Reviews written by Jackyvoe
Ip Man 2 (2010) (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)(3)Our Price: US$10.99January 8, 2011 Good sequel despite deviating from the first
While the first movie was about fighting against tyranny, this one takes on a "Rocky" sequel approach where it's about fighting against bullies. It's very noticeably different in tone, and some people may not like that, but Ip Man 2 still manages to be an engaging story.
Ip Man and his family are still living in poverty, and when he tries to open up a new martial arts school, finds that the community is overrun with corruption where martial arts teacher encourage street fighting and extort money.
Aside from some very well choreographed action scenes, the movie also showcases an interesting rivalry/friendship between Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung. Although they are hostile at first, they slowly learn to respect each other.
Simon Yam sadly gets diminished when it's revealed something bad happened to his character in between movies. It wasn't needed. He sort of gets back on track later in the movie, but his character direction cost the movie a point.
Where the movie gets silly is when it introduces Darren Shalavi as the villain. He's a stereotypically loud, racist, and ignorant villain who's pretty much waiting to be taught a lesson. Darren laughably overacts his role and it becomes hard to take the movie seriously until Donnie finally punches him.
Darren does have the privilege of fighting both Sammo and Donnie, and they're good fight scenes. It's a great showcase of strength and conditioning vs. skill and endurance.
All in all despite Darren, Ip Man 2 is enjoyable.
Bodyguards And Assassins (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Bodyguards And Assassins (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3(8)Our Price: US$10.991 people found this review helpful
January 8, 2011 Very good and exciting historical drama
This was an ambitious project that accomplished what it set out to do. Great direction, a cast that does a very good job, and a very good story about redemption and fighting for what you believe in.
The unfortunate thing about this movie is how it was marketed as a non-stop action film starring Donnie Yen and it isn't. It was a drama first and foremost, and saved the action for when it was necessary.
This is an ensemble piece where every actor is important. Tony Leung Kai-Fai is very good as the man who helps orchestrate Sun Yat Sen's protection, and Nicholas Tse is very endearing as a young man who finds himself caring for this cause. Donnie Yen also plays a good supporting role as a has-been soldier who abandoned his family and finds a chance at righting past wrongs.
One particular stand-out is Leon Lai, who after being shown living on hard times, joins the cause. He has a fight scene in which he defeats several assassins with a giant iron fan.
This movie is best enjoyed as a drama. The action scenes are also dramatic and serve to move the story forward. All in all, everything is done well, and the movie is one of the best of it's year.
Legend Of The Fist - The Return Of Chen Zhen (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)(4)Our Price: US$10.99January 8, 2011 What should have been fun wasn't
Ip Man was an uplifting movie that showed how the spirit of martial arts and national pride overcame oppression from the Japanese military. Legend of The Fist on the other hand is an ugly, mean spirited mess.
A historical drama like Farewell My Concubine or John Rabe is suited for dealing with heavy subject matter like the Japanese occupation of China. Not a movie marketed as a martial arts extravaganza. Especially when the first action scene shows Donnie Yen defeating German Soldiers like a superhero.
And the superhero sequences do not mesh with the overly serious scenes. Every time the movie focusses on the crimes the Japanese army commits, or the traitorous behavior of other characters, it doesn't matter what kind of action scenes take place latter. Sure, there are some good fights in the movie. But they lose all credibility because of what surrounds them.
One of the main characters even has a sister who gets raped just to tastelessly move the plot forward and motivate revenge. Even after Donnie Yen takes action throughout the movie, he has nothing but hollow victories to look forward to.
If Ip Man could be a good drama with appropriately placed action scenes, why not this movie?
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