Posts Tagged ‘Siu-Wong Fan’

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.

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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.


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.