Azn Badger's Blog

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A Tribute to the Greatness that is Donnie Yen: Part IV – The Real Donnie Yen

A funny thing happened in the 2000’s.

Jackie Chan got old.

Jet Li was tied up doing movies with rappers.

Guess who stepped forward into the spotlight?

Close, but not quite.

That’s right, Donnie Yen, and he was bringing the sexy back!

2005 marked the first collaboration between Donnie Yen and Bio Zombie director Wilson Yip.

The film was called Sha Po Lang, (S.P.L.) and it kicked some serious ass.

See that baton? It's goin' right up your ass.

In the late-90’s one of my brother’s videophile friends screened for me a laser disc of John Woo’s The Killer.

With Jackie Chan having just become the next big thing in the states with the domestic release of Rumble in the Bronx, the climate was just right for me to get into Hong Kong cop and robber movies.

Needless to say, Tiger Cage, Hard Boiled and Beast Cops were old hat in my book by the time I was in high school.

SPL was a throwback to the Hong Kong “hard boiled cop” movies of the 80’s and 90’s, and it accomplished what very few Donnie Yen films had done before it.

With a star studded cast including the likes of Sammo Hung and Simon Yam, SPL presented us with an emotional and dramatic story, populated with characters we cared about, and did it all with a smaller than expected dose of action.

However nobody said that what fighting was there wasn’t some of the best of Mr. Yen’s career.

This brutal fight, between Donnie Yen and, then, up-and-comer Wu Jing, is what I proudly refer to as “The Best Weapon-Based Fight Scene of All Time.”

No fooling, I’ve watched it dozens of times and I’ve never once felt any doubt in my sentiments.

I love how you can read the intent behind every move in the fight just by looking at the intensity in both men’s facial expressions.

I love how the pace of the choreography has a natural and realistic sense of progression and crescendo to it.

I love the energy of the camera work and how it darts in and out like a fencer on the sidelines, hinting to us the perceived openings in each man’s guard from each fighter’s perspective.

I love this movie, and I’m glad it was the one that finally introduced me to the real Donnie Yen.

It was well worth the wait.

Check back for “Part V – All Hail Emperor Yen!”

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Tribute to the Greatness that is Donnie Yen: Part III – My Relationship with Mr. Yen

I first ran across Donnie Yen in 2001.

I had just purchased Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: All-Out Monster Attack on DVD from a mail-order bootleg service.

While the movie itself was great, (leading up to this I was suffering from post-Gamera trilogy Shusuke Kaneko withdrawals) there was an Easter egg on the disc menu (just click on Godzilla’s eye!)that included a number of trailers for upcoming Japanese films.

The first few were for older Godzilla movies that were finally seeing DVD release.

'Bout mother fuckin' time!

The last few however, were some of the coolest trailers I had seen up until then:

Ichi the Killer

and Shura Yuki Hime (2001)

I like the guy with the Fozzie Bear ears at 1:06 in the Ichi the Killer trailer. He’s silly.

Okay, now picture what it’s like seeing those for the first time when you’re a bloodthirsty 14 year old boy who’s only just starting to identify with his racial background.

I watched those trailers more than I watched that Godzilla movie.

And I loves me some Godzilla.

While neither of these movies were all that good in my opinion, (remember, I’m not a Miike fan) I was very impressed by the fight scenes in Shura Yuki Hime.

While he wasn’t in the film, after watching the trailer for Shura Yuki Hime so many times, my limited katakana comprehension at the time allowed me to read at :46 into it, that the “Akushon Direkuta” of the film was “Doni Iiyen.”

That’s Donnie Yen to you an me. Well, me anyway.

Unfortunately, the bootleg service I used only specialized in Japanese films at the time, with only a limited number of Chinese ones, leaving me with no real way of getting a hold of any Donnie Yen films.

Then I discovered that Donnie Yen had been featured in a number of American films.

I promptly looked them up and was treated to stuff like this:

… and Donnie Yen being mysteriously killed, OFF CAMERA, in Blade II.

Needless to say, I felt cheated.

In almost 4 years of searching, I was only able to see Donnie Yen in Iron Monkey, 3 shitty American films, and I guess if you get technical about it, I got to see his choreography in Shura Yuki Hime and Onimusha 3.

Where was all the good stuff?

Almost forgot... In his pants.

I figure you guys are a little sick of having Donnie Yen’s man-package thrust in your faces every day, so I think I’ll give you a reprieve tomorrow.

Check back the day after next for “Part IV – The Real Donnie Yen!”

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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