Saturday, May 1, 2010

Weekend Dilemma

Q: Do I watch Ip Man 2 or Iron Man 2?
A: Yes.

Donnie Yen is no Tony Leung and knows it. To his credit, he doesn't merely sleepwalk through the bits where he has to emote, instead providing a competent performance as Ip Man the family man, Ip Man the faithful friend and Ip Man the Champion of the Chinese. The latter, of course, is the most convincing, but I shouldn’t be postulating because I don't know what Ip Man the (actual) man was like.


I shouldn't pretend to be a film analyst either, but Sammo Hung has come a long way from the days of performing kung fu slapstick with Jackie Chan. He, like Simon Yam, is probably one of the most underrated actors of their generation. Sidelined from leading roles due to their lack of matinee idol looks, they spent their time in the shadows cultivating subtle nuances that make their characters memorable despite the relative lack of screen time.

Of course, Hung is always memorable thanks to his prodigious girth (oh yes, I said it).

True to the 1950's style characterization, the villainous Brits are stereotypical caricatures. Enfant Terrible and I couldn't get over how carefully "English" their enunciation was. In fact, they took such pains to sound English; we were convinced they weren't English at all.

Darren Shahlavi (of Iranian-British descent), touted by director Wilson Yip as "a martial artist who has been a fan of Donnie Yen", was interesting – his character brims, no, seethes with barely repressed homosexuality and seems completely incapable of using his indoor voice. I understand he's called "The Twister" as in "a tornado", but he really should've been named "The Tantrum".

However, I commend him for his ability to sneer and snarl without getting any face cramps, and the ability to make his veins pop without any apparent strain.

(This man manages to look both baffled and angry in most of his scenes)

The action scenes were what the crowd came for, and they were certainly worth the ticket price. It may sound like contradictory when I say the first Ip Man movie was better, but that's only because it was so awesome. This sequel, which was pretty awesome in its own right, thus pales in comparison beside it.

Trivia pulled from Wikipedia says Hung underwent cardiac surgery prior to principal filming. He apparently plans to "challenge" Yen in subsequent films because their duels in IM2 were restrained by the script. I'd buy tickets to that.

When I told her about the trailer, my mother she say: aiyah, when they're fighting they only film them from the waist up lah! My mother, she was totally right.

In the meantime, I'll be practicing that signature pigeon-toed shuffle. You know the one I mean.

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