Posts Tagged ‘Lam Suet’

THE LEGEND IS BORN – IP MAN [YIP MAN CHINCHYUN | YE WEN QIAN ZHUAN | 葉問前傳]

2010/08/07

https://sites.google.com/site/youngipman/

http://www.meiah.com/syno.asp?id=25&lang=E

http://ipmanlegend.pixnet.net/blog

HONG KONG 2010  Directed by: Herman Yau Written by: Erica Lee  Produced by: Sin Kwok-Lam  Cinematography: Chan Kwong-Hung  Music: Chun Hung Mak Starring: Dennis To, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Fan Siu-Wong, Huang Yi, Tin Chiu Hung, Lam Suet, Bernice Liu, Andy Taylor, Yu-Hang To, Jiao Xu

THE LEGEND IS BORN – IP MAN is another film about the late master of Wing Chun and a quasi-prequel to Raymond Wong’s IP MAN movies, starting from Ip Man’s childhood and covering all the years up to his marriage. THE LEGEND IS BORN – IP MAN is a bit like a time travel, reflecting the life, politics and style of decades long gone. Sometimes looking like a classic Hong Kong movie from the early 60’s, sometimes like a Bruce Lee film from the 70s, sometimes like a History Channel episode, LEGEND is diverse and colorful and offers much more than just artistic martial arts.

This coming from Herman Yau, one of the kings of CAT III (TAXI HUNTER, THE UNTOLD STORY, EBOLA SYNDROME) is a surprise. If anything I would have expected LEGEND to be a fatuitous martial arts movie, borrowing fame and glory from the man who is a legend. But things are different this time: not only has the movie been authorized by Man’s family, not only is Ip Man’s son Ip Chun one of the co-stars, THE LEGEND IS BORN – IP MAN is a multidimensional film dealing with Ip Man’s personal life as much with his martial arts skills.

LEGEND may take some liberties with the historic facts, but that was no different with the IP MAN films. As the movie is not a history lesson I think it goes as far as possible without compromising its entertainment qualities. It dramatizes Ip Man’s life and times pretty well and paints an interesting picture of the man who would become Bruce Lee’s master.

Overall LEGEND seems to have a faster pace than the IP MAN movies, featuring more fights on various occasions. The fight choreography is less detailed than Donnie Yen’s action sequences, plus Donnie Yen is missing, which results in the action standards being slightly below IP MAN (unless the formidable Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung enter the ring; with Hung starring in both IP MAN 2 and LEGEND I wonder if the audience can really always differentiate between the movies). Also, the acting is less serious at times and you will notice more cliché expressions on the actor’s faces (like “surprise”, “anger”, “pain”), just as much as certain scenes are gearing more towards overly fancy – or humorous – choreography, quite different from IP MAN’s bare-bones approach.

But that doesn’t mean that THE LEGEND IS BORN – IP MAN is necessarily inferior to IP MAN 1 & 2. To be fair I’d say that LEGEND is different, with some details being less refined, but overall it comes down to taste, especially as there are many who have not been convinced by the previous IP MAN entries.

If you were hoping for a less biased or racist attitude you’ll be disappointed though. If there’s one thing all movies have in common it’s their expressively anti-Japanese and sometimes anti-Western thinking, their simple classification into black and white and their willingness to act as a political vehicle confirming, and broadcasting, all kinds of prejudices.

If you care more about the story and its execution THE LEGEND IS BORN – IP MAN is another good effort to bring the martial arts legend to the silver screen. Now all that’s missing is Wong Kar-Wai’s interpretation of the IP MAN story, then we can finally come up with a solid ranking.

J.


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TRIPLE TAP [CHEUNG WONG CHI WONG | QIANG WANG ZHI WANG | 鎗王之王]

2010/08/05

http://www.facebook.com/TripleTapMovie

HONG KONG 2010  Directed by: Derek Yee Written by: Derek Yee, Chun Tin Nam, Lau Ho Leung Produced by: Henry Fong  Cinematography: Anthony Pun  Editing: Kwong Chi-Leung  Music: Peter Kam  Cast: Louis Koo, Daniel Wu, Charlene Choi, Li Bingbing, Chapman To, Alex Fong, Lam Suet, Andrew Lin, Kenny Lo

A blind man would find a plot quicker than TRIPLE TAP does: Derek Yee’s movie is an amazing disaster with at least as many plot holes as bullets fired throughout its ninety-something minutes running time.

DOUBLE TAP was a quite solid B-movie, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t exactly qualify for a sequel. With a well-known and rudimental storyline, two main actors, a few fine action sequences and otherwise nothing noteworthy at all DOUBLE TAP was the kind of flick you watch when your satellite TV signal drops out during a thunderstorm or as an appetizer on a movie night with friends.

Yee nevertheless was inspired to do another installment, so now let’s have a look at the “improvements” over the original (I assume the objective of a sequel is to excel): an incredibly confusing story with Louis Koo playing a fund manager (!) who is also one of the best marksmen (!!) in town (aren’t we all leading a double life as master shooter), a heist that doesn’t make sense, actors that have the same what-am-I-doing-in-this-movie expression on their face as Andy Lau in FUTURE X-COPS, very talkative dialogues (while having nothing to say), a lot of male camaraderie that borders on gayness (I hope the way Wu and Koo are looking deep into each other’s eyes all the time was scripted; otherwise…) and a plethora of entirely unrealistic plot threads, plot points and behavior of all characters.

During the first third you’ll wonder what TRIPLE TAP is all about; by the end of the last third you may still not have comprehended more. Between the opening and the closing credits some shootouts happen, murders, police investigations, huge amounts of money are juggled with, women come and go dropping stupid one-liners. I’d say you simply stop caring after a while if you’d ever started to care in the first place. It never comes to the point that we feel for anyone in the movie, or are interested to find out what’s behind the heist and the beef these guys have with each other.

All we wanted from DOUBLE TAP was a bit of after hours action. All we get from TRIPLE TAP is three times the B-ness. A few aspects about the movie may be quite ok, but when all is said and done there can be no doubt that TRIPLE TAP’s most prominent feature is causing fatigue. If boredom was currency, Derek Yee would be a billionaire.

J.


BEAUTY ON DUTY [MEI LAI MUK LING | 美麗密令]

2010/05/26

http://www.facebook.com/pages/mei-li-mi-ling-Beauty-On-Duty/303759054192

HONG KONG 2010  Directed & Written by: Wong Jing  Produced by: Lee Kwok-Hing, Zhuo Wu  Cinematography: Suny Shum  Cast: Charlene Choi, Benz Hui, Sandra Ng, Siu-Wong Fan, Tat-Ming Cheung, Lam Suet, Sammy Leung

I was honestly hoping that FUTURE X-COPS would be the most horrible movie Wong Jing is producing this year, but BEAUTY ON DUTY is really putting my nerves to the test.

I have been exposed to the typical Hong Kong humor and to Wong Jing’s version of that humor for decades. Sometimes it works or me, mostly it doesn’t. Humor is very subjective as well as a cultural facet, so in general it is very hard to tell funny from not funny.

Therefore I will not claim being objective when it comes to BEAUTY ON DUTY. On the other hand it’s a film released for the big screen and hence it is subject to criticism like any other movie out there.

Apart from the subjective quality of humor it must be noted that Wong Jing still cashes in on the same old recipe he is using since over 20 years now. He is still fooling the audience and they still don’t get it. The “story” (which is a rip-off and doesn‘t deserve a second of my time to recap here) provides a very basic framework for a non-stop firework of slapstick: no joke is too dumb, no topic too cliché-ridden and no overacting too much to provoke a reaction from the audience.

Everything has to be simple-stupid and as loud as possible. The smallest common denominator is what really matters. Nothing has changed for Wong Jing the almighty recycling machine since the 80’s: why invent it yourself when you can just steal it and make it worse? You got no ideas, no taste and no style? Go work with Wong Jing, there’s always plenty to do.

As mentioned elsewhere he could put is talent to better use, but unfortunately usually chooses not to. Even a veteran crew and cast cannot save a movie like BEAUTY ON DUTY, and seeing Sandra Ng, Tat-Ming Cheung or Andy Lau being degraded to clowns hurts – for a moment, then we realize they are generously compensated for their decision to act in junk like this. Shame on all of them.

BEAUTY ON DUTY is a disgrace to filmmaking. It has no artistic qualities whatsoever. If you are interested in watching a movie, look elsewhere. Your dog wouldn’t want to watch this one. BEAUTY ON DUTY doesn’t even come close to what is generally considered a movie.

BEAUTY ON DUTY is an un-movie. It’s must-miss cinema. And I am sure Roger Ebert would want to cut both his thumbs off seeing it (hope you read this review Roger, really).

J.