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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ip Man Movie

So I've finally had the pleasure of watching this movie, starring one of the best, Donnie Yen.   

This was your typical war-time, japanese-invasion, go-chinese kung fu-pride-go! type of movie. The story line was also typical and so was acting. Although I gotta give credit to Donnie Yen - I thought he did a great job and he lost a lot of weight for the role!

The bad-guy Japenese general..was apparently...played by....DAVID BLAINE.  Well not really, but I thought think they look a like. Here's a pic of David Blaine. Here's a pic of Hiroyuki Ikeuchi.

That aside. 

I was looking, like all other wing chun enthousiasts, at the fight choreography. I've seen Prodigal Son (choreographed by Sammo Hung) and Wing Chun (starring Michelle Yeoh). Both I did not enjoy in terms of fighting. 

As for Ip Man..

I thought it was spectacularly put together and stunning to watch! It's incredibly refreshing to see "our" wing tsun/chun art on the screen! Even the other kung fu styles vs kung fu styles was very well choreographed. In terms of the "chunning," it was able to capture power and speed, and relativly convincing, in probably one of the most difficult martial art style to portray on camera. 

I mean, sure you can pick at things here and there, but I enjoyed the ride.  It did not favour just the chain punch. It had elbows, neck grabs, knee pressure application, palm strikes, side kicks, circling kicks and other unorthdox moves - but what works is wing chun, right?  There was also mobility in its application (fighting 10 black belts at once) and you can see how Donnie incorporates his body into the moves (that may not be "wing chun") to bring the scene alive and emotional - but it's natural and you know he's having fun and just letting it flow. 

Yes they portrayed him as practically invincible..but same with Jet Li in Fearless or Once Upon a Time in China - the idea of immaculate and indestructible kung fu skills is nothing new. 

Portraying wing chun on screen as respectable, powerful (great sound!), and convincing is a feat in itself, especially with the demand of Asian cinema audiences (they want to the see the entire fight scene, not just close up shots and multitude of cut scenes - a la Steven Seagal), and I would say the movie pulls it off nicely. 

Of course, the dramatic over/cheesy acting common in Chinese cinema is something else altogether and yes, you get your fair share of that. Not my cup of tea, but I'm not here for the tea.

I was here for the steak and potatoes and I'd say the movie delivered.

Until then.

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