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Martial Arts Tanked Matinee: Where the Movies Come to Drink! Wed, 28 Jun 2017 19:16:12 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb THE PROTECTOR 2 (2013) THE PROTECTOR 2 (2013)

The Buzz:

        The follow on to The Protector (there given a glowing review by Boman), once again somebody has had a large enough break from sanity to steal an elephant from Tony Jaa. But instead of a woman and an old man (who were totally evil and deserved it), the bad guy this time is RZA (thereby negating one of Boman's "double bonus" points he gave the first film) and his crew of bloodthirsty pit fighters straight out of Bloodsport. Violence and acupuncture wielding pixie-girls ensue.


Life of the Party:

        My friends, it is with a heavy heart, and sincere disappointment, that I must say that there is really nothing to write into this section. There are some good fight sequences, and some good scenes that should have made this move every bit as good as the first film. Sadly, however...


Just stick to the music man...just stick to the music

Potential Hangovers:

        Computer effects. We here at Tanked Matinee have had a deep affection for the Baa-Ram-Ewe/Magnolia Distribution films, due primarily to their complete lack of such words. And Tony Jaa had always been (in our eyes) a master of that for modern martial arts films. So imagine my disappointment when in one of the first major fight scenes (really? Dirt-bike fights AGAIN?) several stunts were replaced with computer effects. And they just kept cropping up over and over again throughout the film, alongside obvious wire stunts. Ultimately, this killed everything I loved about Tony Jaa's films. The Ong Bak series, and the first film in this one, are all spectacles to behold for fans of the martial arts, and real stunt-work.

        The Protector 2 should have been good, perhaps even better than the first one. But this frankly mind-boggling decision on the part of the filmmakers spoiled the whole experience for me. Fans of Tony Jaa and good martial arts films are probably best served by just quietly ignoring this film.


The Vibe: Casual Gathering, Man-Cave

        If you must watch this movie, it's probably best served during a themed movie night. Either make it the mid-point "weed out the weak" film, or the very tail-end "I'm too drunk to care anymore" entertainment.

]]> (Enuncia) Martial Arts Fri, 12 Sep 2014 12:00:00 +0000

The Buzz:

        A young martial artist's quest to prove Tai Chi is a true martial art takes him down a dark path when his temple is under threat of being torn down, and a mysterious man offers him large sums of money to participate in underground, high-risk fighting matches.


Life of the Party:

        I'm going to start this with something I'm sure some of you never expected to hear: do NOT let the fact that this stars, and is directed by, Keanu Reeves dissuade you from seeing Man of Tai Chi. He does a really good job in this utterly fantastic film. Also do not let all the reviews I found online in my brief search, apparently written by people who seem to have only a passing familiarity with English and proper grammar, that say this is not a "good" film and should be viewed as such, dissuade you.

        The story of Man of Tai Chi may not be original, but it is compelling, and it is executed very well. We the audience get to see Tiger Chen's descent from an innocent man to a bloodthirsty fighter as he proves to be better and better, against tougher and tougher opponents. It goes to his head, and we get to see that fall from grace, and his eventual struggle for redemption.

        But this is a martial arts film, so you're probably wondering how the fight scenes are. So I'll start that topic by stating that I am not a big fan of "wire-fights" like we see in films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon; I appreciate really raw, real fights like in The Raid: Redemption (side note: the star of that film Iko Uwais makes a special appearance in this film!). Man of Tai Chi scratches that itch for me; the fights are a showcase of real talent and athleticism, with a minimum of wire-stunts and "kung-fu sorcery" [EDITOR'S NOTE: which is still preferable to "kung-fu treachery"]. What little there is was largely minimal (except for one point I'll make later).

        Overall if you're a fan of martial arts films, Man of Tai Chi is a solid entry and worth your consideration.


I think they missed an opportunity to cast Billy Blanks in this role...

Potential Hangovers:

        If I had to make a complaint about this film, it's the one inclusion of "kung-fu sorcery" that just comes completely out of left field. I don't want to spoil too much here, but it kind of made the final fight a bit of a letdown. It's a minor point, and maybe on a second viewing I could change my mind, but when it happened I was left a little confused.


The Vibe: Casual Gathering

        Man of Tai Chi is appropriate for most viewing styles besides "large party," but I believe that it's best enjoyed with small group for one of your movie-night events, and a few drinks. If you like films like Ong Bak or The Raid, then Man of Tai Chi may very well be for you.



+ Very good martial arts

+ Minimal wires and "sorcery"

+ Properly good film

- One bit of "sorcery" did seem completely out of place

]]> (Enuncia) Martial Arts Wed, 18 Dec 2013 19:55:31 +0000

The Buzz


     Korean pop star Rain plays a ninja in a high-budget version of an 80s ninja movie. Hits every trope you've come to expect: fights in burning houses, betrayal by an entire foot clan, a student/master duel; you name it, this movie's got it. It's incredibly predictable in terms of plot, and the final twist is laughably simple and easy to forecast. This is a very, very dumb movie. And it was one of my favorite movies to come out in 2009.


The Life of the Party


     Okay, so you likely read that whole above paragraph of me shitting on Ninja Assassin. The fact is that those awful ninja movies in the 80s were a beloved movement for a reason. Lots, and lots, and lots of fight scenes and ninja murder are prevalent in this flick. The visuals are eye-poppingly cutting edge, and the choreography is utterly badass. I mean, it's pretty easy to get a stunt double when your lead character is a dude wearing a ninja wrap the whole movie. The music is well placed, and the script (although utterly silly) is well delivered. Honestly, this is the type of movie that would have really been benefited by being in RealD in theaters because of how many damn ninja stars get thrown all over the place. Also, this movie continues to prove the rule that a single ninja is invincible (he literally wishes himself back to health after looking like he got in a chest bump contest with a supermarket meat shaver), but a plurality of ninjas falls like a house of cards. He seriously spends the whole movie shittin' on ninjas.


Potential Hangovers


     The plot is so formulaic that I'm surprised they didn't add some sort of meta element making fun of exactly how formulaic it is. Oh look, it's the top of a skyscraper, an awesome looking warehouse, or a burning dojo, etc. I wonder if they're going to have another slow-motion fight scene in here. It's so silly that, in my opinion, it adds to the value of the movie. I could definitely see why that wouldn't be the case for you, though. This movie is also incredibly violent. It's all hyper stylized, 300 type violence, but if you don't like the idea of ninjas stabbing, slicing, and dicing each other while looking really, really cool, then this movie just isn't going to be your thing. Go have a cosmo for 90 minutes and talk about feels or something. Nary a judgment shall pass between us.


The Vibe: Guy's Night, Large Party


     It shouldn't be a surprise that a movie called Ninja Assassin would go well with wings, beer, and likely lots of ass-rips. You get exactly what you came for, which is ninjas assassinating. There is zero complexity to this film and it's very exciting and visually stimulating. This fact also makes it an easy recommendation for large parties as well. Ninja films are always crowd pleasers, and as simple as this one is, it's incredibly competent. If you're in the mood for a whole lot of dishonorable murdering, check out Ninja Assassin!



+ Ninja murder

+ Like, a whole lot of it

+ And it looks and sounds really cool

- But there's not much else

+/- God the plot is so damn silly



Once when someone dies

(Hard mode) Every time someone gets cut (seriously, that's all the rules this movie needs)

]]> (JHBoman) Martial Arts Fri, 04 Oct 2013 14:13:57 +0000

The Buzz

    Another Tanked Matinee classic. In his breakout role, Tony Jaa plays Ting, a muay Thai monk in a small village with a patron god named Ong Bak, which is represented by a golden statue in a temple. A con man steals its head to sell on the black market, and Ting goes to get it back, punching everybody in the process. With brutal martial arts, really impressive free-running, and lots of eye-popping stunts, there is a lot in this movie to make it an easy recommendation. It was the movie that made the world forget about Enter the Dragon's style of chop sockey (as much as we love that movie).


 The Life of the Party

     Forget strings, forget the paddle ball slapping WOOCHAW sound effects, and forget weaksauce character development. THIS is a martial arts movie that stands proudly with appeal outside its genre. There is tons of explosive action, plot development, and actual nuance. This is a great example of a filmmaking team making great decisions with their money. Example: they could have done a lackluster car chase like some Jackie Chan movies tend to do, or they could make what could be argued to be the best rickshaw chase of all time. I will leave you to determine which course they picked. The parkour and choreography is acrobatic (this, it definitely has in common with Jackie Chan). It's so well done, that they actually do replays in the film for the same trick. It is silly, but demonstrates that Jaa is actually performing as opposed to it being a trick of the camera. I really don't want to ruin the jaw-dropping aspect to some of the stunts, because a lot of them are shockingly jarring. Suffice it to say, if you saw Jaa's follow up The Protectoryou know what you're in for. Cinematic, interesting, varied, talented, and lightning fast martial arts and a lot of people getting kicked through doors.


Potential Drawbacks

     Problems one through thirty; the fucking lead girl's voice. It is like Gilbert Gottfried the Thai woman. I like her character development and she is an important character to the story, but she sounds like Ellen Degeneres with a goddamned cold. Other than that, the plot may seem kindof stretched, but it is still well put together, thoughtful, meaningful, and engrossing. In a lot of martial arts movies, the acting sucks. Not so much in this one. That is fairly uncommon. This film doesn't have a ton of flaws unless people getting elbowed all up in the face offends you. Or you hate EXPLOSIVE RICKSHAW ACTION!!!

The Vibe: Man-Cave, Large Party, Casual Gathering

    This is the type of movie you can root for the entire way. A naive monk is forced to fight a whole bunch of self-admitted evil people in tons of interesting locations in tons of interesting ways. That is pretty cut and dried, and they run with it. The villains are very bad, and they all eventually get punched in the face. The movie gets that part right and then does a whole slurry of other ambitious choices right. Tony Jaa is really, really talented. It's a quality experience to cheer for. I guarantee your party will agree.



+ Explosive muay Thai!

+ Explosive parkour!

+ Explosive rickshaws!

- Holy god please girl stop talking! It feels like a screwdrive in my ear!

- Some of the special effects are actually extra-special effects. You'll know. But it won't distract you.


Drink when:

- The villain uses his vibrator to talk. Yep.

- A rickshaw is decommissioned

- Someone gets knocked out 

Hard mode: take a shot when Ting has a fight people bet on


]]> (JHBoman) Martial Arts Fri, 26 Jul 2013 15:25:58 +0000

The Buzz

Cooler poster, frankly.

     A young Tony Jaa with nothing to lose (except a couple elephants) and everything to prove (by punching people through doors) sets out on a course of revenge to beat up an old woman and elderly man, who I promise are evil and deserve it. Its Thai name is Tom Yum Goong after the restaurant in the movie; The Protector I guess just means protector of elephants? The plot is kindof lost in translation, but the martial arts are not. Let me stress; this is one of our favorite martial arts movies. I'm pretty sure most of the extras died of elbow-impact-related injuries. No wires, no bullshit, nothing but brutal 8-points muay-in-the-big-city mayhem for the right around 90 minutes it runs. Also, the soundtrack was by the RZA. Bonus! And he doesn't show up in the movie. Double Bonus!


The Life of the Party

    The action in this movie is mindbending and brutal. This is a Baa-Ram-Ewe and Magnolia distribution (much like Chocolate, another one we love) that followed right on the heels of Tony Jaa's mainstream breakout Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior. It follows in the same vein; crushing blows, flowery fight scenes, and a body count that looks like Thai River City Ransom. It is silly, nonsensical fun, the choreography is lightning fast, and (unlike Ong Bak), the environments are varied and spectacular. The last fight scene in particular may be my favorite. We lovingly refer to it as the House of 1000 Broken Limbs scene. There is another scene that is the longest no-cut fight scene in all of movie history, so it has that going for it. Oh, and Tony Jaa doesn't open a door once in the whole movie. He only goes into closed rooms by kicking people through the door. Seriously. He does it like eight times.




Potential Hangovers

     This movie is not for everyone, even some martial arts fans. If you like chop sockey silliness and the paddle-slapping sound effects they used, this is like Saving Private Ryan of flowery martial arts movies. The impacts feel real and totally make you cringe. A plus for some. Not as much for others. Secondarily, the story is worthless. It's pretty much an intro cutscene before someone gets kicked through a door, and it doesn't really stop after that. At the end at the big reveal, you'll probably scratch your head and wonder why it matters, but then Tony Jaa breaks all the men with his elbows and you forget that the story kindof sucks.


The Vibe: Man-Cave, Group Experience

Looks like Bruce Lee    This is a movie that demands to be cheered at. It is like Cirque du Soleil of Muay Thai. The fights are nuts, the enemies rival video game characters in how EXTREEEEEEEEEME they are (you will cry about how literal that is in one of the first fights), and it never lets go of the viewer's attention. Some may call this ADD entertainment. I call it excellent beer-chugging entertainment. Put this one on for your guy friends or your raucous party demanding to be entertained by an acrobatic cacophony of punches. It will punch you through a door.



 + Fists

+ Elbows

+ And Knees

+ Oh my, that is a huge guy, what is he, like seven foot fourteen?

- Subtitles (but so few actual lines of dialogue that you may not notice)

- Awful story (I mean seriously, they have the most ill-advised 3D sequence ever)


Drinking Game Suggestions

Drink 1 when they would probably have gone to the hospital

Drink 2 when someone probably died from that impact

Chug heartily when someone in the room cringes verbally

Hard Mode: Take a shot every time every time Tony Jaa uses a person to enter a room



]]> (JHBoman) Martial Arts Wed, 10 Jul 2013 22:09:36 +0000

The Buzz:

     Jack Burton is your average truck-drivin’ man who seems to always find himself in the strangest of circumstances.  While trying to collect on a debt from his good friend he stumbles upon a kidnapping involving his good friend’s fiancée.  This escalates very quickly into uncovering Chinese gang warfare in the heart of San Francisco and an ancient evil named David Lo Pan.  The film quickly escalates into a martial arts comedy unlike anything you have ever seen.  You may say is it even better than My Name is Bruce; this film is the one of the best things to come out of the 80’s and a real treat.







Life of the Party:

     Kurt Russell makes this movie an instant classic with his Jack Burton character between great one liners and his amazing disbelief of what he is seeing is amazing.  Also, James Hong is great as Lo Pan, the seemingly immortal crime lord/wizard. He is great as both the 7 foot monster and as the ages-old man.  The action sequences are very well choreographed and add to the overall humor behind the film.  Another great part of the film are the characters known as “The Storms,” who use magic in their Kung-Fu. They literally shoot lightning from their fingertips.  I also love the fact that Jack Burton (“The Hero”) has almost no part in the final battle considering he is either knocked out or trapped beneath an armored guard.  And let’s face it; the final showdown between Lo Pan and Burton is epic and easily the most memorable part of the film [I don't know, dude; there are, like, two dozen parts that are "easily the most memorable part of the film." - Editor].


 *Insert Asian Slant-Eyed Joke Here*


Possible Hangovers:

     The film is very tongue-in-cheek and never takes itself too seriously, so it may lose some viewers.  The camp is strong with this one as well, very much a product of the 80’s.  It acts like it wants you to take the story seriously sometimes then turns around and gives you something you can’t possibly take seriously.  Also there are a few times when it takes for granted that you know and understand Chinese folklore, and it would have helped to have at least some explanation.  Other than that, it’s a fun ride!


 What a Hot-Head!


The Vibe: Casual Gathering

     I love this film and would gladly watch it by myself on a constant loop, but luckily we are not all bat-shit crazy.  This film would be great as part of a John Carpenter or Kurt Russell marathon with a few good friends.  This could also work with a larger group as it is an easy film to show a newbie, low risk and a high reward.  If you have not seen this film please go out of your way to see it immediately. 





+ John Carpenter

+ Kurt Russell

+ Martial Arts Comedy

+ Magic Kung-Fu

- Very 80s Camp


Drinking Games:

~ Drink every time Jack uses 3rd Person

~ Drink when crazy shit goes down 

~ Drink when a punch is thrown   

]]> (Nick Schmidt) Martial Arts Mon, 15 Apr 2013 04:23:29 +0000
TAI CHI 0 (2012) TAI CHI 0 (2012)

The Buzz:

     Kung Fu vs. Steampunk! That’s all you really need to know!

     ...Oh, okay, guess we can go a little more in-depth with the plot synopsis. The titular Tai Chi 0 is a young man known as “The Freak,” whose strange deformity gives him supernatural fighting prowess, but is slowly killing him. Freak’s only hope for survival is to study the art of “internal kung fu,” a technique known only by one small village, which just happens to have fallen under the ruthless gaze of the British East India Company and its steam-powered death machines.



Life of the Party (Positives):

     Much like the last Chinese movie I wrote about, Painted Skin: the Resurrection, one of the greatest strengths of Tai Chi 0 is its visuals, though this spectacle is interesting for reasons beyond the beautifully-colored, slow motion acrobatics that modern martial arts fans have grown accustomed to. Tai Chi 0's cinematography is highly inventive, and incorporates modern framing devices that are entertaining simply for how jarringly out of place they are in the setting. Like Crank, the story is presented almost like a live-action video game, with animation overlays and random bits of titling that provide interesting background information or just add intensity to a scene. One memorable segment involves the protagonist undergoing a long series of martial arts challenges, but rather than simply montaging them together, the movie presents each one as a different video game level, complete with character stats, animated objective markers, and I'm pretty sure I saw a health bar at one point. The credits are also very charming, as they continue throughout the entire movie gleefully introducing each new character, complete with interesting bits of trivia about the actor. The end result is like having a martial arts expert friend sitting next to you, who can point out that this actor was 2010 National Wu Shu Champion or that that old guy there was famous in '70s kung-fu flicks or whatever - it's totally unnecessary, but fun.



     Aside from the quirky meta-elements, the kung fu vs. steampunk premise provides for loads of awesomeness as well. Midway through the movie, the evil railroad barons reveal their secret weapon, which is basically the smoke-belching cast-iron great grandpa of the Technodrome. The attention to detail for this prop, both the outside of it and the whirling, steam-jetting, cog-laden interior set, makes every scene involving it amazingly rich and menacing. This machine is what the hokey-looking spider robot from Wild Wild West was trying to be, but instead of Will Smith quipping his way through fights, we get intricate Jackie Chan-style stuntwork and bone-crunching wuxia action between the grinding gears. Even without the steampunk elements, though, every fight in this film is beautifully shot and impressively performed, with plenty of "Ooh!" moments when a character gets his ass kicked especially hard. The Chinese guy vs. British guy fist-fights aren't quite as brutal as in the similarly-styled Ip Man movies, but they come pretty close.



Potential Hangovers (Negatives):

     The biggest flaw this movie has is that for the most part, you don't really like the characters that are supposed to be the protagonists. We've all seen the "tiny rural town defends their traditional way of life from rampant industrialization" story before, and there's nothing wrong with that concept, but the motivations of the villagers really ARE backward, overly conservative, and downright selfish. The entire plot basically revolves around the village's special tai chi style, which is never taught to outsiders - nobody will allow Freak to learn it, even when it's literally the only thing that can save his life. The villain, on the other hand, is only motivated to take revenge because he was ridiculed throughout his childhood for not knowing kung fu... ALSO because the village elders refused to teach him. I suppose it's good for the characters' relationships to be multifaceted and complex, but when giant robots start crushing houses, it's hard to feel like the townsfolk aren't just reaping what they've sewn with their cruelty and xenophobia. There's maintaining your small-town traditions, and then there's being John Lithgow in Footloose - unfortunately, the villagers fall deep enough into the latter category that it's kinda hard to root for them. It's a good thing that Freak is such a heroically nice guy, or else there’d be no likeable characters at all.


The Vibe – Casual Gathering, Guys’ Night

     If I had to describe Tai Chi 0 in brief, it would be "laugh-out-loud awesome;" there are so many cool things on display that you can't help having an instinctive physical reaction to them. The concept of kung fu vs. steampunk is novel enough to attract most people, but rather than rest on its cool premise, the movie ups its game with inventive storytelling and loads of nifty little surprises right out of the gate. Watch this movie with some action-loving friends, then try to find something to do while you wait for Part 2 to become available, because you'll want to watch that one, too.


+ High-quality ass-kicking in the modern martial arts style

+ The best live action execution of “steampunk” I’ve ever seen

+ Quirky visual gags and trivia add hilarious sprinkles to an already awesome cake

- Overly provincial characters make it so you almost want to root for the villain instead


Drinking Game Ideas:

~Drink every time Freak gets beaten up (drink twice if it's by a woman or child)

~Drink for each "Pop Up Video" trivia credit

~Drink whenever someone says “Three Blossoms on the Crown”

~Drink each time the movie switches from live action to animation or vice versa

~Drink whenever you see gears turning

]]> (Alex Lane) Martial Arts Thu, 04 Apr 2013 20:28:21 +0000


The Buzz: 

Detective Yutaka Daimon, with the help of his transforming robot brother Zaborgar,  fight against the evil Sigma organization. Sigma is on a quest to harvest the DNA of prominent businessmen in order to create their most powerful robotic weapon yet…..

bossfightAny movie with boss fights is a winner in my book


The Life of the Party:

This movie is god damn ridiculous!!! The storyline is basically this:  Yutaka Daimon’s father discovers a new element that can turn people into cyborgs. The Sigma corp attempts to steal the secret element but kill his father in the process. Daimon, who had always been unappreciated by his father, focuses all his efforts into being a martial artist and detective.  During this time, he finds out that his father used family DNA to create a cyborg partner for his son. AND SHIT GETS REAL!!!! 

The duo use their kung pow awesomeness to put the smack down on random baddies and other cyborgs.  The whole thing has an anime/power rangers/ultraman feel to it and never ceases to be hilarious. Especially when the main character falls on his ass trying to be cool.

Inevitably there is a love interest that shows herself… and of course she is an evil cyborg.

Miss Borg

USB my valentine?

What follows is quite possibly one of the most oddly arousing sex scenes in any movie I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen Joe Dirt.  The two have a crazy love babybot that is raised to be evil by the Sigma corp. Of course we don’t know this until many years later when babybot grows up and comes looking for daddy.

THEN things get absolutely ridiculous.


Potential Hangovers:

The storyline is butt-fuck insane. It’s kind of hard to follow at points but who really cares?  Also, subtitles aren’t everyone’s favorite thing.


936full-karate--robo-zaborgar-screenshotIn Japan, all the Power Rangers  were the yellow one

The Vibe:

Watch this with a group of people and a fair supply of your favorite booze, I promise you will be rolling the entire movie. 



+fucking hysterical
+some pretty awesome fights scene
-I want more of this movie 


1: Drink every time someone names an attack
2: Drink everytime a cyborg dies

]]> (Ben Marsh) Martial Arts Thu, 21 Mar 2013 00:59:09 +0000

The Buzz:

     Back in a mystical time known only to historians as the 80’s, there was this phenomenon where people made mini-movies set to music and put them on TV.  Head of Motown records Berry Gordy took advantage of this craze and made films such as Mahogany and The Wiz.  This was his final feature film and told the story of Bruce Leroy, an aspiring martial artist trying to reach the final level and receive “the glow”.  In order to achieve this he must stand up to Sho ‘Nuff the Shogun of Harlem and save his girlfriend from the clutches of the evil Eddie Arkanian.












The Life of the Party:

     The movie is a fun mix of comedy and martial arts, and it has that dreamy feel that Berry Gordy lends to his films thanks to the music he has access to for the soundtrack.  For an inexperienced cast they do a really good job overall at keeping the viewer interested; arguably the best part is played by Julius Carey as Sho ‘Nuff who is comic greatness in his role.  The martial arts take a back seat in this film, although many of the actors were black belts or at least moderately trained.  Some of the best parts come from comedy, such as the Chinese thugs throwing dice and making black references and Bruce Leroy speaking to them like a Chinese master, classic.  And even though the glow effects are pedestrian they really work in this film, and the original song just ties it all together.  Also it was Chazz Palminteri’s first feature film and features a very young William H. Macy in small roles, so that’s neat.


Who Da Master?!


Possible Hangovers:

     This is a black martial arts movie from the 80’s made by Berry Gordy of Motown records, the things that make it good also provide a downside to your casual viewer.  The film is just odd enough that if you don’t know about it then there is almost no chance you will run across it in your regular viewing.  It also has Vanity in it, who although fairly hot is one of the worst actresses of the time period and falls flat as the damsel in distress.  The film is uneven at times and isn’t meant to be taken seriously; that alone can turn some people off.


I'm sorry son, you have your stereotypes all mixed up... 


The Vibe: Casual Gathering

     I first saw this movie in a friend’s dorm room with a couple friends on VHS, and seeing it like that was perfect; friends make this movie better and once you are hooked you will spread the film to those you know.  I think drinks are appropriate for a viewing, but not necessary.  I would drink every time somebody glows or whenever a Bruce Lee reference is made (there are plenty of homages).  Enjoy this first with friends, and then again by yourself; I don’t think it ever gets old.



+ Soundtrack is Great!

+ Sho ‘Nuff

+ The Glow Effect

+ A Feel Good Film

- Vanity

- Pacing Issues 

]]> (Nick Schmidt) Martial Arts Sun, 03 Mar 2013 12:00:00 +0000
IP MAN (2008) IP MAN (2008)

The Buzz:     

     Ip Man (directed by Wilson Yip and starring Donnie Yen) is a Chinese historical martial arts movie that is based very loosely on the life of Yip Man, the first martial arts grandmaster to teach the style of Wing Chun, and later on teacher of Bruce Lee. The film follows the story of Ip Man and the city of Fo Shan during the Second World War as they battle to hold the city's honour against the invading Japanese.     

No big wooden poles were hurt in the making of this film.


Life of the Party:     

     Ip Man is a calm and always collected Kung Fu Grandmaster who lives out his days peacefully with his wife and son in his gigantic house, and passes the time by beating up a wooden cactus in his living room. He is a man of honour and serenity but one who can deal out Kung Fu beatings like they are going out of style (or in the case of this film being made redundant by guns). Fo Shan, the city in which Ip Man resides, is a city enamoured with martial arts, and after this film I expect that you will be too; within the first half an hour we are treated to multiple breathtakingly impressive fight scenes that continue to impress throughout the film. Whilst the movie constructs endlessly dazzling feats of Kung Fu, it does not substitute it for story. The characters seem archetypal at first, but the start of the war a third of the way through the movie brings out interesting layers of conflict for the citizens of fo Shan, who must put their survival before their honour. The war also brings a camera filter that makes everything look greyish; I guess that the invading Japanese were so scary that the colours ran away. Having said that the cinematography is effective and natural, and supports both the fight scenes and the dramatic scenes well. The film also sports an epic score that is impressive but not overused.

"My stick is bigger than your stick..."

Potential Hangovers:     

     The subtitles do make the dialogue a little stilted and detracts a little bit from what else is quite a poetic movie, poetry backed up with lots and lots of punching. The ending, which could seem redeeming for some could be a bit cheesy for others, and there is a group Kung Fu training montage which reminded me of that viral video of those prisoners dancing to thriller.


The Vibe – Man-Cave – Solo Experience – Deep thoughts:     

     The Kung Fu fun is frequent and brilliant enough that the film could be enjoyed casually in a group, but keep in mind that this movie is damn bleak. Whilst it does have an uplifting ending it definitely aint a feel good flick, and there is a dangerous chance that some thought in you may be provoked.



+ Jaw dropping kung fu awesomeness.     

+ More jaw dropping Kung Fu awesomeness.     

+ Even more jaw dropping kung fu awesomeness (seriously that shit is amazing).     

- A bit of a sausage fest, there is only 1 female character in the whole thing.    

- In my opinion the ending is a little bit too heart-warming compared to the mood of the rest of the film.

]]> (Oliver Treasure-Smith) Martial Arts Fri, 01 Mar 2013 12:00:00 +0000