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Dream Project: Jackie Chan’s “Time Belt”

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I spent this afternoon pounding out an idea for a Jackie Chan “dream project” with my buddy Mencius.

It all started when I asked my buddy:

“If you had Jackie Chan in his physical prime, what movie would you put him in?”

Surprisingly, my answer to this question was rather straightforward and simple, being that of Armour of God III or something like it.

To be honest, I’d still like to see a 3rd Armour of God, as I’ve always felt it could be a good “farewell” movie for Jackie.

Getting back to the matter at hand, my buddy Mencius had something a little more off the wall in mind, something more unique; at least when it comes to Jackie Chan movies.

Mencius’ idea was that of a time travel adventure film where Jackie, playing a kung fu expert/dopey non-hero that accidentally finds himself hurtling through exotic time periods and locales.

Okay maybe the plot isn't totally unique. But The Myth sucked, so it doesn't count.

While I was initially turned off by the idea, largely due to it’s lack of a concrete source of conflict, I found myself revisiting the idea throughout the day, constantly feeding Mencius ideas that I thought could make for a fun movie.

The first idea I felt needed to come into play, was that of a group of villains chasing Jackie through time.

Basically, Jackie is like a janitor in some time travel laboratory, and then a bunch of thieves break in trying to steal the time travel gear; whereupon Jackie accidentally activates the device and gets lost in time.

Using a device with extremely limited time travel capability, the bad guys chase Jackie through time, showing up for action beats throughout Jackie’s adventures.

Mencius and I didn’t really get around to finalizing anything¬†for this idea, but at the end of the day we came up with at least 2 locations the film would visit, namely ancient China, and Victorian England.

Naturally, Jackie would run afoul of plenty of thugs and bad guys in these places, leading to much brawling, yelling of “I don’t want any trouble!”, and weaponization of household items.

In my mind, given that this in fact a “dream” project, and can really include as many stars (in their physical primes) as I’d like, the cast of the movie would be fucking epic.

Imagine this:

Jackie goes back in time to old timey China.

He meets Wong Fei Hung, played by Jet Li.

They fight, and it most certainly doesn’t suck like in The Forbidden Kingdom.

Somewhere along the line, Jackie meets a rotund butcher played by Sammo Hung, and his fiery cohort, played by Yuen Biao.

Pictured: Comedy and Action, GOLD.

Naturally, they all become buddies.

At the end of it all, Jackie, Sammo, Yuen and Jet Li all join forces to take on the local Axe Gang, every member of which is played by a notable Hong Kong villain actor.

Imagine a crowd fight with these 4 taking on the likes of Dick Wei, Billy Chow, Ken Lo, Chin Siu Ho, Fan Siu Wong, Wu Jing, Xing Yu and Al FUCKING Leong, all at the same fuckin’ time.

Hell, I'd pay money JUST to see Jackie take on Al Leong...

Now imagine Jackie, Yuen and Sammo travel to Victorian England, only to be immediately accosted by a thuggish Jason Statham.

After escaping The Transporter, the trio run afoul of the local authorities, the leader of which happens to be Darren Shahlavi AKA Twister:

Now imagine the rest of the movie includes fights with the pursuing bad guys played by the likes of Scott Adkins, Cyril Raffaelli, Marko Zaror, Benny Urquidez, and Brad Allan with DONNIE FUCKING YEN serving as the “final boss.”

Tell me, would this not be the coolest movie ever!?

Anyway, in tribute to the classic Channel 101 show of the same name, I feel it’s only appropriate that this “dream project” be titled:

Jackie Chan’s “Time Belt”

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

Thoughts on The Legend is Born: Ip Man

The Legend is Born: Ip Man contains scenes of Ip Man fighting ninjas.

Now, before all the haoles and Narutards in the room hop out of their seats with glee and go buy this movie, one should perhaps note that The Legend is Born is not a good movie.

In fact it’s so very far from “good,” that I’d so far as to say it’s “bad.”

That’s right, I called a kung fu movie bad.

You see, this was bad, but it was GOOD bad.

Trust me folks, if you’re looking for signs of the approaching apocalypse, me hating on a kung fu movie is one of them.

While Donnie Yen and Wilson Yip’s Ip Man films were at times melodramatic, and often predictable; both films did so while wielding style and production values that few pure martial arts movies can match.

That, and they had Donnie Yen leading the cast.

Ip Man, starring Donnie Yen's cock!

He might not be the best actor, but he beats people like no other; and in a martial arts flick sometimes that’s all you need.

Sadly, The Legend is Born has none of these various pluses going for it.

While it has a rather large cast of “name” genre actors, the production fails to utilize them properly by giving them a bland script, placing them amid lifeless and fake-y soundstages, and generally making no attempt to film the fight sequences in an interesting manner.

I ask you, just who the fuck is fighting who in this screenshot?

For those that care to know Sammo Hung is barely in it and truly seems like he’s “between projects,” (most likely he was filming Ip Man 2 simultaneously) Yuen Biao does pretty well given his limited role in the movie, and Fan Siu Wong is his always awesome self.

FUCK YEAH!

Despite the cast, it’s a horrendously mediocre film that fails to impress is any area, and ultimately left me feeling robbed of an hour and a half of my life.

To sum up, (as briefly as possible) the plot is basically a horribly fabricated account of Ip Man’s life from childhood to right up until just before the beginning of the first Wilson Yip Ip Man film in the early 1930’s.

In case you are wondering, the whole “Ip Man fighting ninjas” thing was indeed fabricated, as was the vast majority of the events in this film.

The film’s biggest, and most visible disappointment, comes in the form of the casting of Dennis To as Ip Man.

Wipe that smug look off your face... And get a haircut, hippie...

As I mentioned in my pre-screening thoughts on this movie, To did not strike me as leading man material.

Turns out I was right, as To’s performance, both as an actor and a fighter, is as wooden and vanilla as can be.

With enough training Dennis, someday you'll become a real boy!

As an actor taking on a film that bears the same name as his character, most of the story relies on his performance, to which he brings absolutely no spark of life or zeal.

While his Wing Chun form is quite good, and indeed indicative of his background in the martial art, his posture is extremely rigid and more importantly, his strikes lack any sort of weight or power behind them.

While the speed and accuracy of the close-quarters sparring is actually quite impressive, the lack of power behind the strikes is a problem with most of the choreography, that and the cinematography simply isn’t up to snuff.

Okay, this was perhaps the most needlessly over-the-top moves I've seen in awhile, and I for one thought it was hilarious.

Aside from a decent fight between Dennis To and the real life son of Ip Man, Ip Chun, (which makes heavy use of stunt doubles for Chun) and a lengthy and surprisingly physical brawl between To and Fan Siu Wong, there really aren’t any outstanding fights in The Legend is Born.

Though I’ve seen reviews crediting Sammo Hung as the choreographer for this film, I honestly have trouble believing that.

If he was in fact the choreographer, I’m sorry to say, very little, if any; of the movements and camera angles in The Legend is Born bear Sammo’s mark, and as such, the action simply doesn’t hold up to anything in his filmography.

The basic plot of the film is that of your basic “Japanese threaten Chinese culture and property, martial artist rectifies situation with fists” genre trope, however it does so in a very inorganic and just plain stupid manner.

Well, as inorganic and stupid as a plot involving ninja fights can manage anyway...

I shit you not, nearly all of the dozen or so fights in The Legend is Born (seriously, there’s a lot of them) come about as a result of someone literally walking into a room and yelling:

“Your Wing Chun is good, show me some of it!”

Even for a kung fu movie, that’s just plain lazy.

Pictured: An unedited example of the screenwriting process of The Legend is Born.

Anyway, I was initially planning to do a seriously in-depth review of The Legend is Born, much like I did Ip Man 2 and Undisputed 3: Redemption, however I found that this movie simply wasn’t worth the effort.

If you really wanna’ see mediocre fighting, bland acting, and *sigh…* Ip Man fighting ninjas, then by all means, give The Legend is Born: Ip Man a chance.

I for one, am going to be kicking myself over this purchase for some time, being as I knew this movie was going to suck, but still let my hopes and dreams guide my wallet.

If you can identify with this man, than perhaps you'll enjoy this movie!

 

 

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

Even More Ip Man!

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.

Never get tired of this scene...

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.

Can't say the the same for American movies...

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.

Said double-dippers would be Sammo Hung, Fan Siu Wong, and oddly enough, Dennis To as Ip Man.

Dennis To: Star in the Making, or Punching Bag to the Stars #2? (#1 is Xing Yu...)

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.

Clearly he also has stylists to help out as well...

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.

It's baaaaaaack....

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

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