Saturday, April 24, 2010

IP MAN 2 葉問2:宗師傳奇 Press Preview. BIGGER and BETTER this time around as the SAGA Continues.


Truth be told …..

this reviewer is not a devotee of martial arts movies, but IPMAN 2 葉問2:宗師傳奇 is totally kick-ass!

And if you are an avid film buff of that genre, then it makes sense that you should bate your breath

maybe even clench your fists ….

Because IP MAN 2 is storming ceremoniously onto the giant screen again after a two-year hiatus to astound us with everything that bone crunching action can really offer.

Is this sequel worth all the wait?

Rightfully so, as everything appears even BIGGER andBETTER now with a tighter script by EDMOND WONG, WILSON YIP helming the film and SAMMO HUNG as the superb action choreographer again …..

IP MAN 2 is a semi-biopic martial arts feature, a well-crafted sequel to the original IP MAN shot way back in 2008.

This time round, the movie has less restraints and exercises more on creative latitude,

and is more imaginative in terms of action, characterization and plot.

Continuing after the events of IP MAN 1, the second part focuses on IP MAN‘s adapting to a new life in seedy HONGKONG in 1949 with his wife and son, under the British Colonial rule. Here the scene is either boom or bust with dire conditions set by corrupt police officers and unruly triads who leech on protection money.

Charismatic but stoic DONNIE YEN reprises his role as IPMAN who attempts to propagate his discipline of WING CHUN but faces ferocious rivalry from other practitioners, chiefly HUNG CHUN-NAM (SAMMO HUNG), a master of theHUNG GA.

Thereby the chaotic “power war” of the clans begins ….

Watch SAMMO HUNG as he puts in a memorable performance as the head of the HUNG GA CLAN who dies whilst trying to upkeep the honor of the Chinese Martial Arts. This may garner him a best supporting actor award in the months to come, as his is a difficult role fraught with genuine pain and angst as he lunges and fights to uphold the dignity of the Chinese in the boxing ring.

DONNIE YEN is unique and mesmerizing as he etches a formidable performance as IP MAN, the grandmaster of WING CHUN. He combines a quiet albeit dignified strength with thunder speed and fluidity.

He drops baddies by retorting them with a series of well-placed knee, fist, elbow or even finger stances in trueWING CHUN style, directly to the opponent’s face.

This guy is full-on, without doubt.

Essentially, the beating heart of this film is DONNIE YENand his athleticism and he steps up to the fore big time.

His martial arts skills and awe-inspiring stunts leave nothing to the imagination.

The fights are fantastic stuff and this reviewer has not seen a martial arts film as magnifique as this one,for simply ages.

There’s a lot to be admired.

But this is not just an action film. There are emotionally teary scenes where DONNIE YEN fleshes heart and soul to preach justice, love, respect and integrity among his disciples.

If you have a strong attachment to the Chinese culture and its traditions and proud to be a Chinese, then DONNIE YEN as IP MAN provides a humbling moment when he vanquishes the obnoxious Caucasian racist bully called TWISTER (British actor DARREN SHAHLAVI) in the boxing ring.


IP MAN is definitely DONNIE YEN‘s signature film that sees a new revival, propelling him to super stardom, putting him on the same pedestal alongside JACKIE CHAN and JET LI.

Having toiled for more than 2 decades in the entertainment business, this is a noteworthy accomplishment.

Always maintaining leading role status and at one time knocking on doors to convince producers of his greater worth, DONNIE shows us how true perseverance will eventually pay off, provided we work hard and believe in our dreams.

He is positioned now as Hong Kong’s most bankable action star with grit, determination and substance and his happy marriage has really mellowed him.

At the end of the film, a 10 year-old BRUCE LEE makes his grand entrance, played by China teenage star JIANG DAI YAN, dropping a hint that the director may have intentions to propagate a Sequel 3 ……

but DONNIE YEN has to date confirmed that this will be theLAST IP MAN role for him, no less.

It’s an overkill with too many production companies jumping on the bandwagon creating different persona interpretations of the Grandmaster IP, he laments.

Stay tuned, folks!

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Thursday, April 22, 2010



Nah, THE CRAZIES is not a slapstick yarn as the name implies.

Far from it.


It’s a mind boggling horror thriller, a zombie flick that takes you on a scary hair-raising ride to arrive at a flat-out apocalyptic conclusion.

Run, baby, run!

A happily married couple in OGDEN MARSH, a desolate midwestern town find themselves battling for their lives as their neighbours and family suddenly disintegrate into unexplainable madness.

A government plane carrying an unidentified cargo has crashed outside the peaceful farming town of OGDEN MARSH, contaminating the water supply with a deadly virus.

The mysterious toxin spilled in the water turns everyone exposed to it into mindless killers.

The infected ones go berserk and piles of bloodied bodies are strewn everywhere.

Even the authorities play safe and show total disregard for the safety of the uninfected, leaving them to face their own gloom and doom.

Now everyone is trapped in the maze of this once-upon-a-time idyllic town they now no longer recognize.

Unable to trust former neighbours and friends and deserted by the authorities, two couples are forced to band together, planning haphazardly, an escape route.

It’s a nightmarish struggle for survival.

This is where the story begins.

Director BRECK EISNER does a bloody good job in helming this edgy supernatural tale that will keep us on the edge of suspense.

It’s definitely worth a watch, when you want to blow your mind after a tiring day’s grind!

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010



For one, this film is a real blast.

DANTE LAM, Hong Kong action film director is surely setting the screen afire.

Mind you, with an apt title like FIRE OF CONSCIENCE this one is going to be a sizzling hot platter.

The mood and tone is scorchingly fiery: an edgy plot, plenty of flying bullets, well crafted explosions, scheming policemen pitting action against action to outdo one another – ensures this feature would be a mesmerizing, absorbing police thriller.

So danger lives closer than you think.

Specially in Hong Kong filmdom, whenever the script calls for a friend, always count in a foe alongside.

Where good cops dwell, corrupt officers also linger.

When the system breaks down it’s the good cops versus the bad ones.

Welcome to the world of celluloid drama.

Producers abide by a sure-proof formula.

FIRE OF CONSCIENCE ignites the excitement onscreen and goes helter-skelter deep with the explosive police mayhem.

The film director provides plenty of choreographed action, playing precariously with the bullets, multiple explosions, car and alley chasing, guaranteed to have your eyes scorched on the screen and you clinging onto your seat.

The story starts off with a disillusioned cop called MANFRED FONG (LEON LAI) who has to deal with the pain of the past, having lost his zest for living after the unexpected demise of his wife.

He adorns a dishevelled craggy appearance, plodding on in self-pity, hitting the bottle and earning the irk of his superiors.

Enter KEE (RITCHIE REN) an illustrious cop from the Narcotic Bureau and their path crosses whilst investigating the murder of a prostitute.

KEE is smooth and slick and is everything that FONG is not.

But when the plot thickens, we discover that KEE has another agenda on his mind when he befriends FONG, that of an underlining devious ulterior motive.

Now we have two hard-boiled cops with two different mind sets.

DANTE LAM boldly takes us through a maze of unscrupulous weapon dealers and bomb makers to feast our eyes on powerful weaponry and grisly explosions.


LEON LAI is more than competent this time round as a tortuous policeman thirsty for vengeance.

Behold MICHELLE YE, the underrated Hong Kong actress playing FONG’s staunch sidekick in a cameo role. She discards her glamor puss image to play, admirably, a female cop who challenges the system by putting her life on the line. Despite the short screen time, she provides an alluring relief!

FIRE OF CONSCIENCE promises non-stop adrenaline pumping action.

Trust no one.

In the police force there are hidden doors.

When these are opened, some nightmares can become a reality.

The stakes are high in this epic tale of murder, corruption and obsession.

It’s Two Thumbs Up for the heart-stopping action!

Now, did you hear an explosive blast somewhere?

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW 歲月神偷 Movie Review. Come Take My Hand. Together let’s stroll down Memory Lane.


For the baby boomer, watching ECHOES OF THE RAINBOWcan be an enriching experience in poetic indulgence.

For one, it stretches your imagination.

ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW is indeed, a mushy film.

It reeks of this powerful element called emotion.

It reaches your heartstrings and tugs.

Hear the echoes?

You eyes will swell with tears

You may reach for the tissue when you hear the familar echoes of LOVE amid rainbow hues chiming resonantly in your ears:

They beckon you to take note:

“Come take my hand …..

Together let’s stroll down memory lane.”

Shall we?

ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW shows us that love is universal.

LOVE transcends time, boundaries and creeds.

That there’s no greater journey than the one that leads you to love.

SOMETIMES, if you can catch the breeze at the right time, you’ll have this surging feeling that love is all around us.

Have you ever been assailed by such intense happiness inside, that you feel that you’re like a lark going to burst into song?

For crying out loud, everybody does.

Good things are transient, are momentary, they never last.

Treasure love when it’s around.

Maybe for now, it is staring at you in the face.

But it’s like a car, parked at your door, and when the time comes, it revs up and roars off.

Weep not when love dies.

People do fall out of love.

TIME WILL HEAL MOST EVERYTHING, but memories cannot be erased.

Directed by ALEX LAU who also wrote the wonderful screenplay, ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW competed in the Berlin International Film Festival and bagged the CRYSTALBEAR AWARD for the Best Film in the Children’s Jury “Generation Kplus”.

It also garnered 6 nominations in the 29th Hong Kong FilmAwards to be held on April 18, 2010: SIMON YAM (Best Actor), SANDRA NG (Best Actress), Best New Performers (AARIF LEE and CHUNG SHIU TO), Best Screenplay (ALEX LAU) and Best Original Film Song.

ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW transports us to vintage Hong Kong in the 1960s, a long lost era that was once peppered with beauty, charm and character.

The story is narrated through the eyes of one gawky pre-teenager, our protagonist.

He comes from this simple family.

His father (SIMON YAM) is simple. He’s hard nosed, works as a cobbler and is a disciplinarian.

His mother (SANDRA NG) is simple. She believes in the sunny side, that everything is attainable, if you dare dream.

His elder brother (AARIF LEE) is simple. He has those dreamy eyes for his tropical fishes and sports, until he discovers his one true puppy love.

Our protagonist is simple. He sees life through rose-tinted innocence.

The plot is simple. Life is about love.

Love and loyalty for your parents, siblings, neighbors, friends and your sweetheart.

SIMON YAM is absolutely good. He shows us that he retains versatility in choices of characters. He plays a good father this time round, after a string of baddie roles.

SANDRA NG is no longer a madcap this time. She is the doting mother with an eye for positivism and this is pivotal during hard times, in keeping the family together.

Enjoy the beautiful score in this fantastic movie and behold a new rising sexy Hong Kong star called AARIF LEE, a cross between FEI XIANG and LEE HOM. He’s one actor to watch in the coming years.

As this reviewer has said earlier, love can be simple and that there’s no greater journey than the one that leads you to love.

Listen to an old hit by PAUL ANKA, Times Of Your Life :

“Good morning, yesterday
You wake up and time has slipped away
And suddenly it’s hard to find
The memories you left behind
Remember, do you remember?

The laughter and the tears
The shadows of misty yesteryears
The good times and the bad you’ve seen
And all the others in between
Remember, do you remember
The times of your life?

Reach out for the joy and the sorrow
Put them away in your mind
The memories are time that you borrow
To spend when you get to tomorrow

Here comes the setting sun
The seasons are passing one by one
So gather moments while you may
Collect the dreams you dream today
Remember, will you remember
The times of your life?”

ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW is an award winning film that demonstrates that life and family are only complete if we treasure love.

Enjoy today as the clock goes ticking, as we can never know what tomorrow will bring.

Because time and tide wait for no man.

And that life is a series of comings and goings.

Not forgetting DEATH, as all human beings have to depart this earth one day.

ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW is such a lilting splendid film that you cannot afford to miss!

At the end of it all, when the credits roll, you find that you are still so comfy in your seat and unwilling to leave the theater.

That’s the magic of this gem of a movie.


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