Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ip Man 2 Take 2

I saw three films at the Asian Movie Madness series at the 4 Star in June.

Iron Fan and Magic Sword; Mandarin with subtitles; (1971)
Ip Man 2 starring Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung; directed by Wilson Yip; Cantonese with subtitles; (2010) - Official Website
Tiger Cage 2 starring Donnie Yen; directed by Woo-ping Yuen; Cantonese with subtitles; (1990)


I'll be honest and say I can't clearly remember Iron Fan and Magic Sword. I may be confusing parts of Deaf Mute Heroine (which I saw in May) with Iron Fan and Magic Sword.

Instead of a deaf and mute heroine, Iron Fan and Magic Sword features a blind heroine. Wait a second, was she blind? Her mentor was killed and she had these iron fans that she used as a shield. I think the magic sword belonged to her late father who was murdered. I remember a battle scene on the beach and another at a grave or something.

Let's just say I have forgotten most of Iron Fan and Magic Sword in less than a month and leave it at that.


I saw Ip Man 2 at the 2010 Chinese American Film Festival at the 4 Star in November 2010. As they seem to do every year, the 4 Star screened a Chinese language film without subtitles. In 2010, the film was Ip Man 2. I sat through the film because I had enjoyed Ip Man and wanted to see the sequel. At the time, I didn't think I missed much due to the lack of subtitles but there were a few scenes I wanted translated.

What did I gain by seeing Ip Man 2 with subtitles. Sammo Hung's character dies from asthma and not a heart attack which I would have assumed give Sammo's girth. Sammo is packing a huge spare tire around his gut and this is the second film I have seen where he is a kung fu master and 50 pounds overweight. It's laughable to see Sammo doing his kung fu moves in the shape he is.

Also, I thought Ip Man (Donnie Yen) and Sammo's character had some profound conversation before Sammo is beaten to death by the English boxer. Instead, Ip Man simply suggests that Sammo attack the boxer's mid-section. Later, while being pummeled by the boxer, Sammo returns to Ip Man in a hallucination and suggests he attack the mid-section which Ip Man does and eventually leads to his victory.

Despite these underwhelming insights provided by subtitling; Ip Man 2 is the best film so far in the Asian Movie Madness series.


Ip Man 2 was the second half of a Donnie Yen double feature. The first film that evening was Tiger Cage 2. Before re-watching Ip Man 2, I said Tiger Cage 2 was the best film in the Asian Movie Madness series. Now I say it is the second best but not by much.

In Tiger Cage 2, Donnie Yen plays a cop (or ex-cop) who is getting divorced. His wife's lawyer or the divorce arbitrator witnesses a murder and Yen is the prime suspect. Eventually, the two of them are on the run from the law while trying to find the real killers. Rosamund Kwan plays the lawyer and is for the most part a whiny pain in the ass.

The film has some nice action sequences as David Wu shows up as a third wheel. The climax of the film is quite good. Yen has to face three bad guys in a row - white guy John Salvitti in a hellacious sword fight, black guy Michael Woods in something like an MMA bout crossed with a WWE match and finally Chinese guy Robin Shou in a running battle from an office to a warehouse.

I'm becoming a Donnie Yen fan and Tiger Cage 2 only reinforces my opinion of Yen. I'd like to see Tiger Cage which also starred Jacky Cheung & Simon Yam.

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