Last night I caught IP MAN, the new movie from Wilson Yip (the man who, along with Johnny To, has been keeping Hong Kong cinema alive in the post boom years) and was just absolutely floored by it. It's a fictionalized account of the life of Ip Man, the practioner of Wing Chun (a particularly bone-crushing brand of Kung Fu that stresses a strong offense as the best defense) who is best known to the world as the martial arts instructor of Bruce Lee. The bulk of the movie concerns his efforts to survive along with his family during the draconian Japanese occupation during WWII.
Obviously, this is more of a Kung Fu movie than a serious biopic, but it's made with such skill and passion that it really transcends the genre. The fight scenes in this one are absolutely astounding, but what makes the movie so damn good (what makes any* martial arts movie that's worth a damn any good, really) is that the fights really *mean something when you get to them. It's consistently involving on an emotional level, and there was even one scene that had me and the woman reaching for our Kleenex.
Donnie Yen (probably best known to American audiences for IRON MONKEY and his bit part as the Samurai vampire in BLADE II) was always a lot of fun to watch, but he really takes things to another level here, not only in terms of his martial arts but also acting-wise. He gives a quiet, dignified performance. As for the fight scenes, they're jaw- dropping. He really snatches the crown off Jet Li's head here.

Anyways, this is an absolute must-see, an instant classic of the genre. I doubt it will get much, if any, of a domestic release here in the States, but boy does it deserve one. This one's really got it all.
The demise of the Hong Kong action film has been greatly exaggerated. Just please, Mssers Yip and Yen, don't go to Hollywood. They'll have you grinding out GRANDSON OF CHUCKIE instead of great stuff like this.

Cheers,
B
My fave Kung Fu movies: both comedies: The Legend of Drunken Master, and Kung Fu Hustle. I hated Hidden Tiger, Crouching Boredom - I paid to see it in the theater, and I want my two hours back.
I hated Hidden Tiger, Crouching Boredom - I paid to see it in the theater, and I want my two hours back.

Me too. I could not for the life of me understand what all the fuss was about.

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Thanks! I'm going to track it down.
I am a huge Johnny To fan, and can't figure out how a guy can make so many movies and have them all be better crafted than the average American film and usually have much better scripts than ours.

I am now searcing for Wilson Yip movies...
- Bill
Thanks! I'm going to track it down. I am a huge Johnny To fan, and can't figure out how a ... and have them all be better crafted than the average American film and usually have much better scripts than ours.

That's what I keep saying! But it seems nobody here has even heard of him because Americans won't watch anything but American movies! It's kind of pathetic, but then the last thing we want happening is for Hollywood to take notice of him the way they did John Woo, Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Ronny Yu.
I am now searcing for Wilson Yip movies...

Definitely check out KILL ZONE (a police drama with Yen, Simon Yam and Sammo Hung) and DRAGON TIGER GATE (a manga-inspired Kung Fu fantasy, also with Yen). FLASH POINT, alas, I was kind of disappointed by. But trust me: this guy is one to watch.
Cheers,
B
I hated Hidden Tiger, Crouching Boredom - I paid to see it in the theater, and I want my two hours back.

Me too. I could not for the life of me understand what all the fuss was about.

I as a matter of fact, I like IRON MONKEY much better than CROUCHING TIGER.

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