Blog Archives

Ip Man 3 (2015)

I missed the third film in the Wilson Yip-directed, Donnie Yen-starring Ip Man series when it was in cinemas, so I was very happy to have a chance to review the upcoming Aussie DVD/Blu-ray release (available May 4 from Eastern Eye). Yen’s portrayal of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man as a quietly traditionalist, highly skilled master of his art has been his most popular role of the last decade or so. Aside from his transformation in the flawed but fun … (read more)

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Kung Fu Jungle (2014)

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Donnie Yen returns to the big screen in Kung Fu Jungle, in the well-worn guise of a skilled martial artist brought low, doggedly chasing down a brilliant but broken adversary. Not that he’s been away for long; arguably the last big action star standing from Hong Kong’s golden years, he’s been working harder than ever, turning in a couple of huge films every year since the early 2000s, often as action choreographer as well.

In this film, director Teddy … (read more)

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The Monkey King (2014)

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Well, this one’s been a long time coming! News that Soi Cheang was to direct a giant, IMAX 3D adaptation of part of the classical novel Journey To The West with a major action star in the lead hit the Web in early 2010, and there’s apparently been a sales stand with a poster at HK Filmart every year since then.

Now, all is revealed! After a couple of years of delays, The Monkey King is here in cinemas in … (read more)

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Wu Xia (2011)

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Wu Xia 2011 Peter Ho-sun Chan China Lion

Wu Xia is billed as a martial arts murder mystery, and one needs to wonder whether there are many more genre mash-ups still left to be made (of course making that thought is sufficient for some unknown combination to come forth).  That, of course, is the central premise of Wu Xia: that Jinxi’s (Donnie Yen) intervention in a robbery draws the attention of  magistrate Baijiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) who is convinced that Jinxi’s good deed was only possible through the … (read more)

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The Lost Bladesman (2011)

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The Lost Bladesman is a film adaptation of a portion of the Chinese historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which has been the basis of many popular adaptations, most recently Red Cliff, the anime series Ikki Tousen and the popular Dynasty Warriors series of video games.

This particular film follows Guan Yu, here played by Donnie Yen (SPL, Ip Man, and Shanghai Knights), a great warrior and general who is more or less … (read more)

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Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (2010)

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The role of Chen Zhen is a storied one in Hong Kong film. First played by Bruce Lee in (arguably his best film) Fist of Fury, the fictional vengeful student of real-life martial artist Huo Yuan Jia has been played by Jet Li (in Fist of Legend, also a classic), and in television adaptations by Donnie Yen, Bruce Leung and Jordan Chan. Fist of Fury’s original director Lo Wei also went on to make a sequel, 1976’s … (read more)

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Bodyguards and Assassins (2009)

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I knew very little about Bodyguards and Assassins going into the theatre. I had heard a basic plot outline that could be described as ‘16 Blocks with a team of kung-fu fighters instead of Bruce Willis’. Having now seen the film I think that sentence does a disservice to the film.

B&A is set in 1906, British ruled, Hong Kong. Revolution is in the air with student protests and rebel groups finding their footing. With police and other forces … (read more)

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Flash Point (2007)

The long-awaited sequel to the excellent 2005 crime-action drama Sha Po Lang (SPL) has finally been released – and what a truly disappointing film it turns out to be. Flash Point is one of the cinema’s low points for 2007.

Flash Point is a lazy and unoriginal movie with routine performances from major HK stars and a storyline culled from recent Chinese crime flicks. Plus the near unbelievable fact that this high budget thriller was filmed on digital video. The … (read more)

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