Media Update 9/29/2016


Ip Man

This movie has been recommended to me more times than I can count. It has not been recommended by any actual humans but computer algorithms have waved it in my face repeatedly. Since it was made in 2008, IP Man has become incredibly popular and it spawned three sequels which I will probably eventually see. The movie is an adaptation of the real-life martial artist Yip Man who was a legendary practitioner of Wing Chun. You might remember Wing Chun from when I reviewed the movie Wing Chung (1994). It is a Chinese martial art that has unknown origins but we know Yip Man did not create it. What Yip Man did do is teach a lot of people Wing Chun including the equally legendary Bruce Lee. The movie follows a fictionalized account of the man in question surviving during the second Sino-Japanese War which eventually was part of World War II. He was recognized as the best martial artist in Foshan before it was occupied by the Japanese. It is a great good vs. evil story where the invading Japanese are portrayed as oppressive monsters. Donnie Yeng plays Ip man (name changed to protect the real person, I assume) and there is a fire in him that burns hot when he sees injustice. The movie starts slow but picks up before the second act kicks in and then never really lets up which I think is good. Before I knew it, the movie two-thirds over. I definitely recommend it, especially for the awesome Chinese and Japanese martial arts styles.


Flash Point

After I enjoyed Ip Man, I just had to look up Donnie Yen and see what he was about. He’s apparently the next big thing in Hong Kong action and martial arts and I wanted to check out more of his stuff. Luckily, there was another film on Netflix that teamed up Donnie Yen with the director of Ip Man, Wilson Yip. Yip (not to be confused with Yip Man) has a great eye and clearly can coax good performances out of his actors. In this movie, we get to see a different Donnie Yen. In Ip Man he played a calm, quietly suffering martial arts master. In this movie, he plays a hot-blooded cop who plays fast and loose with the rules. It was so interesting to see him taking on a different kind of role so soon after watching Ip Man. The styles of martial arts he uses are even different. Instead of the legendary Wing Chun, he uses what looks like a hybrid style of all of the different martial arts Yen knows. His style is dirtier in this film but definitely not sloppier. Also, in true Hong Kong action style, there is a lot of great gunplay and they do some interesting things by pushing the envelope with firearms. I like these Hong Kong movies that show a hero (or heroes) taking on organized crime. It reminds me of movies like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon where the heroes have little chance but beat the odds anyway. The whole movie is driven by a great score that pulls the action along at a killer pace. When there is no action on screen, the police drama simmers like everything is about to explode. It was a little hard to follow at first but that is par for the course with foreign subtitled movies that move as quick as this one does. I definitely recommend it.


Kung Fu Killer

After watching Ip Man and Flash Point, I was interested in watching ¬†something that Wilson Yip did not direct but Donnie Yen starred in. This is the most recent movie I watched this week and it definitely showed right away. Of all the movies here, it had the highest production values as they definitely spent their money liberally to make more of a blockbuster here. Ip Man was supposed to somewhat portray actual history and Flash Point was a fairly grounded police drama. Here, they pulled out all of the stops with little concern about being realistic. The best way I can describe it is that it is The One and Red Dragon tossed into a blender. Here, Donnie Yen plays a man who has been arrested for murder. He agrees to help the police catch the titular Kung Fu Killer in return for his freedom. Yen’s character and the police track a sadistic killer using Yen’s martial arts mastery. The fights are excellent and there are a lot of brutal ones. Again, the fighting style is different as we see kung fu that is as much form as function. Every move is showy and a lot of moves are unnecessary to any practical combat. That sort of thing does not bother me as long as they keep up the aesthetic throughout and they do. I am still not used to some of the editing here as things move a little too quickly sometimes. It is also in Chinese which requires me to read all of the dialogue to follow the movie. It is something I can do but not something I like to do all the time. I guess the story was not compelling enough to hold my attention a hundred percent of the time. I still recommend it if you like martial arts movies.

Music of the Week:

Tove Lo – Cool Girl

Kane Mayfield – Hello!

Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?

Thrice – Black Honey

The New Breed – Jrifted

Weekly Update:
– I watched some of Bones Season 11 in an effort to catch up some
– I started Gotham season 2 and I like it
– I am finally done Supergirl Season 1. Yes, I am behind.
– This week’s theme is “Donnie Yen Fight!”
– I randomly watched another episode of From Dusk Till Dawn
– Halloween starts Saturday. Strap in!
– I watched a ton of Youtube stuff as well

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