Blog Archives

Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (2018)

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The Ip Man film scene has become a crowded sub-genre over the last decade and a bit. Although the four numbered titles directed by Wilson Yip and starring Donnie Yen are the most well-known, there are also the alternate takes on the historical figure in Ip Man: The Legend is Born, Ip Man: Kung Fu Master and Ip Man: The Final Fight plus Wong Kar Wai’s spin on the legend in The Grandmaster. There‚Äôs also a 2013 TV … (read more)

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Call of Heroes (2016)

Feel the call of the hero. At least try — the movie really wants you to. Alas, the basic setup of Call of Heroes is a tense, action-packed opportunity gone begging. It’s not bad, just frustratingly less than it could have been.

We enter the story at ground level with teacher Miss Bai (Jiang Shu Ying), as she chaperones a group of children from the decimated Stone City to the town of Pucheng. Stopping at an inn, they witness a … (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 Wrath of Vajra (2013)

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Slick-looking and super-masculine, The Wrath of Vajra feels like a “fight movie” from a much earlier time, supplemented with mostly modern production and cinematography. A time when men were men and fought each other for reasons that were delivered in an early barrage of impenetrable exposition, getting it over with at the start so that we can get on with the kicks and punches.

The setting is the 1940s, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the Japanese are finding that … (read more)

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