Kung Fu Yoga Movie Review

At the age of 62, Jackie Chan can still make fluid action comedy.

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Directed by Stanley Tong (The Myth and Rumble in the Bronx), Jackie Chan’s next movie brings us to countries all over the world.

The movie revolves around archaeologist Jack (Jackie Chan), who was hired by another professor, Ashmita (Disha Patani), to retrieve the lost Magadha treasure in Tibet. Also on the hunt is an Indian Randall (Sonu Sood).

First of all, it is always nice to see Jackie Chan perform stunts. Lately, there are scenes which are obvious that Jackie used a wire to do a flip. But considering his age, he can still do a lot of things more than most people in my age*.

The fight scenes were well-choreographed, as expected from a Jackie Chan movie. Each execution can be easily followed…something most modern Hollywood movies are forgetting to do.

Jackie brings some of his usual gags and antics in this movie. If you have watched a lot of Jackie Chan movies/films, you would have a pretty good idea what would happen next in some scenes/fights. This would either make you anticipate or have that “meh, so that before” feel.

SPOILER ALERT

But the movie just feels like it was made because Jackie happens to be free at the time. Some of the humor were cheap and lazy. The change of the antagonist’s worldview was very sudden and was not given a proper scene to digest it. It’s just “Hey, you’re good now.”

BUT THEN THE MUSIC HITS AT THE END. And here I am asking, “Wait a minute, is this a sequel to The Myth???” Well, in my research there are no indications that it is a sequel to the said film. Looking back, however, makes me realize that it is! Last time I marked out of a movie’s ending was Final Destination 5.

The last scene just came straight out of a typical Bollywood movie, and I love it! It was so enjoyable to watch that for the remainder of the dance you forgot the problems you had with the movie.

If you’re a Jackie Chan fan, Kung Fu Yoga is still a fun movie to watch, but objectively speaking only the action pieces AND that last scene were the good things here. So, with a bit of reluctance, I, a Jackie Chan fan, would say this movie is …

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

*24 yo

 

John Wick: Chapter 2 Film Review

After the 2014 surprise action hit, Keanu Reeves returns as “Death’s very emissary”, John Wick.

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Almost three years after the first film, Chad Stahelski, David Leitch (now as producer only), Keanu Reeves, and other returning cast members join forces once again to give us this action packed film full of entertainment and headshots.

Set shortly after the end of the first film, John Wick (Reeves) is visited by Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scarmarcio), the man who helped him retire/live a normal life. He asks Wick to assassinate a high ranking official of an assassins’ guild in order to seize control of it. Bound by a blood oath or mark, Wick reluctantly agrees.

The best thing about the John Wick franchise is its action sequences and fight scenes. Every scene of gun-fu and hand to hand combat screams of action and adrenaline. Wonderfully choreographed shoot ’em up made shooting someone a crimson poetry in motion. Not surprisingly, the action gets better and bigger. And we finally see Wick dispatch someone with a pencil!

The music provided by Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard contributes well to the final product. The action scenes feel more engaging as each beat or note echoes.

But none of the action would sell to the audience if not for Keanu Reeves. This guy delivers in every scene he is in. Watching some of his training in Youtube made the action scenes all the more believable. It only shows how far Reeves is willing to go to make this film as authentic as possible. Also, Reeves’ stoic expression is just perfect for Wick’s character.

Lastly, I just love how the film unwraps the hidden world of assassins for the second time. It presents new places, new people, and new processes that are involved in Wick’s world. The world-building and mythos of the two films are incredible.

The only negative thing I can think about is Wick’s motivation to go back to his Boogeyman ways. In the first film, his motivation was clear: vengeance. In this movie, it took a lot of minutes to truly flesh it out.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is a fun and engaging shoot ’em up action film that surpassed the intensity level of the first one, but lacks the depth of character motivation. This film, however, is still…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

Skiptrace Movie Review

After almost half a year of delay, Jackie Chan’s latest film makes its way to the big screen.

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Jackie Chan seems to be a tag team specialist. This time, he is with Jackass frontrunner Johnny Knoxville. Do they have the same chemistry as Chan and Tucker/Chan and Wilson?

The movie is about Hong Kong police Benny Chan (Chan) attempting to get American gambler Connor Watts (Knoxville) back to Hong Kong to cleanse the reputation of his goddaughter, Samantha (Fan Bingbing), who has been accused of stealing a million dollars. Things went sour later on as Chan discovers a lead on The Matador case, which he has obsessively followed for 9 years since the death of his partner, Sam’s dad.

Jackie brings his brand of action and comedy for the nth time, and he delivered yet again. Anything is a weapon in Jackie’s eyes. Action choreography is good, though clearly not on the same level to an average Jackie Chan movie. However, I am still impressed how he can do some stunts on his own. This guy is 62 years old!

As expected much of the humor relies on the two leads. Some were spot on; some were downright flat. The scene where the horse took a dump makes me crack up just by thinking about it. Some scenes looked like Knoxville was just filming it for the paycheck though.

The movie suffers from sub-plotosis. There was simply too much small stories crammed together to make this movie. For example, Watts’ sub-plot was unnecessary.

But my biggest issue was the character of Watts. His character change has not been explored much to the point that it looked natural… or at least realistic. It just seemed so sudden.

Skiptrace is not as good as regular Jackie Chan movies… not as good with the buddy chemistry, humor, and even action. For that, this movie is…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

Ip Man 3 Film Review

Director Wilson Yip and action star Donnie Yen return for the latest installment of the film franchise that made the Wing Chun martial art more popular than ever.

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After a 5 year hiatus and a slew of Ip Man/Wing Chun movies, the Ip Man film franchise returns to prove that it is the OG of Wing Chun movies. The tandem of director Wilson Yip and actor/martial artist Donnie Yen has never failed when it comes to delivering well-executed action films*, so the 3rd Ip Man film should be a treat.

Set a decade after the last film, Ip Man (Yen), his wife Cheung Wing-Sing (Lynn Hung), and his second son Ip Ching now reside in Hong Kong, where Ip teaches publicly. Problems arise when a land grabbing foreigner named Frank (Mike Tyson) attempts to buy a local school for his illegal business. Unluckily for him, Ip Man’s son studies there. Furthermore, to make the plot convenient, a fellow Wing Chun master, Cheung Tin-chi (Zhang Jin), has a son there, too. Things turn 180º, however, as Cheung is revealed to be determined to be the face of Wing Chun, and challenging Ip Man is the only way to find out who possesses true Wing Chun.

Donnie Yen has done wonders when it comes to the martial arts sub-genre of action. He has proven himself multiple times in films like Sha Po Lang, Flashpoint, and Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen. His performance in the Ip Man films, however, has given him a legacy similar to that of Jackie Chan in his Drunken Master films. Yen delivers heart-pounding action sequences with such intense grace that one can only consider it as art. Indeed, he is one of the greats in action choreography.**

The two antagonists prove enough to give the over powered Ip Man to step up his game. Mike Tyson did the best of what was given to him. The fight scene between him and Yen pretty much summarizes the philosophies between Western and Eastern style of fighting. Meanwhile, Zhang Jin gives us a darker side to Wing Chun. His brutal kicks and painful punches makes us forget about his poor character development.

Where the film excels in action choreography, it lacks in story and character development. The “corrupt foreigners” sub-plot was introduced (and marketed) as the main focus of the film, but it just ended and was never resolved in a satisfying way. The motivations and the sudden changing of sides of Cheung was not explored enough. Even Bruce Lee (Danny Chan) is heavily marketed, but he only appears in two scenes.

Despite its technical flaws, Ip Man 3 is a good addition to Donnie Yen’s Ip Man film franchise because of its amazing fight choreography, which…to be honest…is the main reason why people watch this. For this reason, this film is…

 

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

Sha Po LangDragon Tiger Gate, and Flashpoint to name a few
**Credits for the film’s action choreography goes to Yuen Woo-ping though.