As I believe I’ve made clear in many reviews over the years, as well as this week’s Profiles in Badass column on Rebeller, I’m aware of Michelle Yeoh’s wide range of talents and accomplishments. I love her most for the movies that really showcase her fighting and her swagger, like WING CHUN, and YES, MADAM!, or her fighting and her regret, like CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, and the totally-worth-checking-out straight-to-Netflix sequel, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON: SWORD OF DESTINY. I also very much admire her dramatic acting chops from AH KAM to CRAZY RICH ASIANS. Still, the timing of my specific movie-watching path, discovering Hong Kong action in the ‘90s, means that I will always think of her as Michelle “jumped a motherfucking motorcycle onto a motherfucking train in SUPERCOP” Yeoh. That’s just a fact. (read the rest of this shit…)
Posts Tagged ‘Fan Siu-Wong’
KUNG FU KILLER also played as KUNG FU JUNGLE (it still says that on the end credits) but the new title fits better. It refers to both the villain and the hero of this enjoyable moosh-up of martial arts challenge movie and serial killer thriller. Donnie Yen plays Hahou Mo, a renowned teacher and fighter who’s in prison for killing his opponent the last time he had a martial arts duel. But when a mysterious killer is targeting other martial arts masters Hahou convinces the police to let him out to help catch the motherfucker. I mean, if Hahou’s gotta go to prison for an apparently accidental and honorable duel-death then surely this murdering creep should be in there too.
Just as John Doe in SEVEN was killing based on the seven deadly sins, Hahou determines that this guy is killing in an order based on traditional martial arts training. He predicts who the victims will be based on who has the best kicks, grappling, etc. To stop the killer he works with police inspector Luk Yuen-Sum, or “Madam” (Charlie Yeung, BANGKOK DANGEROUS remake with Nic Cage), who is suspicious of him, and his wife Sinn Ying (Michelle Bai), who he is very protective of. (read the rest of this shit…)
THE LEGEND IS BORN: IP MAN isn’t related to the Donny Yen movies IP MAN and IP MAN 2. I mean obviously they’re all based on the same Wing Chun master famous for teaching Bruce Lee, but this isn’t the official prequel to those ones, because it doesn’t have the same director or producers or anything. It’s like if right now somebody who’s not Spielberg made their own prequel to LINCOLN.
Well, I’ll try to be open-minded if they do that, because when I finally got around to this LEGEND IS BORN one I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a very effective martial arts melodrama with alot of the classic themes: brotherhood, loyalty, betrayal, finding a master, challenging tradition, falling in love. As kids Ip Man and his adopted brother Tin Chi go to live and study with the Wing Chun master Chan Wah Shun (Sammo Hung) and become friends with a girl student named Mei Wai. The three grow up to be very close, in fact an incomplete love triangle (Tin Chi loves Mei Wai, Mei Wai loves Ip Man, Ip Man doesn’t notice). (read the rest of this shit…)
WU DANG is not only an alternate spelling of “Wu Tang” and an excellent new exclamation to use, but also a nice period martial arts picture that just came to the region 1 DVD. The director is Patrick Leung (THE TWINS EFFECT II), the action choreographer is the great Corey Yuen.
Vincent Zhao, star of TRUE LEGEND, plays Dr. Tang Yunlong, a sort of more buttoned down Indiana Jones type of treasure hunter. In the opening he goes to appraise a legendary ancient sword, like Steven Seagal does on the weekends. He identifies it as a fraud, but the carrying case is apparently real because he breaks it open and pulls out a map to 7 treasures on the Wu Dang Mountain. Then it’s “well, gotta be going now fellas” as he tries to walk away with the map, which means he has to fight his way out. This is great because he’s wearing a pinstrip suit, a bow tie, round glasses and white gloves and he’s leaping through the air, punching through walls, crushing guys’ legs in doors. (read the rest of this shit…)
Ever since the runaway Hong-Kong-equivalent-of-best-picture-Oscar success of the Donnie-Yen-starring biopic IP MAN in 2008, Ip-Mania has swept the globe. In the U.S. it’s quickly become one of the most popular martial arts imports since ONG BAK, and this year will have its own balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (at least I assume so. I sent them several letters demanding that). in Hong Kong it already has a (unrelated?) prequel and this very good sequel from returning director Wilson Yip.
IP MAN was very episodic and ended early in Ip Man’s life, so there was a natural opening to continue the story. But the movie had such a perfect blend of character drama and martial arts action that it’s alot to live up to. And in recent years the sequels to the international action phenomenons have been pretty iffy. I enjoyed ONG BAK 2, but it’s a big mess that lost alot of people, and I ahven’t heard anything good about part 3 yet. DISTRICT B13 ULTIMATUM was watchable but completely underwhelming. So this was far from a sure thing. There’s curses to overcome.
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Donny Yen plays Ip Man, the grand master martial artist who I guess was the first to openly teach the Wing Chun style of kung fu. If you’ve heard of him it’s probaly because he was Bruce Lee’s Wing Chun master, although that’s only mentioned in the text at the end of the movie.
Like Ronny Yu’s JET LI’S FEARLESS, IP MAN is a prestige martial arts picture, a fictionalized take on a historical figure, a beautifully shot period piece (in this case the ’30s) mixing drama and inspirational nationalism with topnotch martial arts choreography. The look is a little more timeless than FEARLESS though – I didn’t notice any digital shots, and only a couple wire-assisted moves. (read the rest of this shit…)