Posts Tagged ‘Sammo Hung’

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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DIM SUM: THE LEGEND IS BORN – IP MAN a.k.a. YOUNG IP MAN [YE WEN QIAN ZHUAN | 葉問前傳]

2010/06/12

http://ipmanlegend.pixnet.net/blog

UPDATE: READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE! – – – – – – – – – It seems the IP MAN story is still in fashion with another movie about the master coming up:  THE LEGEND IS BORN – IP MAN (a.k.a. THE YOUNG IP MAN) is about the early years of Ip Man (so again – NO Bruce Lee in here) and stars Sammo Hung, Yu-Hang To, Biao Yuen and Siu-Wong Fan. Directed by Herman Yau, so we consequently expect the usual Yau take on the subject (Wong Kar Wai, are you still pursuing your IP MAN project?).

J.

IP MAN 2: LEGEND OF THE GRANDMASTER [YIP MAN 2: CHUNG SI CHUEN KEI | 葉問2:宗師傳奇]

2010/05/09

http://www.ipman2-movie.com/

HONG KONG 2010  Directed by: Wilson Yip Written by: Edmond Wong  Produced by: Raymond Wong Cinematography by: Hang-Sang Poon Music: Kenji Kawai Cast: Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Xiaoming Huang, Siu-Wong Fan, Kent Cheng, Darren Shalavi

IP MAN 2 seamlessly continues where IP MAN left off: IP Man and his family are moving to Hong Kong where he tries to open his new martial arts school. In the beginning the Ip’s have very little money and Ip Man virtually no students, but at least they are no longer harassed by the Japanese. Instead he and the other masters now have to fight the corrupt British administration: where Ip Man runs into trouble with the local big shots in the beginning and has to fight for his recognition as martial arts master with Sammo Hung, they are all united later when the British set up a boxing tournament to teach the Chinese a lesson. Their man called The Twister is a mean machine ready to kill and the question is who is going to stop him.

IP MAN 2 shows the same high quality standards that have made IP MAN so outstanding, so we do not have to talk much about production, script writing, direction and acting. I believe that if you liked IP MAN you will most definitely like IP MAN 2.

Yet IP MAN 2 is more than just a variation of the same: IP MAN 2 is a chronological continuation, with a lively portrayal of Hong Kong in the 40’s and Ip Man’s struggle as a teacher at a time right after the Sino-Chinese war. Once again Raymond Wong and Wilson Yip succeed in finding the perfect balance of martial arts movie, semi-biographical portrait and historical drama.

With Sammo Hung joining the cast as a rival master IP MAN 2 is raising the bar of martial arts performances even higher: seeing Hung and Donnie Yen clash is nothing less than marvelous and is only exceeded by the showdown when they both fight The Twister. It’s quite bizarre to see western boxing mixed with Wing Chun though, but after a few minutes you’ll be nailed to your seat enjoying the show.

If you have expected IP MAN 2 focusing on the relationship between Ip Man and Bruce Lee you’ll have to wait; Raymond Wong obviously couldn’t finalize negotiations with Bruce Lee’s heirs and therefore (a very young) Bruce Lee enters the movie only in its very last scene, hinting at a possible third installment in the IP MAN series.

It is difficult to say which film is better, IP MAN or IP MAN 2. I thought the portrayal of Ip Man in part two was more consistent and mature whereas in part one he is easily outraged. On the other hand part 2 is more gimmicky and less down to earth, but in return rewards us with more spectacular fights. And Simon Yam’s role and how the story’s been altered was really unnecessary. But other than that both movies are on par.

It probably all comes down to everyone’s likes and dislikes. For now it’s a tie. Once Raymond Wong realizes IP MAN 3 including the Bruce Lee story, and with part three then truly delivering the goods, I expect part two looking more like a transition between part one and part three. But until then IP MAN 2 is another highly entertaining to watch milestone of modern Hong Kong martial arts cinema.

J.