Ever since I watched and reviewed Ip Man 2 awhile back, I’ve been left with a distinct lack of martial arts movies in my life.
Sure, The Expendables had some pretty impressive fights in it, but nowhere near the standards of your average high-profile Hong Kong production.
That being said, in addition to Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen’s Ip Man 2, 2010 saw the release of yet another semi-historical film based around the life of Wing Chun Grandmaster Ip Man, entitled The Legend is Born: Ip Man.
Directed by the decidedly “meh” Herman Yau, the story follows Ip Man in his earlier days, when he was actually learning Wing Chun, yet by stories’ end, we are of course treated to a scene or 2 of Master Ip busting some Japanese heads.
Let it be known, the Chinese have never been shy about promoting nationalism via beating the piss out of the foreign devils.
Despite how silly it may seem at times, I’ve always kind of admired that about Chinese films, as such expressions of patriotism are often met with feelings of cynicism here in the states.
Also, I think we can all agree that any excuse that allows the Chinese to make films about people hitting each other is always a good thing.
Anyway, despite fair to middling reviews, I’m thinking about giving The Legend is Born a shot.
The film has a strong cast including the always brilliant Yuen Biao, as well as an alarming number of actors that were previously featured in Wilson Yip’s own Ip Man franchise.
For those that don’t remember, Dennis To just happens to be the same actor that played Kei, Sammo Hung’s Hung Gar protege in Ip Man 2.
Interestingly enough, he also happens to be a real-life practitioner of Wing Chun, making him well-suited, at least physically, to play a young Ip Man.
Makes you wonder though, why was a Wing Chun disciplined screen-fighter cast as a Hung Gar student?…
Regardless, I wasn’t all that impressed with Dennis To’s physical performance in Ip Man 2, however I’m willing to concede that he may have been held back by his character’s fairly weak standing in the cast, as well as the fact that every fight he was in he was required to lose, or worse yet, make pop stars like Huang Xiaoming look good.
He also lacked screen presence in Ip Man 2, but once again, that might’ve had more to do with the restrictions of the script than anything else.
I’m sure his acting is shit, but that’s to be expected from all but absolute cream of the crop in terms of screen fighters.
Whatever the case, I was legitimately impressed by the sparring featured in the trailer, and that’s largely the reason for my interest in this film:
I’ll probably be ordering this one in the next few days, hopefully a spirited review is to follow shortly!
Here’s hoping this one doesn’t suck donkey balls.