Franchise Weekend – Ip Man (2008)

Director: Wilson Yip

Writer: Edmond Wong, Tai-Lee Chan (Screenplay)

Starring: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi

 

Plot: During the Japanese invasion of 1937, when a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home and work to support his family, he reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defense.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Action Packed Martial Arts Film

 

Story: Ip Man starts as we meet Master Ip (Yen) one of the many master in the city of Fo Shan, but possible the greatest, even if he doesn’t let the rest of the town know this, he is wealthy with a wife Cheung (Hung) and child Chun to keep happy while teaching. When out of towners led by Jin (Fan) arrive in town they defeat all the Masters including the one believed to be the best. Ip does put Jin in his place as the city turns to him to become a trainer.

The years go by and Japan invades China in the late 1930’s, Ip and his family find themselves homeless after their home is taken over by the army Ip must do anything he can to make money which does include fight for rice against the Japanese General Miura (Ikeuhci), while also teaching the locals to defend themselves.

 

Thoughts on Ip Man

 

Characters – Ip Man is the greatest Master in Fo Shan, he lives a quiet life where he doesn’t get involved in the fights unless it is for honour, when the war hits, he must learn to survive while using his skills to put food on the table of his family. General Miura is a trained fighter from the Japanese side of the war, he wants competition and holds fighting tournaments for a worthy opponent and his latest choice is in fact Ip Man, he does handle the combat with honour. Jin is an outsider that has never been given a chance, he likes to take people on in combat and will look for an easy way to make money.

PerformanceDonnie Yen has fast become one of the biggest martial artist to come out of China, he doesn’t do the comedy Chan does and is not as flashy as Jet Li but his style shines through this film as he handles to combat effortless as well as the emotional factors needed. Hiroyuki Ikeuchi is great in his role too because he character might be the enemy but he does pull of the honourable side to the battle. Siu-Wong Fan shows us the desperation needed during the war time in his character.

StoryThe story of a Master in martial arts needing to overcome enemies be it general outsiders or the Japanese to give his town hope is something that can be watched and enjoyed by all. This shows the desperate battle to survive the Chinese faced when the Japanese invaded. Seeing how everything plays out you support each decision being made while the enemies are portrayed correctly for the story to unfold too.

Action/Biography/SportsThe action sequences are stunning with fast hitting action going on during every battle scene, the look at this small part of Ip Man’s life shows the impact he made in the war.

SettingsThe settings all play out like you would expect, where we get to see how the war effected everything the people were fighting for.

Scene of the Movie – Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Even though General Miura is the enemy General it would have been interesting to see more of his story as he does seem to fight for honour over blood.

Final ThoughtsThis is another very good history lesson about one of the greatest martial artists the world ever saw, we see how he rallied a national to win a war, bought towns together to defend themselves and never gave up his honour.

 

Overall: Must watch for martial arts fans everywhere.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – Drive Hard (2014)

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Writer: Brigitte Jean Allen, Brian Trenchard-Smith (Screenplay) Chad Law, Evan Law (Story)

Starring: John Cusack, Thomas Jane, Zoe Ventoura, Christopher Morris, Yesse Spence, Jerome Ehlers

 

Plot: A former race car driver is abducted by a mysterious thief and forced to be the wheel-man for a crime that puts them both in the sights of the cops and the mob.


Tagline – This heist is about to go into overdrive.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Switch Your Brain off Movie

 

Story: Drive Hard starts as we learn that former race car driver Peter Roberts (Jane) who runs a driving school is struggling with money as his wife Tessa (Spence) pushing him to take on a new job. When Peter goes for his client it turns out to be American Simon Keller (Cusack) who ends up robbing a bank, forcing Peter to be his getaway driver with cops, feds and gangster chasing them through the Australian countryside.

 

Thoughts on Drive Hard

 

Characters – Peter Roberts is a former winning race car driver that is now struggling to keep his driving school open, he finds himself being selected by Keller to be his getaway driver, where he finds that he is trapped in the middle of a crime needing to work with Keller even though he wants nothing to do with the crime. Keller is the seasoned criminal who forces Peter to be his getaway driver, he tries to make Peter a more forward thinking person, as the two end up on buddy comedy level. Agent Walker is the standard fed who is trying to investigate the robbery, we learn very little about her.

PerformancesThomas Jane is good in a role where he gets to play against the usual strong character we have gotten used to seeing him in and he does work well with the unhinged performance from John Cusack. The rest of the cast as fine without being anything special or memorable.

StoryThe story follows a criminal that makes a former racing driver become his getaway driver and over the course of the robbery they become unlikely friends as the whole of Australia is in search for the two. The two together is great entertainment to watch, but most of the other characters just seem to be in something that can only be described as a series of adverts because the story gets dull with them.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action involves a couple of good chase sequences including one around a city on the Gold Coast of Australia, the comedy comes from the two men working on different sides of the crime as they must learn to work together to escape.

SettingsThe film is set in Australia which is new and refreshing from the usual America setting for a similar story.


Scene of the Movie –
First getaway chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of importance about the rest of the characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard enjoyable action movie that doesn’t have too many brains but will entertain from start to finish.

 

Overall: Action movie 101

Rating