Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Another Ip Man movie hits the cinemas

I've read more books in the last six months than in the last six years put together; I've also watched more movies in the cinemas during the last six months than in the last six years together too. That's the extent of which I've had more time to enjoy myself with my personal pursuits while attempting to re-build my interest in the estate planning business (but that is altogether another tale).

My interest in the movies was rekindled after my friend Hamid brought me to see James Cameron's Avatar at a cinema in Kuala Lumpur last January. Since then, I've also watched the ho-hum remake of Clash Of The Titans and Ip Man 2. Watching the latter film prompted me to search for a DVD copy of Ip Man.

Can't deny that I'm actually hooked onto this historical character after watching the two films even though I know that the films' producers took a lot of liberties with the story lines. But then, what movies we see have not been guilty of this? How much is real and how much is fictitious? Unfortunately, movies blur this line until ultimately we ourselves become confused and subconsciously assume that the fiction may be true.

But I don't want to go into a discussion about this. Purely from the entertainment viewpoint, Ip Man and Ip Man 2 were stuff to make us leave the cinema feeling that good had triumphed over evil once more. Ip Man was all about the fight against the barbaric often heartless Japanese invaders while Ip Man 2 focussed on the brash, arrogant and corrupt British kwei-lo. Typically, both continued to be portrayed as the real (ever present) enemies of the Chinese people, the cruel oppressors and racists that needed to be destroyed or put down. Honour of China and the Chinese people at stake, blah blah blah, which was all very well if the cinema audience comprised wholly the mainland Chinese. But as a Chinese who ancestors left the "old motherland" at least a century ago, it was a bit embarrassing to hear such fervour being repeated ad nauseum. So for me, the two shows were mainly entertainment and nothing more. I never read too much into the sometimes not-to-sublime messages that the producers convey.

Nevertheless, do I have enough of the Ip Man genre? Apparently, not. Two days ago, I took my family to the cinema for "The Legend Is Born - Ip Man", the supposed prequel to the two earlier films. In truth, I enjoyed this show. I enjoyed it so much more than the two other Ip Man films. Although the story line should again be taken with a big pinch of salt (for instance, it was never explained how his adopted brother get to learn karate and judo if he was assimilated into the family at the tender age of 12. I'm so confused...), I must say for the third time that I enjoyed it. Fast and furious, that's all I can say about the action in this movie.

And who was the bad guy in this movie? Bonus: there were two. First was the knucklehead of a clueless and naive British kwei-lo who was quickly put down in a short fight after he mouthed something like Chinese pigs (Hey, I'd get insulted too, okay? Never insult the food I eat) and the second was the corrupt and evil Japanese businessman and his private army intent on taking over the community. So at least for this show, there were two profiled enemies for the price of one cinema ticket.

My verdict for this show: plot is all so very typical but it's redeeming point is the incredible fight scenes involving well-respected actors. So, definitely well worth a watch if you have to spend a mindless two hours in a fantasy land.


stephen said...

Thats the thing.These new genre movies being churned out depicts the foreigners as evil.I suppose its the coming of age of a country that is back on its feet and taking its rightful place in the world.This was a country that was invaded, fed with drugs,looted blind and the people subjugated and treated like subhumans in their own land.
Of course there lies the underlying resentment.
That said , the british in later years was a benevolent force and the very fact that HongKong has grown to be a beacon of economic prowess and stability speaks volumes.
However, I still hold the Japanese in revulsion as they have consistently refused to admit their wartime indiscretions.

Quah, Seng-Sun said...

Stephen, there's also the fact that the movies were completely made in China, so cannot bite the hand that feeds the shows!