martial arts action film. [4 ½ Stars]

Note: The language in the film carries is Bi-Lingual with both Cantonese and Japanese Languages.

Added: IP MAN 2 was also reviewed in this community.



]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-IP_MAN-543-1379963-5016-Thrilling_Martial_Arts_Action_Film_Based_On_the.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-IP_MAN-543-1379963-5016-Thrilling_Martial_Arts_Action_Film_Based_On_the.html Tue, 17 Feb 2009 02:45:20 +0000
<![CDATA[ Breathless]]>
The movie takes place at the turn of the last century during the Qing Dynasty. In most scenes the buildings have ancient beauty that is framed by the picturesque horizons, so it is easy to watch. Every opponent who challenges Hao is introduced and brings a different sort of menace to the stage where a large audience gathers. For big, burly Master Chin there's sparring over a coffin for a nice effect. The tension each new challenger Hao must hurdle is given time to build up, especially at the local restaurant where Hao is keen on buying rounds (and gathering debts) of wine for everyone.

There are wisely times for recuperation--for the hero and for the audience. Lessons about honor, respect, revenge, discipline, and humility are given Confucian treatment, so we care about what happens to all the characters. Time outs for tea and planting rice maintain a properly restful mood for Hao and the observer.

Exciting and absorbing, 'Fearless' leaves its audience breathless.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-105005-Breathless.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-105005-Breathless.html Tue, 3 Jul 2007 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ No Jet Li don't go!]]>
The movie starts with Huo Yuanjia's famous tournament against the champions of the Sphere of Influence nations. We get to the Japanese challenger and then are sent into a flashback to Huo's youth. We are given the details of Huo's early life, his trials and tribulations. How he was, what he became and how he got there. This section is full of all the other parts of martial arts that have nothing to do with fighting (at this point I'm thinking fondly of Bruce's `Circle of Iron.'All the fight scenes through out the film are choreographed well and are quite exciting. 'Fearless' does carry the message not to resort violence to settle any problem, where we can see how violence did to Huo's loved ones. The showdown between Huo and other foreign fighters also promotes the idea of sparing your enemy a chance, no matter how deadly they could be. This, somehow, reflects on part of the idea and philosophy Jet Li understands and promotes from his one year Buddhism studies. As this is a semi-bio-pic, it runs into the same inherent problems in the genre; namely that you must have something invested in the person already. The person must be someone you know something or care something about. Rarely does a movie in this genre make you care about the character if you are not interested. It is much like hypnosis, if you do not believe you will not be put under.

As for this film being Jet Li's last epic, it breaks my heart but I really did enjoy it. In his own words, it's a representation of his own struggles as an actor/martial artist. It's all him (maybe a tiny bit of wire-work)! If this is what he identifies with, how he wants to end it, why should we expect him to do otherwise. I think I paid more attention to the time period, understood the dialogue, learn the lesson of respect, not everyone are vengeance driven, an eye for an eye... etc. If you are telling a story about a historical character, it has to be believable to a point, not over the top, but not everything is going to be completely accurate. Despite what others say about how boring it is... it's simply not and I'm ending this with a recommendation.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-152435-No_Jet_Li_don_t_go_.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-152435-No_Jet_Li_don_t_go_.html Thu, 1 Feb 2007 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Fitting Valedictory for Jet Li]]>
Based on the life of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia (1869-1910), the founder and spiritual leader of the Jin Wu Sports Federation still in existence internationally, Jet Li acts the role of Huo Yuanjia, a man whose father's heroics were surpassed only by his compassion, a trait the film shows us to be the lesson learned by Huo Yuanjia. Beginning with his childhood where all of his influences and those people who altered his life are introduced by child actors (the weakest portion of this film), he grows into the role as champion Washu fighter of his province, but his championship is not without problems: he inadvertently kills his final opponent opening a series of tragedies that drives him, a broken man, into the rural area of China where he learns the simple life and ideals of his people. He returns to his province to visit the sites of his family's memorials and the memorial of the man he killed. He further accepts a challenge to fight again only this time despite onerous odds he allows his spiritual awakening to govern the outcome.

The film is lushly beautiful with some of the finest cinematography of China we have yet to see. The choreography of the fight sequences is superb and Jet Li commits his all to the role both as actor and martial arts fighter. The audience is left feeling a new sense of respect for the travails of China at the early part of the 20th century, for the field of Marital Arts, for the dignity of one of China's heroes, and for the performer/actor Jet Li. It is a most fitting valedictory. Grady Harp, January 07]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-120120-A_Fitting_Valedictory_for_Jet_Li.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-120120-A_Fitting_Valedictory_for_Jet_Li.html Thu, 4 Jan 2007 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Honor and Fair Play Above All]]>
Jet-Li is a Wu-shu champion who was deeply upset when his father lost a Wu-shu championship match. Li is determined to become the best Wu-shu artist there is and win the championship for his father. What he learns is that winning is not as important as how you compete and that respecting your opponent is by far the most important lesson to be learned.

Though we can see instances of "wires" supporting the fighters, the fight scenes are way more realistic looking then most films of this genre. We also learn that many of the supposedly "evil" opponents are really not so "evil" once they are shown a little bit of mercy.

Not to be a spoiler but the ending is very unconventional and even with tragedy there is greatness. It works very well.

This is probably the best film Jet-Li has made!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-103827-Honor_and_Fair_Play_Above_All.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Jet_Li_s_Fearless_2006_-543-1570931-103827-Honor_and_Fair_Play_Above_All.html Wed, 4 Oct 2006 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ One of the most creative and funny ...Kung Fu movie ever]]>
If you are a fan of the director Steven Chow and his movies like "God of Cookery" and "Shaolin Soccer", you will definately enjoy this movie. If you are a Jackie Chan fan, you'll probably like this movie as well, since it's done in a Buster Keaton/Looney Tunes type style. In comparison to the other Steven Chow movies, this one is a little more violent at times. This is good to keep in mind if you're going to watch it with young children.

In addition to this,it also has a good story line and some very heart-warming scenes. I would rate this as one of the best Kung-Fu Parody movies ever made. Plus, you'll laugh until it hurts!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Kung_Fu_Hustle-543-1527374-85516-One_of_the_most_creative_and_funny_Kung_Fu.html http://www.lunch.com/HKaction/reviews/movie/UserReview-Kung_Fu_Hustle-543-1527374-85516-One_of_the_most_creative_and_funny_Kung_Fu.html Thu, 8 Sep 2005 12:00:00 +0000