Ip Man, the trainer of Bruce Lee in Wing Chun martial arts style. One of the true Grandmasters that has left a legacy all martial arts film fans must appreciate. Here comes a film from Wilson Yip, a director who has brought us Donnie Yen in the forms of Dragon Tiger Gate and Flash Point. But this film has a different pace and style. More elegant than other kung fu films, this movie flows in the same Ki as Fearless with Jet Li. I think here’s a point where I’m going to list my favorite martial artists just to get it out there. Let me know what you think of this list:
1. Tony Jaa (that’s a given, he got me into martial arts)
2. Jeeja Yanin (she’s a girl who can Muay Thai kick ass)
That is a killer stare right there.
3. Donnie Yen (straight masterful ever since I saw him in Iron Monkey)
4. Jet Li (straight destructive martial artist who has made it big in American films)
5. Dan Chupong (this dude is not as well known as Tony Jaa, but his films are just as brutal as Jaa)
I want me one of those…
6. Jackie Chan (all his movies are entertaining. Me and my roommate love Rush Hour!)
7. Iko Uwais (up and comer from Thailand. He’s in the most anticipated film for me this year, The Raid: Redemption)
8. Panna Rittikrai (this guy helped teach Tony Jaa all he knows, elderly Asian master)
9. Bruce Lee (he’s gotta be on this list somewhere! He’s ballin’ hard!)
10. Kazu Patrick Tang (this dude rocked shit in Raging Phoenix and Bangkok Knockout! Most handsome Thai man in martial arts)
The single greatest scene in the film.
And there it is. Hate me for listing Bruce Lee so low, but he’s on there. And, after watching this movie, I have gained all the more respect for Ip Man and Bruce Lee and what they do and stand for.
This film is a heartfelt one, and may bring a tear to your eye. During the Sino-Japanese War, Fo Shan is a city of prosperity until the Japanese invade and take over. Ip Man (Donnie Yen) is a respected martial arts master who takes people to school on a daily basis. He and his family lose everything after the invasion and it is up to Ip Man to reclaim his honor and the honor of the Chinese people in this tale of inspiration. I can’t wait to see what they do with the next one.
Shit’s about to pop off.
There were a lot of things about this movie that surprised me. Unlike the traditional shoddy acting from the martial artists in films like this, there’s none of that. Only good acting and prideful performances. Donnie Yen always surprises me as a showman first and, well, a martial arts master also first. He can perform well and with honor and dignity (as he did in this role) and kick the shit out of people. It’s really refreshing to see an aging martial arts actor gracefully enter the older years with poise and the ability to still perform at a younger level with fire and passion.
This movie also pulls back the reins on the stylistic elements of Kung Fu films. You expect the people flying from rooftop to rooftop and kicks that send people flying, but not so much in this film. In this
return to reality, Donnie Yen styles down his brutal kicks and flips to hone in on a form that is more elegant, precise, and lethal. I had a jaw dropping moment when Ip Man takes on 10 Japanese martial artists at once and probably kills about half of them with these precise little blows. You have to see it to believe it.
Get on dat destruction.
Other than that, this movie has a moving soundtrack, a strangely dubbed over audio track, and fairly accurate subtitles. It’s inspirational and humbling, informing you on one of the greatest martial artists of all time. It’s one of those films you see that makes you want to know more, and reminds you why you love to watch Kung Fu films. Ip Man all the way! 8.4 out of 10.
1 Comment | tags: American films, Bangkok Knockout, Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee's trainer, brutal, brutal kicks and flips, Chinese people, Dan Chupong, different pace and style, dignity, director, Donnie Yen, Dragon Tiger Gate, dubbed over audio, elderly Asian master, elegant, favorite martial artists, Fearless, film fans, fire and passion, Flash Point, Fo Shan, good acting, Grandmaster, handsome, heartfelt, honor, humbling, Iko Uwais, inspiring, invasion, Ip Man, Iron Monkey, Jackie Chan, Japanese, jaw dropping moments, Jeeja Yanin, Jet Li, Kazu Patrick Tang, Ki, Kick Ass, Kung Fu, legacy, martial arts style, moving soundtrack, Muay-Thai, Panna Rittikrai, poise and ability, precise and lethal, prideful, Raging Phoenix, Rush Hour series, showman, Sino-Japanese War, stylistic, subtitles, surprising film, Thailand, The Raid: Redemption, Tony Jaa, true master, Wilson Yip, Wing Chun | posted in Movies
In one of the more visually stunning and passion filled Muay Thai martial arts films I’ve seen, Yanin Vismistananda performs far better than I could have expected. As the leading heroine in Raging Phoenix (AKA, Jeeja Due Suai Du), Yanin shows more heart and courage (with some more brutal and flashy moves) than she did in Chocolate (although I love that movie). Panna Rittikrai does it again with some amazing stunt coordination in this one.
Deu (Yanin: also spelled Dew for some reason…) is a down and out on her luck drummer in a punk band. She has scummy boyfriends and is constantly being fooled. (She’ll say this at length in the movie.) With trust issues and an appetite for the drink, Deu gets herself in some trouble. After being chased down in a parking structure, Deu
She is both pretty and deadly.
gets away by chance with the help of a devilishly good looking and bearded Thai man (He’s also in Bangkok Knockout. I didn’t know he was one of Panna’s main boys, but Pod is in this one too… Review coming much later). He turns out to be called Sanim (Kazu Patrick Tang) and he’s good at taking down thugs with bladed kangaroo legs.
Look at that handsome man. Who wouldn’t fall for that?
With bringing her back to their hideout, Sanim encounters some unexpected collateral. Deu meets Pig Shit (Nui Saendaeng) and Dog Shit (Sompong Lertwimonkaisom), two fellow fighters with an agenda. What Deu becomes so fascinated with is a drunken style of fighting (made up for the film) known as Meyraiyuth. With montage scenes and lots of drinking, Deu and the gang take on the Jaguar Gang, a bunch of thugs looking to kidnap women just like Deu for nefarious purposes.
What I liked most about this movie was the interesting new style of fighting. Called Meyraiyuth, this badass feet of fury technique is actually an infusion. Mix classically ballin’ brutal Muay Thai finishing moves with a Capoeira dancing style that allows you to outwit your enemy and you can easily evade attacks with a lot of trauma. There are some great fight locations and a lot of newly
Pretty dope, right?
invented kicks and finishing moves that always surprise me in these Muay Thai action films. When you see one of these you expect the same old stuff, but Panna Rittikrai always has something new up his sleeve.
This was news to me too.
The acting was fine in this one, with the exception of a few actors. But that’s not what these movies are about, right? It’s about the artful technique of martial arts. It’s got the word “arts” right in there. Who cares about the plot and talking if the fans aren’t there for that? There were some cheesy CG effects and one or two strange other things, but the movie held its own as a story of love, loss, and the channeling of pain into what you do with your life. Yanin “Jeeja” sold it and it all worked out in the end.
And the end is what I wanna talk about. I’m used to these Muay Thai films with the main hero busting down hundreds of guys with lethal finishing moves, one right after the other. But this movie focused on a handful of major fighters taking on their counterparts in some long, well developed fight scenes. And that’s what makes the end so brutal. In her pain and despair, Yanin channels death into her palms and DESTROYS the main villain. She absolutely does some of the best, most lethal moves I’ve ever seen that are actually doable in the realm of physics. I was welling up with tears with the impassioned music and the fists ripping across the screen. That doesn’t happen often, but I know when I’ve found a new favorite fight scene. So, with that in mind, I give Raging Phoenix a lethal 7.6 out of 10.
That’s a beauty. Right to your face.
2 Comments | tags: actors, amazing stunt coordination, artful technique, Bangkok Knockout, bladed legs, brutal, Capoeira, chase scene, cheesy CG effects, Chocolate, counterparts, dancing style, death, detroys, Deu, Dew, Dog Shit, down and out, drinking, drummer, drunken fighting, far better, favorite fight scene, finishing moves, fists of fury, flashy moves, fooled, good looking, great ending, great fight locations, handsome Thai man, heart and courage, held its own, hideout, impassioned music, infusion, Jaguar Gang, Jeeja, Jeeja Due Suai Du, Kangaroo, Kazu Patrick Tang, kicks, kidnapping, leading heroine, lethal, loss, love, main villain, major fighters, Martial Arts, Meyraiyuth, montage scenes, Muay-Thai, new fighting style, Nui Saendaeng, pain, palms, Panna Rittikrai, passion filled, Passion in Drunkeness, physics, Pig Shit, plot doesn't matter, Pod, punk band, Raging Phoenix, Sanim, scummy boyfriends, Sompong Lertwimonkaisom, tear filled joy, trust issues, visually stunning, well developed, with an agenda, women trafficking, Yanin Vismistananda | posted in Movies