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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Ip Man 2 (2010)

This is certainly no tame squeakquel.

More an exuberant throwback to fan-favourite 1980s Hong Kong martial arts movies, with fight scene stacked upon fight scene, shamelessly caricatured gwailo villains, a breezily achieved period setting, and at times (e.g. the fish market) quite thrilling fight choreography. Flawed, without a doubt. Cheesy, yes. The plot is uninspired, the violence unnecessarily excessive at times (Sammo’s face gets a real work out) and there’s emotionally flat filler like the re-introduction of Simon Yam’s character. … (read more)

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Ip Man (2008)

With Ip Man, Donnie Yen takes on his meatiest role yet. He’s played the central hero before (in Iron Monkey and in the miniseries of Fist of Fury, for example) but they’ve all been a bit over the top: period-era takes on the unstoppable leather-jacketed Donnie we know from most of his films. The title character of this film, however, is a quiet young kungfu master of 1930’s Foshan, born into privilege and not a willing participant in … (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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SPL (2005)

If you’re a regular reader of sites with an interest in Asian cinema on the net, you probably already know all about Sha Po Lang (SPL). You’ve read all four very positive reviews on twitchfilm, you’ve read Grady’s review at Kaiju Shakedown, and you know what’s what. A modern Hong Kong film, starring three very well-respected martial arts stars from different backgrounds, with a gritty, crime setting and a lot of neon lights and breaking glass. A … (read more)

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Dragon Tiger Gate (2006)

‘BIF! KA-POW! CRASH!’

This is the comic book aesthetic viewed so fondly in retrospectives of those formative, younger years. Colourful garb and improbable science dominated those moments in the school yard in between those regularly scheduled beatings from the schoolyard bullies.

Such sentimental attachment brings a welling of emotion from within whenever there is a cinematic realisation of scenes previously locked in poses by the constraints of paper and ink — even in adaptations of source material that is otherwise … (read more)

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Dry Wood, Fierce Fire (2003)

This is a story set in a galaxy far, far away… just kidding but Dry Wood Fierce Fire does share certain similarities with the aforementioned epic. Thankfully just a small amount – there’s a love story arc in both.

In this case, it’s Alice, your typical small time journalist with chinese-herbalist and martial arts baggage (Miriam Yeung) pining for her editor Ryan (Louis Koo), the romantic comedy’s archetypal specimen of manhood. Tall, dark and handsome …with low blood pressure. (Those … (read more)

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The White Dragon (2004)

White Dragon holds promising individual components, but implements them in such an ordinary way that the result is tragedy, of the unintentional kind.

Cecilia Cheung stars, returning to the petulant drama queen role she tends to fall back on regularly to pay the bills. Her character Hei Fung (aka Little White Dragon) is an immature self-centred brat who obviously grows up a little over the course of the film by coming into contact with Francis Ng’s Chicken Feathers, the tragically … (read more)

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