“THE ICE-MAN” 2014 (HONG KONG) MOVIE REVIEW
It is an overdue production that should have been wrapped up a year ago. Here are the reasons for the massive delay:
Filming commenced on 19th December 2012 in Hong Kong with an initial budget of HK $100 million.
Technical and location problems plagued the entire cast and crew.
Progress was further hampered when the Hong Kong government rejected the use of Tsing Ma Bridge as a principal location.
Thereupon a massive amount of HK$ 50 million had to be spent to erect an imitation life-like set of the Tsing Ma Bridge.
Shooting shuttled between Hong Kong and Beijing.
In the end, HK $200 million was spent in total, an incredible amount for any film.
It is apt to say that little known director Law Wing-Cheong helmed this martial arts fantasy re-make with an enormous budget (starting from HK 100 million, but finishing at a whopping HK 200 million.)
Was the money well spent?
The plot is as silly as you can get. He Ying (Donnie Yen) and his sworn brothers Sao (Wang Baoqiang) and Niehu (Kang Yu) are accused of collaborating with the Japanese pirates in year 1621.
They flee for dear lives but end up being frozen in ice when an avalanche engulfs them for 400 years.
When they wake up from their deep “slumber” they find themselves roaming aimlessly along the streets in modern-day Hong Kong. Suspend your disbelief, please.
While Sao and Niehu try to track down their sworn brother He Ying, little do they know that He Ying has gotten accustomed to the depressive city life.
He also befriends a pretty nightclub hostess called May (Huang Shengyi) whose intention is to fleece him of whatever wealth he may seem to possess.
Meanwhile, corrupted Police Commissioner Cheung (Simon Yam) together with a more corrupted politician Tang (Lam Suet) are working hand-in-glove to recapture the three frozen Ming Dynasty warriors for the purpose of selling them to the North Koreans as human exhibits.
Practically everyone: the good, bad and ugly are here, all also locating a powerful Indian device called “Golden Wheel of Time”, which has the ability to propel people through time
And we get this cat-and-mouse movie that could have been done a lot better.
No thanks to a ridiculously patchy script, notwithstanding abrupt shifts in mood and tone that dampen the overall “feel” of the movie.
Bad-taste “shooting pees” are graphically shown, as with scenes showing Donnie Yen “breaking wind” to smashing the toilet bowl whilst he is taking a dump with poop spewing helter-skelter.
The star power of Yen (also the film’s action director) will definitely attract domestic and international audiences but “Ice Man” is an ancient-modern comedy that begs not to be taken seriously.
The first part is screening now, and the second conclusive part will hit the screen before end of the year.
Director Law Wing-Cheong, who often worked with Johnnie To as an associate director, is clearly out of his league when comes to handle such a colossal project as the sole director.
As for Donnie Yen being the action director here, it’s surprising that much of his fight choreography lacks the finesse we often seen in his past efforts.
The only notable action scene is the film finale, where Donnie Yen tackles his opponents at the Tsing Ma Bridge.
Hopefully part 2 will be better.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5