Saturday, December 31, 2011

Movie Review “Ip Man 2”

Donnie Yen as Ip Man
Sammo Hung as Master Hong Zhen Nan
Lynn Hung as Zhang Yong Cheng
Xiaoming Huang as Wong Shun Leung
Darren Shahlavi as Twister

Short Story Summary: The continued story of Ip Man, the legendary master of Wing Chun.

Story:(9/10) Though not quite as good as the first, the film makers once again craft an excellent story around the Wing Chun master Ip Man. The story picks up where the other film left off with Ip man and his family going to Hong Kong. This is a very well-paced movie that grabs you and holds on till the ending credits. There is really nothing I can find wrong with this film’s story. I will also say that this has one of the greatest , most unexpected endings I have ever seen. Any one who has saw it will know what I am talking about.

Characters/Cast:(10/10) This section gets a ten out of ten for the lone reason that they had
both Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung in the same movie, how awesome is that? Donnie Yen
once again once again does a great job playing as the wise master Ip man and Sammo Hung
is great as the half villain, half hero Master Hong. You will see a lot of recognizable faces from
the first film. Lynn Hung returns as Ip Man’s wife, Fan Siu-Wong also returns as Jin Shan Zhao, and a few others appear that you may recognize. The main villain Twister, a boxer from Europe, is played very well by Darren Shaahlavi. Trust me when I say that you will hate Twister by the end of this movie. One of the other new characters they introduce in the movie is a guy named Leung, who near the beginning of the film challenges Ip man to a fight to learn Wing Chun. He is a good addition to the cast and the interaction between him and Ip Man is fun to watch. Once again, I am unable to say anything bad about the characters or cast.

Fights:(10/10) The fights are once again has well-choreographed and entertaining fights. The
main thing I like to talk about in this section is the final fight between Ip Man and Twister. This fight, to me, was much better than the ending fight from the first film. The way they build up this fight really gets you anxious to see it and when you finally do, it will blow you away. To put into perspective how great this fight was, I was actually cheering out loud (Which I don’t usually do) for Ip Man to stomp this guy into the ground. The other stand out fight in this movie is Ip Man versus Master Hung. Just seeing these two fight was great to see and the fight was really well choreographed (though it did use a bit too many wires in places). The rest of the fights are good, but the final definitely takes the cake.

Music:(10/10) Like most of the other things about this movie, the music is great.

Graphics/Sets:(8/10) Not really anything new in terms of the graphics or the sets. That is not to say they’re bad, it is just that I did not really see anything that can distinguish it from the other film. The one really interesting set was the area where Ip Man fought the masters for the right to be one. It is kind of interesting that they fought on a table top.

Conclusion: This movie is every bit as good as the first and is a must see for anyone that even remotely likes these types of movies. I highly recommend it, give it a shot.

Movie Review “Battle of the Warriors”

Andy Lau as Ge LI
BingBing Fan as Yi Yue
Si Won Choi as Prince Liang Shi
Zhiwen Wang as King of Liang
Sung-Kee Ahn as the Zhao Commander
Nicky Wu as Zituan

Short Story Summary: A warrior named Ge LI arrives at a small city called Liang to defend it from the invading Zhao army.

Story:(6/10) The story was fine and easy to follow, but it is hard to describe without entering spoiler territory. I will say it takes the themes of love, war, honor, values, fear, and revenge and weaves them into a very tragic tale. This is not a feel-good movie that you will walk away from with a positive out look. Basically nothing good happens in this movie: People lose love ones, they are betrayed, and you will have a hard time deciding who is really good bad. It probably would be good idea to keep the anti-depressants around while viewing this film.

Characters/Cast:(8/10) The cast and characters were, overall, pretty decent. Andy Lau does an okay job as Ge Li, but the ones that stole the show to me were BingBing Fan and Nicky Wu. Their characters are so likeable, that they single handedly kept me watching this movie. Without them the score would have been a lot lower, as I found most of the other characters to either be unlikeable or bland. The only other character that was close to descent was the prince, but he could off as winey. Not the best Cast or characters I have seen( except for the few I talked about).

Fights:(4/10) This is where the movie really suffers and nearly kills the movie. There are very few one-on-one fighting and the ones that are there are not really fun to watch. Even the battle scenes are not that interesting to watch and are mostly just exchanges of arrows back and forth. The final fight is boring and forgettable and is will be a letdown for anyone who watches the whole move looking forward to at least seeing a descent showdown between the hero and villain. There are many movies that do what this film tries to do, but they do it much better.

Music:(10/10). I actually, before writing this review, went online and listened to the music of this film, so I could judge it on its own merits. I have to say that this is probably the best part of the movie. I am not at all an expert at music, but I know when I hear something I like and I though this music was well done.

Graphics/Sets:(6/10) The sets were not really that great considering it was mostly set in the desert. If the movie was better it would not have been a problem, as many good movies have been set inthis kind of environment. I was happy the few times they decide to enter a forest area and it was a nice change of pace. The graphics where fine, nothing special mind you, just the regular battle effects you see in other films.

Conclusion: I though this movie was not really that good and I can’t see myself recommending it to anyone. I would suggest skipping this one if I where you.

Movie Review “Ip Man”

Donnie Yen as Ip Man (Pronounced Yip Man)

Short Story Summary: A story about Ip Man, the first master of Wing Chun and the master of the legendary Bruce Lee.

Story:(10/10) The story was really well written and easy to follow. I did not once get confused or bored while watching this movie. As always, I don’t want to spoil anything, so I will just say that it was a great tale of struggle and patriotism in World War II.

Characters/Cast:(9/10) The cast of this movie was very good and they fit their parts perfectly. Donnie Yen as Ip Man was a great choice. He played the part perfectly and this movie really shows off his acting and fighting skills. Hiroyuki Ikeuchi did a fine job as the villain, General Miura. I found his character to be complex, in that, although he was obviously evil, he also seemed to have a deep sense of honor. This made him better than a one dimensional character. Lynn Hung did a fine job as Ip Man’s wife. She was a another deep character. Although she wanted to support Ip Man’s martial arts, she felt that it was causing him to neglect his family. Their chemistry is spot-on and they play off each other well. The rest of the cast is good and help to fill out the world.

Fights:(8/10) I have seen few movies were every fight is entertaining and well-choreographed. One of the fights that really stood out was when Ip Man fought ten Japanese fighters. It actually brought a smile to my face with how cool it was. The one fight that I though could have been better was the last one involving Ip Man and General Miura. Although it was good, I felt that it could have been longer. It was over about as fast as it started, but this did not really take away from the entertainment of the fight.

Music:(10/10) Like everything else, the music was good.

Graphics/Set:(10/10)The sets in this movie were really good. It was great to see the transition of the city from a lively and prosperous to sad and in a state of decline. One set that was really interesting was the cotton plant. It seemed that it was being used to show that even in a place of despair, there is a place of hope and light (I am most likely over thinking this, but that is the way it seemed to me). Now, about the graphics in the movie. The blood effects in the movie were well done and were only used when necessary. Another effect that was well done was the breaking of bones during fights. It was really well done and showed the furious nature of the fighter’s attacks.

Conclusion: It may seem that I am over glorifying this movie, but it really is that good. It is an instant classic and should be watched by anyone that is a fan of martial art movies. Give it a try, you want be disappointed.

Movie Review “Hero”

Jet LI as Nameless
Tony Leung as Broken Sword
Maggie Cheung as Flying Snow
Donnie Yen as Sky

Short Story summary: A nameless warrior is summoned to meet the king of the Qin State to tell the story of how he defeated three feared assassins.

(Note: I will be judging movies on five aspects: story, characters/cast, fights, music, and graphics. I will rate each from 1 to 10 and I will give a short explanation for my choice of rating.)

Story: (6/10) I don’t want to spoil any of the story, so I will be brief with this part. I felt that the story was interesting, but the way they went about telling it could have been better. Certain developments in the plot seem to come from nowhere and I can see someone getting confused real quick. Another thing that bothered me about the story was the ending. I don’t know why it bothered me, but I just didn’t like it that much. One thing that I did like about the story was the point that they were trying to get across to the viewer. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that it has to do with doing what is best for the greater good.

Characters/Cast(8/10) The cast and the characters they played were all top-notch. Jet LI does well as Nameless and believe that this is one of the most complex characters he has played. His character’s ambitions changes several times throughout the movie and the transitions are believable. Donnie Yen is as great as ever as Sky, but I felt that he was underused in this movie. He is only seen a few times in the movie, which I feel is a shame. He is a great actor and fighter and I think his character should have had more screen time. Last, but not least, is Ton Leung and Maggie Cheung. I though they did a really good job as Broken Sword and Flying Snow respectfully. I thought they had great chemistry and they also worked well in combination with Jet Li’s character. All the other characters in the movie were good. I did not see any that I did not like and I believe that is one of the reasons that I was able to get into the movie, despite the mess the story could be sometimes. The only reason that the characters got an 8 instead of a 10 was the small role they gave Donnie Yen, but otherwise a really good line up.

Fights :(7/10) This is one of the parts I did not really like that much. I am not a real big fan of Wukia style fighting. It is OK, but I just can’t get into it. This movie did have a few fights I was interesting in. One was the fight between Jet Li and Donnie Yen, which was great to see. It could have been a bit longer, but it was fun to watch anyways. The second fight was Nameless and Flying Snow Versus the Qin Army. This fight was really entertaining to watch. The best part was when the army released a volley of arrows and nameless and Flying Snow use graceful techniques to dispatch every one of the arrows. I also liked the fight between Broken Sword and Flying Snow versus the Qin army. This fight between the two assassin’s and the Qin army was not very long, but it’s something that was great to watch. With shields and weapons being busted and a trail of bodies, this is the best fight to me next to the battle between Nameless and Flying Snow and the Qin army. The last fight I like to talk about is between Flying Snow and Moon. This fight its self is not that great, but the way the film makers integrate the environment into the fight is great, I will talk about it more when I get to the graphics section of my review.

Music:(8/10) I can’t remember much about the music, but it seemed okay and helped set the mood the film was going for.

Graphics :(10/10) This movie is awesome to look at. With the ever changing environments like the Lake, desert, palace, and my favorite the field of trees(which I will talk about in a minute) it is really nice to look out. Now about the field of trees, I am having a difficult time describing how great it was. To really understand how great it is, it is the setting for the fight between Flying Snow and Moon (I hope I have the right character). The fight is ok, but it is really the setting that steals the show. With the twirling leaves and the way the leaves change color at the end of the fight is great. You have to check it out.

Conclusion: The story can be confusing, but the characters, graphics, and a few great fights more than make up for it. I would recommend checking it out.