Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Best Overkills in Movies: Honorable Mentions

The BFG 9000: A Classic Instrument of Overkill.

Hello all, I decided it would be a good idea to follow-up my list of the Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies with a short list of some of the kills that didn’t quite make the cut.

Hopefully this will preemptively kill some of the nasty comments or disagreements that no doubt will spawn from my choices of the Top 10…

Anyway, the first runner-up I’d like to mention, is one that I really regret omitting.

Said overkill, is Jet Li’s (surprisingly awesome) 2 on 1 handicap match against Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon 4:

Hah, I still can’t get over how Jet Li just can’t seem to get out of the way of Danny Glover’s girlie punches.
Anyway, outside of that; the fight was great.

This movie was one of the first DVD’s I ever bought.

Not only that, but it was crazy savage watching Jet Lit get impaled with a rebar and then shot to shit with an AK-47, especially considering the relatively tame nature of the violence in the Lethal Weapon series.

I especially love the part of this overkill where Mel Gibson picks up Jet Li via the rusty-ass rebar sticking through his midsection.

*Sigh* The only reason this overkill didn’t make the Top 10, was because of fuckin’ Bonnie and Clyde.

You stylish fucks...

Despite not giving 2 shits about Bonnie and Clyde, I couldn’t help but pay tribute to it’s place in history by giving it a spot on the list somewhere.

Fuckin’ conscience, not letting me make cool lists for the sake of coolness…

Anyway, the second runner-up I’d like to mention, is a scene from a movie that, like Bonnie and Clyde, I have not seen.

The movie in question, is the French film, Irreversible:

Be mindful that this sequence is extrememly graphic and should not be viewed by those with weak stomachs.

LAST WARNING, CLICK HERE

I discovered this film, and in particular, this scene; several years ago when I was browsing the web for the “most violent movies.”

Gimme’ a break, I was like 15 at the time…

Anyway, after watching this scene, and reading some reviews of the film, I came to the conclusion that, while the film is very provocative on many levels, it’s not something I really have all that much desire to see.

I’m sorry, but when reviews for a movie cite a rape sequence as being “the most brutal and realist committed to film,” it’s kind of a turn-off.

Honestly, I think my conscience kept me from posting this as one of the Top 10, as it’s simply too brutal to have a place in a Top 10 list on what is supposed to be a fun and entertaining blog.

Next up is yet another Steven Seagal overkill, this time in the form of his famous dismantling of an (almost) young Tommy Lee Jones in Under Siege:

Man, that has gotta’ be one of the best knife fights in movie history…

Anyway, fight-gasm aside, this scene doesn’t really qualify as an overkill in my book.

Sure, the fight is of decent length, and the actual kill has a lot of flesh-wounds building up to it, but for the most part, this is just a standard action movie life-or-death fight.

A fight with stabbing, eye-gouging, and someone getting their head put through a computer monitor….

Okay fine, it’s not just a fight, it’s a Steven Seagal fight, but a fight nonetheless.

Last, but not least, no mention of overkill can be made without mentioning the so-bad-it’s-good kung fu movie, Riki-Oh, a live-action Chinese adaptation of a Japanese manga starring a very young (and buff) Fan Siu Wong.

In short, the final fight in the movie takes the rampant gore and bloodletting of all the previous violent episodes in the film, and puts them to shame:

While this is a superb overkill, an indeed probably the bloodiest I’ve mentioned, I told myself from the outset of things that I was going to omit Riki-Oh, most horror films, as well as any animated films from the list.

I did this to maintain some sense of order and equilibrium on the list, as most of what I decided to exclude from the list are overkills that are exceedingly bloody, and entertaining to bood, but not really worthy of being considered among “the best.”

I also consciously left out the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

Mostly because I don’t care much for Monty Python, but also because that scene was played for laughs, and didn’t really gel with the other entries in the Top 10.

Oh fine, I’ll embed the clip for you…

I just don’t get it…

Also, technically that wasn’t an overkill, as the Black Knight never actually died.
Anyway, off the top of my head, that’s all I got.

It needs to be said however, that the “ice” kill in Van Damme’s Timecop,

The "ice" kill in question. Sorry, no clip available...

as well as just about any fight from Hokuto No Ken (Fist of the North Star) deserve special mention, as does the theater death scene of a certain fascistic monarch in Inglourious Basterds.

Advertisements

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies, #5: Out For Justice

Really, how could we have a discussion about overkill without mentioning Steven Seagal?

Seriously, half of the man’s success as an action star stemmed from his propensity for protracted, and gloriously savage kill sessions at the end of his earlier (and better) movies.

Almost makes you forget that he runs like a feeb:

Hell, I bet half of you didn’t even know he could run.

Anyway, as #5 on our list of the Top 10  Best Overkills in Movies; it needn’t be mentioned that the end fight of Out For Justice is a truly exceptional overkill; even by Seagal-ian standards:

The overkill in question takes place during the climactic confrontation between Seagal’s Gino Felino, and a massively bloated William Forsythe’s Richie Madano.

Honestly man, I don’t know what the fuck was up with Forsythe in this movie, as I can’t really recall having seen him in anything earlier than this movie, but Jesus-fuck he was HUGE.

Goddamn! Even his head is fat!

Anyway, this particular overkill gets brownie points due to dramatic tension between the 2 characters.

Did I really just use the phrase “dramatic tension” in regards to a Seagal movie?

What I mean to say, is that the whole movie is essentially about Seagal chasing Forsythe, who killed the former’s partner and is otherwise guilty of being a crackhead, a homicidal maniac, and for being fucking HUGE when his character is supposed to be on the crack.

Pictured: The APPROPRIATE appearance of a crackhead.

Things come to a head as Seagal finally catches up to Forsythe as the latter is living it up at a house party.

Casey-Fucking-Ryback, I mean, Steven Seagal; of course, crashes the party like the massive tool that he is, and manages to kill off Richie’s entire gang despite taking a nasty bullet to the gut.

Cracked out of his mind, Forsythe makes the rather foolish decision to march out into the open to greet Seagal, citing the fact that he is out of bullets, and thusly should be placed under arrest.

Don't worry, he's out of bullets. Hey, I said this was an "overkill," right?

Seagal?  Doing actual police work?

Not bloody likely!

Oh wait...

With the atmosphere in the room rife with the man-stank of impending physical conflict, Forsythe rushes Seagal, and the overkill officially begins.

As does Richie Madano’s lesson in futility.

Protip: Don’t try to fight Steven Seagal.

Or at the very least, thrown into a shit ton of hard surfaces and/or furniture.

With his prey laying in shambles on the floor, Seagal readies himself by spreading his arms and attempting to pinch a loaf right then and there.

Don't try an' tell me ain't Seagal's "droppin' a deuce" face.

Still reeling from the savagery of Seagal’s uber-savage aikido throw, Forsythe eventually manages to pick himself up and…

Attempts to bum-rush Seagal for the 2nd time in a row.

Despite the epic-savagery of the first aikido toss, the 2nd manages to top it in spades, as this time Forsythe’s spine gets a nasty readjustment via a conveniently placed nightstand.

On the side we also get a nice shot of the diaper/back pad that Forsythe was wearing for this scene, probably to keep from shitting himself in awe of the sheer epicry that was 1990’s Steven Seagal.

So let’s recap:

Forsythe: 0.  JUSTICE: 2.

Despite the odds being heavily stacked against him, to his credit; Forsythe manages to pull a fast one on ‘ole Stevie.

As Seagal is picking Forsythe up from the floor, presumably to prep him for another trip to Ikea hell; the fat man somehow summons the strength to send the both of them through the nearby hand-railing, and off the balcony!

Okay, maybe that wasn’t as epic as I made it out to be, but give me a break; this is just about the only successful attack Forsythe manages to pull off in this fight.

Scrambling to their feet, the 2 men once again lock-up and grapple with one another.

That is, only if you call Steven Seagal grabbing William Forsythe by the head and kneeing him in the face “grappling.”

He's actually trying to crush the guy's head like an egg, but turns out it was too fat.

Stunned, but not terribly injured, Forsythe stumbles back against the wall, and proceeds to totally lose his shit as he makes the meanest of mean faces and tosses a fuckin’ shelf at Seagal.

Now, based on what’s come before, what kind of shit do you think Forsythe tries to pull this time?

If you said, “low blow,” or “a steel chair shot,” then good for you, it show’s your thinking.

Unfortunately, you’d also be

’cause no, Forsythe tries to charge Seagal, for the third time in a row.

This of course, results in more aikido tossing and furniture realignment.

You can almost hear Forsythe shitting himself...

His face now covered in blood, Forsythe finally decides to change up his tactics a little, this time throwing a punch at Seagal.

This of course results in Seagal blocking said punch and returning it with a swift combination of punches, topped off by a tasty kick to the Jimmy.

Protip: DON’T try to fight Steven Seagal.

After a pretty savage stomp on the head, Forsythe somehow manages to reach up from the floor to thumb the shit out of Seagal’s gut wound from earlier in the movie.

Yeeouch! A fat thumb in his fat gut...

Despite the white-hot, searing pain that said sausage-thumb in his gut must bring him, Seagal summons all of his man-strength and grabs hold of Forsythe’s neck runs his ass backwards a few yards and into the kitchen.

Remember, NOBODY beats him in the kitchen.

After chucking Forsythe into a nearby table, Seagal once again readies himself with another impromptu giga-deuce.

Gonna' have to change those pants...

Thus begins the stage of the fight where Seagal’s opponent grows desperate and begins grabbing hold of whatever blunt instuments/bladed objects are readily available, only to have said weapons turned against them.

SAVAGELY.

Forsythe’s first attempt in using said tactic, is to grab hold of a kitchen knife, and start winging it around like a damn fool.

This of course results in Seagal grabbing hold of Forsythe’s arm, and wrenching his wrist out of place.

Funny, almost looks like he's tryin' to teach him how to use it or some shit...

With his wrist now considerably FUCKED, Forsythe’s next bid for victory employs the use of the deadliest of all kitchen utensils:

A pepper mill.

Despite the inherent intimidation factor involved in waving around a pepper mill, Forsythe once again fails to make any sort of contact with his attacks.

Disarming him, and knocking Forysthe’s fat ass to the floor AGAIN, Seagal follows this up by putting the obese fuck’s head through the nearest window.

Gettin' kinda' fucked up there, aren't yah' Forsythe?

Sliding down the windowsill, and back into the kitchen, Forsythe’s scrambles to his feet and grabs hold of Seagal’s sleeve, only to be clubbed over the head with, *GASP* the pepper mill!

Somehow, some way, Forsythe manages to survive the devastating blow from the pepper mill.

Forsythe’s next weapon of choice proves to a classic of kitchen warfare: a frying pan.

Unfortunately, he only really gets to swing it once before Seagal slips behind him, snatches the pan, and bashes the poor fat bastard over the head with it.

How the fuck does he keep gettin' up!?

Now, let it be known, Steven Seagal is not a punchy/kicky kind of guy.

As mentioned previously, his fighting generally consists of throwing people into things/people, but seldom does he ever find a need to throw a punch.

That being said, after the knife, pepper mill, and frying pan, Seagal get a little overconfident, and decides to uncork some of the wimpiest punches of his long career on Forsythe’s face.

It's like watching a fat old man try to Jazzercise or some shit...

Speaking of “uncork,” as Forsythe lies on the floor, chuckling at the fanciful display of feeble combination punching just unleashed on his face, he very slowly begins to make a move for a corkscrew/wine opener!

Shit just got real.

As Forsythe hobbles to his feet, muttering an ominous “fuck you,” we enter the grand finale of our #5 Best Overkill sequence.

With one deft move, Seagal evades Forsyth’s lunge with the corkscrew/wine opener; and promptly jams that fucker into the fat fuck’s face:

Yup, that'd do it.

Thus concludes our decidedly Seagal-ian overkill.

Oh yeah, it should also be noted that, moments after finally killing Forsythe, Seagal also takes the time to shoot the ever-loving-fuck out of the poor fattie’s dead body, ’cause you know; the plot.

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Villains of the Azn Badger’s Youth

I’m not going to lie, tonight’s post is not entirely my idea.

In fact, I’ve gone and ripped off the entire concept from someone else’s article that I read last night!

Said article was written by Todd Brown over at Twitchfilm.net.

The article was, of course; titled “Villains of My Youth,” within which Mr. Brown cites his 5 favorite/most influential childhood film villains.

In all, the article was devoid of flash, and totally straightforward, however I found it very interesting to read someone else’s thoughts on the subject.

Anyway, it got me thinking, and by the time I sat down to start writing tonight, I realized I wanted to borrow Mr. Brown’s idea, and type up my own version of it!

That being said, I apologize in advance to Twitchfilm.net, and Mr. Todd Brown, but afraid that I’ve gotta’ do what I’ve gotta’ do.

My 5 most influential villains, in no particular order; are:

Jenner the Rat, from The Secret of NIMH (1982)


When I was a kid, sword fighting was just about my favorite thing in the world besides Godzilla and dinosaurs.

While The Secret of NIMH was a wonderful film, that I watched all the time as a kid, but, in truth; half the reason I fucking watched it so much was to see Justin and Jenner’s sword fight at the very end of the movie.

While this sequence was the highlight of the movie for my 3-5 year old self, even back then Jenner stood out to me as not only a terrific villain, but a very poweful presence.

The scintillating timber of Paul Shenar’s (the Columbian dude that says “Don’t fuck me Tony” in Scarface) voice, coupled with Don Bluth’s superb attention to detail in the facial animation of the character, served to create an intense and visceral character, that, while lacking in screen time; certainly left an impression on me.

Remember when I said sword fights were my thing back in the day?

Well, my next favorite villain is:

Sir Guy of GisbourneThe Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)


The Adventures of Robin Hood was a movie I used to watch at a friend of my dad’s house.

My dad would drop me over there as a sort of daycare from time to time, and every single time I ended up watching 1 of the same 2 movies:

Rodan, and The Adventures of Robin Hood (colorized edition).

Now I gotta’ tell yah’, some of you might not know this about me, but as a kid, if I ever even considered watching something besides a Godzilla movie, that meant that movie was really fucking special to me.

Robin Hood, was really fucking special to me as a kid.

Though I loved the movie, and it’s treatment of the Merry Men as being, well, truly fucking Merry, Sir Guy always stood out to me as a tool among tools.

Back then I mistakenly referred to him as The Sheriff of Nottingham, but mistaken identity or not, half the reason I watched the fucking movie was to see his ass get stabbed.

The climactic sword battle at the end of the movie will always stick with me as one of my fondest childhood memories.

Seriously man, Basil Rathbone and the king of swashbuckling himself, Errol Flynn, go balls-out on each other in it.

Look it up, the choreography and execution hold up even to this day.

Next on my list of villains, is:

The BlobThe Blob (1988)


Holy fucking shit.

Let me remind you, that this list is comprised both of villains that I liked, and villains that influenced me as a child.

Well, in terms of villainous influences of my youth, The Blob pretty much takes the cake.

In short, The Blob scared the piss outta’ me.

As a kid, I had nightmares for years about amorphous blobs, and other such faceless monsters that wanted to eat me.

Now, you know what the really crazy part is?

I didn’t see the remake of The Blob until a few years ago!

No, I’m not a total pussy that wets the bed over monster movies to this day, (*Ahem!* Not that I ever did…) what I mean to say, is that I didn’t even have to see the movie for it’s title character to have a huge impression on me.

All I ever saw of the movie as a child, was the cover of the VHS.

Yup, that same cover that’s just a few lines above.

Excuse me, I’m going to go check my closet for monsters…

Next up is:

Marcus Penn – Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)

Fuck you, Steven Seagal’s movies are fucking AWESOME in just about the most AWESOME way.

By that I mean, they’re about as awesome as they are awesomely shitty.

Anyway, Under Siege 2 was the first R-rated film I ever got to see, and as such, I watched it an unhealthy amount of times in my youth.

Like the first Under Siege, 2 has the distinction of having a pair of villains that are simply too good for the movie itself.

That being said, Everett McGill’s portrayal of Marcus Penn AKA the silver-haired knife fighting dude, is a classic of film villainy, even going so far as to trump Eric Bogosian’s egotistical Travis Dane.

At least in my book.

McGill, holds a presence throughout the film, both figurative and physical, that is truly admirable.

Oh yeah, and the big knife fight at the end was bad-ass.

Last but not least, we have:

Megatron/GalvatronThe Transformers: The Movie (1986)

If anyone were to be at the top of this list, I’d say it would be these 2.

Transformers: The Movie, was a movie I watch literally every day of my early childhood.

My mother can attest to that, as she had to sit through it with me every day.

While I didn’t really get to see all that much of the Transformers cartoon as a kid, I was just a little bit too young; The Movie was just about my favorite thing in world as a kid.

As such, my understanding of the Transformers universe was largely derived from the first 2 seasons of the cartoon, and The Movie; that’s all.

Megatron was just about the most bad-ass villain I can remember.

For fuck’s sake, the man had his own laser gun sound effect and he turned into A FUCKING GUN.

He was tough, arguably more powerful than Optimus Prime, but more importantly, he demonstrated just how evil he was, time and time again.

Hell, during his one-on-one battle with Prime in The Movie, he goes so far as to feign a fair fight, only to cheat and break his own terms left and right.

Not only that, as Galvatron he kills a fuck-ton of high-profile characters, some of which are fellow Decepticons!

Megatron/Galvatron was one of the first villains ever presented to me in my lifetime, and to this day, he remains one of the strongest examples of the archetype that I have yet to encounter.

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Movie Review: Ip Man 2

*If all you care to read about is the fighting element of the movie, please scroll down to the heading titled “Action.”*

The Story So Far…

In 2008, Donnie Yen and director Wilson Yip teamed up for the 4th time to give us Ip Man.

Ip Man was of course the heavily fictionalized biographical account of the Wing Chun grandmaster of the same name.

Goofy lookin' little guy, isn't he?

Taking place in the martial arts hotspot of 1930’s Foshan, the film follows Donnie Yen’s Ip Man as he clashes with rival martial artists, and eventually comes to odds with the Japanese occupying forces.

By "comes to odds with," I mean, "beats the piss out of."

The film had an all-star cast including the likes of Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Fan Siu Wong, and up-and-comer Xing Yu.

Xing Yu: Punching Bag For the Stars

Featuring stunning fight choreography by industry legend Sammo Hung, the film was wildly successful, winning Hong Kong’s best picture and best action director awards.

In all, it was a truly great martial arts film, with intrinsic themes like pride and nationalism figuring heavily into the crowd pleasing nature of the story.

Plot Summary:

Ip Man 2 takes place in 1950, some years after the closing events of the previous film.

The story opens with Ip Man, having recently moved to Hong Kong with his family, desperately trying to eke out a living by teaching Wing Chun on a rooftop garden.

Despite posting flyers all over the neighborhood, Master Ip’s school remains empty for some time, to the point in which he can’t even pay his apartment rent.

As fate would have it though, one day an energetic young man named Wong Shun Leung (Huang Xiao Ming) approaches Ip Man and challenges him to a fight, seemingly for no other reason than to satisfy his own machismo.

BORING.

Master Ip handily defeats Leung, eventually converting the would be challenger, to a trusted and loyal pupil.

With Leung’s help, Ip Man’s Wing Chun begins to gain ground in Hong Kong, with many new students showing up every day.

That's right, bow before he wrecks your shit.

Even so, times are tough for Master Ip and his students, as money is scarce, and many of the pupils are unable to pay their dues from week to week.

Despite this, Leung’s fiery nature gets him into trouble with the local Hung Gar school, resulting in Master Ip having to step in and settle things for him.

With his fists.

Upon meeting the Hung Gar master, Hung Jan Nam, (Sammo Hung) Ip Man is told that the local martial arts union won’t allow his school to remain open unless he agrees participate in an old fashioned martial arts challenge.

Master Ip agrees to the challenge, and manages to pass it.

With his fists.

At some point we are made aware that Hung Jan Nam serves as an ambassador of sorts between the martial arts union and the British officials based in Hong Kong.

The British ask Hung to organize a venue and event for a boxing match involving their champion, Taylor “The Twister” Miller (Darren Shahlavi).

The biggest meathead the world's ever seen...

Throughout their dealings however, the British treat Hung, and in fact, all of the Chinese, as secondary citizens, often refusing to pay them or simply not speak with them.

Despite this disrespect, Hung agrees to continue working with the English, as many people’s lives depend on him for income and job security.

The boxing event goes as planned, however at one point, Twister steps into the ring during a Chinese demonstration of martial arts forms, and starts to beat and humiliate the performers.

With his fists.

This of course leads to Master Hung and Master Ip battling Twister in the name of Chinese pride.

Merry mishaps ensue.  Roll credits.

The end.

Acting:

As with the first film, Ip Man 2 casts Donnie Yen as it’s main character among an ensemble cast.

While Yen’s acting performance doesn’t really occupy that much of the film’s running time, it really doesn’t need to, as it serves to bolster one of the film’s central themes, namely that of unity.

As in Ip Man 1, Donnie Yen’s performance is calm and reserved for the most part.

In the first film, Ip Man was characterized as being a somewhat eccentric character, an outsider in the eyes of most of his more overbearing peers.

This aspect of Donnie Yen’s performance carries over very nicely from the first film, as the calmness in his performance seems even more genuine given the more energetic atmosphere of the film.

Okay, maybe "genuine" wasn't the right word...

While by no means an amazing performance, Yen does well enough to portray the character as the pillar of strength and certainty that the script demands.

I’ve said it before, I’ll probably say it until the day I die, Donnie Yen is not a good actor.

He’s at his best when he has something to hit.

With his fists.

Pallets work pretty good too I guess...

Sammo Hung’s portrayal of Hung Jan Nam is probably the strongest performance in the film.

Even from a purely visual standpoint, the character is bold and striking, with a very distinct wardrobe, a flashy streak of gray going through his slicked back hair, and a physical presence like no other.

Hah, fat baby...

In dialogue with Donnie Yen and other actors, Hung exudes a strength and forcefulness that suit his character perfectly.

Hung Jan Nam is supposed to be an overbearing, “my way or the highway” sort of character, and Sammo Hung captures this beautifully.

From the perpetually accusatory tone of his voice, to the way his eyebrows go nuts every time he opens his mouth, Sammo Hungs performance is wholly complete and, sadly, painfully outclasses Donnie Yen’s limited acting ability.

ACTING.

Huang Xiao Ming’s portrayal of Wong Shun Leung is comparable to his fighting ability.

He does alright, given that he lacks experience, but there’s nothing really there that sets him apart from any of the other popstars turned actors.

I'm lookin' at YOU Nicholas Tse...

Despite this, given the sharpness to his features, and the cocky sense of youthfulness that he exudes, it’s hard to say he wasn’t well cast.

For the most part, he does well, however the role is very small, with only the most basic of “kung fu asshole” lines in the script associated with it.

The point is, he didn’t really leave an impression.

Kind of like this sack of fuck.

Xiong Dai Lin as Ip Man’s wife,  is sadly much less of an element of this film as in Ip Man 1.

In the first film, she was Ip Man’s rock, she was his foundation.

In the early scenes she sort of wore the pants in their relationship, an attitude she was able to portray exceedingly well with her physical stature and rigid body language.

Pants are overrated.

In the latter scenes we got to see the 2 of them suffer together under the tyranny of the Japanese, which she also was able to convincingly.

While she wasn’t at all a major element in Ip Man 1, she felt present for most of the important events in the story.

In the sequel she’s just pregnant scenery.

I wouldn't mind wallpaper that looked like this...

It should be said, that despite having very limited roles, Kent Cheng, Fan Siu Wong, and Simon Yam, all do exceedingly well with what they’re given to work with.

While Kent Cheng and Simon Yam basically play the same cool guys they’ve been playing for years, Fan Siu Wong surprised me yet again with his performance.

The only other movie I’ve seen Wong in was Riki Oh, and while that was fun, it did little to convince me that he had any sort of talent, physical or otherwise.

Then I saw him in Ip Man, as the Northerner Jin Shan Zao, and I was blown away!

Not only could the guy still fight, but his acting was animated and engaging.

In Ip Man 2, Wong is sadly only in a few scenes, none of which contain any fighting, however he leaves an impression with his bold manner of speaking and his wildly expressive face.

Now THAT'S a fuckin' MAN FACE!

One thing worth noting in Ip Man 2, is that the performances for the British characters are downright terrible.

From what I’ve gathered by watching a shit ton of Japanese and Chinese movies over the years, my guess is that actors that speak in English in these films are asked to speak slower than normal so as to allow the theater audience to better understand them or read the subtitles on screen.

Even so, most of the Brits in Ip Man 2, sound both childish and SLOW.

Like, Little Bear slow.

SOOOOOO FUCKING SLOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!

Darren Shahlavi’s acting performance as the villain of the film, Twister, is both embarassing and confusing to watch.

The man seemingly can only speak at one volume, namely shouting at the top of his lungs.

There are times when his character is supposed to be adopting a condescending tone wherein he sounds more like he’s about to cry or throw a tantrum.

Oh yeah, and his resemblance to Hugo Weaving is downright cosmic.

It makes me laugh because the examples pics are horrible, and both guys have the opposite expressions.

In all, pretty much all of the Brits in Ip Man 2 don’t so much as give performances, as they do fulfill every conceivable ugly stereotype of the “foreign white devil.”

Action:

*WARNING, SPOILERS MAY EXIST AHEAD!*

As with the previous film, Ip Man 2 is packed to the hilt with fight scenes of the highest quality.

Unlike the first film however, which took on a darker and more violent tone in it’s second half, thereby causing the choreography to follow suit by making the violence seem more severe, Ip Man 2 remains consistently more vibrant and energetic throughout.

Color Correction: It makes a difference.

In fact, I would feel comfortable in saying that the fight sequences in Ip Man 2 are, in general; better than in the first film.

Much like in the first film, the fights gradually ascend in quality and dramatic relevance as the film progresses.

The first fight in the film, a friendly sparring session between Donnie Yen and Huang Xiao Ming, closely mirrors that of the the opening spar between Ip Man and Chen Zhi Hui’s Master Liao from the first movie.

So when I say "Master Liao" you have no idea who I'm talking about, but when I say "That one guy that got slapped in the throat a shit ton of times" you instantly know? WTF...

Except that the sparring in Ip Man 2 is much faster paced and aggressive in nature.

From the very first fight in Ip Man 2, one can tell that, cinematographically; the choreography is going to be very different from in the first film.

The first Ip Man had a very traditional, “golden age of Hong Kong cinema” kind of style to it.

An example of the differences in cinematography.

Most every fight in the film made liberal use of full body establishing shots and sweeping pans to give a sense of reality and depth to the performances and intensify the drama respectively.

It was straightforward, clean, and every movement was distinct and easy to identify.

Ip Man 2 changes things up quite a bit by stepping up the energy level a few notches and introducing some elements of gimmickry into the mix.

GIMMICKRY.

By “gimmickry” I’m not referring to wires, as those were used to great effect in both films, but rather the use of tighter, and more selective camera angles that typically emphasize specific focal points in the action as opposed to the entire bodies of the combatants.

As a result, many of the fights consist close-up shots of limbs, or chest-up shots that feel a little claustrophobic at times.

The trade-off though, is that most of the fights consist of less posturing, and more balls-out, arms length exchanges.

DREAM COME-FUCKING TRUE.

This is not a bad thing, however it does make for fights where quick cuts are evident, and educated eyes are sometimes required to follow the choreography from punch to punch.

Speaking of punching, the blindingly fast handwork that was used to such stupendous effect in the first film is back and better than ever.

Honestly, to count the number of times Donnie Yen busts out protracted flurries of buzzsaw punches on people in this movie would be like trying to count grains of sand on the beach.

Better pack your sleeping bag kiddo...

Despite this, because of the faster and more elaborate choreography, these flurries seem much more organic, legitimately seeming like part of a larger combination of motions as opposed to a show-stopping finishing move.

In general, the choreography seems to favor motion and activity over individual, flashier strikes.

Example.

It is impressive to note that Huang Xiao Ming, despite being a popstar with virtually no martial arts background, manages to hold his own under the demands of the choreography.

That’s not to say he’s an action star in the making, but among the likes of other fighting popstars like Nicholas Tse, Jay Chou, and Shawn Yue, he did alright.

Despite my praise, Huang exhibits a stiffness that is somewhat unsettling.

Honestly, the man holds his hands up like he’s never done it before, in a mirror or otherwise.

Sammo... How could you let the kid look like such a feeb?

On top of that, his trunk displays little movement, leaving his arms to do all the work for him, causing most of his strikes to seem “hollow” and lacking in power and intent.

He also tends to plant his feet in such a way that it reeks of him being afraid to move and mess up the framing for the cinematographer.

He also seems as times to be trying so hard to remember the steps to the choreography, that he forgets to use his facial expressions to heighten the drama.

He also smells bad.

Nah, I’m just kidding about that last part, I’m sure he smells fine.

Point is, for an untrained screen-fighter, he does just about as well as can be expected, even going so far as to be somewhat impressive during his one-on-one with the Hung Gar student called Kei.

FEEB FIGHT!!!!

Donnie Yen’s fighting performance in Ip Man 2 is nothing short of spectacular.

In the first film, Donnie Yen seemed, in my opinion, to be somewhat uncomfortable with Wing Chun.

I said before, in my EPIC Tribute to Donnie Yen, that Wing Chun uses motions and principles that are contrary to nearly all of Donnie Yen’s previous performances, and in Ip Man 1, this fact was somewhat apparent.

In Ip Man 1, Mr. Yen seemed stiff at times, with some of his blocks and parries coming across as too rigid, and somewhat robotic.

Not only that, but after watching Ip Man 2, his fast hands just plain didn’t seem as fast.

Aw man, that is SO fuckin' slow...

In Ip Man 2, Donnie Yen’s performance is much more fluid and organic, with his repertoire being somewhat bolstered, as necessitated by the faster-paced choreography, and his fast punches coming out in a much more visually impressive circular loop as opposed to the straight punches from the first film.

You can't really see it, but trust me, it's awesome.

Much like in the earlier fights in Ip Man 1, Yen’s movements seem somewhat lax during the first few fights in the film, only to gradually build in momentum until he reaches peak form at the end.

Despite the inherent spectacle involved in watching Donnie Yen fighting 20 men at once in the first half hour of the film, I found his fighting to be in much better form in some of the latter scenes.

The centerpiece of the film is a series of one on one bouts between Donnie Yen, and 3 masters of various martial disciplines, with the last being Sammo Hung.

In addition to this, the fights take place atop a convincingly rickety dinner table surrounded by upturned chairs.

The first of these masters, we’ll call him “Blinks,” utilizes what looks to be some sort of Mantis Style kung fu variant.

His strikes are wild and employ the full force of his body via fancy kicks and aerial maneuvers.

The choreography here is a bit choppy, as Blinks’ movements are a little uncoordinated and not all that convincing when he’s on the wires.

YOU FOOL! How could you let Uncle Cheng back on the wire rig so shortly after his surgery!?

Even so, the fight is bolstered by the use of the table as a prop, as well as a pretty solid piece of music by composer Kenji Kawai backing it.

It should be noted that the soundtrack for Ip Man 2 is spectacular, and really served to dignify the movie despite it’s somewhat silly last half.

Pictured: The silly last half.

The second fight in the table scene is between Donnie Yen and a master that employs what appeared to be some form of Baguazhang.

"Walking the circle"

This particular master’s movements were slicker and more tactile than Blinks’, resulting in a fight conducted at a somewhat slower pace, but with better defined movements.

A highlight of this fight is watching the Bagua fighter show off his limberness and float in and out of stances with an almost otherworldly grace.

"And then, without warning, Uncle decided to up and take a shit, right there on the dinner table..."

Again, the music is great during this scene.

Despite their limited fighting presence in the film, both Blinks and the Bagua fighter come across as extremely animated and well-defined characters that were fun to watch.

“Haha, Sammo Hung gets the big drum.”

That’s what I said the first time Mr. Hung’s music cue sounded and he appeared on screen.

Rest assured, his fighting performance in Ip Man 2 is certainly worthy of the big drum.

Sammo Hung’s first fight is a brief but masterfully choreographed battle with Donnie Yen at the end of the table sequence.

The fight is meant to portray the 2 as being evenly matched, and as such there is no real contact throughout.

Well, aside from maybe this.

The sequence is a prime example of one of my favorite elements of Hong Kong style choreography, namely the complex and fast-paced sparring and handwork.

Nearly every strike launched in this sequence is parried in some way, resulting in intense exchanges within arms reach for nearly entire duration of the fight.

During this sequence, the difference in style between Hung Gar and Wing Chun is evident pretty much from the first punch.

Pictured: The first punch.

Sammo’s strikes are wider, more circular, and ultimately more form based than the relatively straightforward nature of Donnie’s Wing Chun.

In addition to this, Sammo also assumes a number of stances throughout the fight, most notably a horse stance towards the end.

The whole sequence is a delight to watch, with an intense music score, and a balls-out, almost Dragonball Z-esque finale that had me giggling like a 5 year old.

Pictured: The Finale.

The fights in the last half of the movie deal exclusively with Darren Shahlavi’s boxer character fighting against Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen, in that order.

Shahlavi’s performance, as a boxer, is not the best I’ve ever seen.

The man has a pretty good resume for fighting roles in movies, especially in the 90’s, however the only one I know of that cast him as a boxer, was I Spy, which had him facing off against Eddie Murphy.

What, you thought I was fuckin' with you?

The fights in I Spy were a joke.

Sadly, the film was not.

As a boxer in Ip Man 2, Darren Shahlavi’s movements are a little bit off.

His footwork is atrocious, in the sense that he doesn’t really have any.

More importantly though, I think the real problem isn’t any fault of Shahlavi’s, but rather that of Sammo Hung, the choreographer.

Hong Kong style choreography has a look to it, a method to it, that just doesn’t represent boxing very well at all.

It emphasizes wide and showy motions for the sake of making the movements more visible and theatrical, while boxing does exactly the opposite.

Unless of course you're Sakio Bika.

Fast and compact strikes, devoid of wasted motion are the objective in boxing, and as such, it doesn’t translate to choreography very well, Chinese or otherwise.

Not only that, but the parrying and blocking that I love so much in Chinese choreography, is something you just plain don’t see in boxing.

*Sigh* Unless of course you're Winky Wright...

Slipping and ducking are the more common methods of defense in boxing, as opposed to letting your opponent manipulate and displace your hands AKA your only weapons.

Despite his fighting not really having any boxing science to it, Shahlavi’s brawling and overall presence is actually quite impressive.

I felt Shahlavi’s first fight in the film, against Sammo Hung, was actually the better exposition of his skills as a performer.

C-C-C-COUNTER!!!!

The fight is shot in such a way as to spotlight Sammo, however Shahlavi makes a decent impression.

His fighting has a wild intensity to it that’s mostly foreign to Hong Kong movies.

His movements are aggressive and pressuring, with a shit ton of scowling, flexing and grunting thrown in for good measure.

Oh no, he's totally not flexing. Not at all...

His fight with Sammo works, not only because the fighting is good, but mostly because of the drama of the situation.

The idea is that, Sammo does well in the beginning due to his skills, however the inherent physicality of his opponent eventually begins to weigh down on him.

The fight is melodramatic as fuck, but manages to work on a purely visceral level.

Ah wrestling, I can make references to it from just about anything.

The final battle in the film is, of course, a grudge match between Donnie Yen and Darren Shahlavi.

The whole thing is a bloody and melodramatic rollercoaster that leaves you hating the British and loving the fuck out of the Chinese.

Pictured: Why I hate the British.

It’s great fun.

I can’t tell you how much I appreciated it to see Donnie Yen get his face punched in for a change.

Some screen fighters have a tendency to not take hits with as much zeal as they probably should.

This is typically evident amongst “baby face” screen fighters that rarely, if ever, play villainous roles.

This would include the likes of Jet Li, Steven Seagal, and in rare cases, Donnie Yen.

You see that little cut on his forehead? That's the only fuckin' hit he took in this entire epic fuckin' fight!

Ip Man 1 and 2 represented some of the rare instances in which Mr. Yen didn’t really take hits all that well.

Actually, the real problem was the fact that he never really got hit in both movies.

Do you know how many times Hiroyuki Ikeuchi hit Donnie Yen during the end fight in Ip Man 1?

3 times.

*Gasp!* He's got a bloody lip!

Well, thank God for the end of Ip Man 2, ’cause I tell yah’, Mr. Yen takes a whuppin’.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t take his licks half as good as Sammo Hung.

Then again, nobody does, except for maybe Mick Foley.

Mick Foley on the average Tuesday.

The end fight in Ip Man 2 has a very comfortable sense of ebb and flow to it.

Unlike in Undisputed 3, (see review here) where the final fight felt like it adopted the pace it did because it was convenient to do so, Ip Man 2’s fight seems to have been carried out the way it was because it made sense to.

The whole idea behind the fight, I think, is that the physicality of Shahlavi is a constant advantage, while the technical and innovative skills of Donnie Yen’s Ip Man are supposed to be a brief counter to it.

Um, pretty sure he meant to do that. Yeah....

In other words, Ip Man is technically losing the fight throughout, however, whenever he is able to stymie Twister with new angles and techniques, he can briefly turn the tide until Twister figures him out again.

Yeah, pretty sure that's a new angle.

It’s an interesting and artful way to compose a fight that, thankfully, results in something much more than a Rocky IV-esque slugfest.

The final “comeback” sequence of the fight is beautifully edited, and yes, set to a wonderful piece of music.

I won’t spoil the details of it here, but I will say this, it may go on just a second or 2 too long, but it makes a fair amount of sense and is fucking awesome to watch, so it gets a thumbs up from me.

Seriously, if I had been in the theater for the big climax of Ip Man 2, I’d probably be yelling, “FUCK YEAH!”

Oh well, why not....

Ip Man 2 is not as good as it’s predecessor.

What begins as a traditional martial arts film, quickly devolves into a shameless rip-off of Rocky IV.

That’s not to say it’s not an enjoyable film.

I found most of the performances to be very good, and the fights were downright amazing at times.

The difference between the 2 films, is that Ip Man 1 had a great deal of heart, while it’s sequel attempts to artificially manufacture it by toying with our basest of emotions.

Even so, Chinese melodrama and nationalism has a way of pushing just the right buttons for me, and in the case of Ip Man 2, it worked.

It made me giggle in disbelief at how silly some of it’s dialogue and plot points were, but I bought into it nonetheless.

Even if it’s “heart” is fake, I appreciate that Ip Man 2 at least attempts to have some.

Thanks Ip Man 2, for not being Transformers 2.

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

Donate