Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ip Man 2 in Hong Kong (My 500th Post!)

Now, how cool is this? My 500th blog post is the one about seeing Ip Man 2 (2010) in Hong Kong?

(It is worth noting that I deleted a few early, political posts so this is really probably post number 505, or something.)

Anyway, before the film, I purchased tea today for a friend at this shop, Ki Chan Tea Co..

The weird thing for a shopper is that the pu erh tea is stored in a few large, identical containers with the only difference being the price structure -- the higher the price, the higher the quality, or so I'm told.

I got something midway between expensive and cheap so I hope it's good.

Now, people here probably think Americans are fat and fast food junkies. We are, in many ways. However, I've seen two things here that put any American fast food excess to shame: KFC breakfast which is just beyond unnecessary -- chicken with gravy AND eggs AND bread at breakfast? Sure, I would like to need a nap immediately upon waking.

The second similarly American-styled excess is this dessert at McDonald's. I didn't see an English name for it so here's a picture:

It's essentially a Slurpee with soft serve ice cream and flavoured spread on top of that!

Silly? Yes, but delicious too! I got orange and chocolate syrup on top of the ice cream!

So, on to Ip Man 2 (2010). What can I say? Seeing the film in Hong Kong was a near religious experience. Well, I'm being funny, obviously.

It's not a great film and while the first film's pro-China sentiments fit the story's backdrop of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, this film's similar moments feel shoehorned in. And to call the villains one dimensional would be generous; the British bad guys are like the bad guys from a cartoon.

Still, Donnie Yen attempts to bring some gravitas to the role without overdoing it and it's less offensively an exercise in making Donnie look cool than it is an exercise in making a simple point about why martial arts is worthy of study.

I'm probably being too kind but, in an age of CGI, in a city where people line up for Twilight, and Japanese restaurants seem to outnumber Chinese ones, it was refreshing to watch a film so unabashedly proud of its local flavour.

(Which is not to say there were not moments of CGI and wire fu here but that they were used sparingly.)

Two hours of plot devices designed to get to the fight scenes, Ip Man 2 (2010) still delivered the goods, especially in the scenes with Sammo Hung.

There's one moment where Sammo tries to catch his breath after fighting the British boxer and, as the older actor leans on the boxing ring ropes, the audience really gets a small sense that we're watching a legend.

I will add that the fight scenes all seemed to have been shot in different techniques: close-up, medium shots, overhead shots, fast editing, slow motion, and so on and the editing overall was quite good.

Not a masterpiece and not quite the crowd pleaser the first one was, Ip Man 2 (2010) worked for me because of the Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen fight scene and because of the message that Donnie was trying to make about "remaining neutral" and "not striving" as the subtitles explained in a moment that seemed to reference the Tao Te Ching.

Then it was onto rbt for dessert.