Photo: Cine Asia
Herman Yau’s stunning and poignant biographical film finds the implacable Wing Chun Grandmaster Ip (Anthony Wong) lost in the shadowy world of the Triads-an intellectual battle, as much as a physical one.
Early fifties Hong Kong is vividly rendered,with the union battles, hand to hand conflict and opium overdoses bracing and true to life. Money is scarce;the divide post-war between rich and poor is sharply juxtaposed, and some families have to sell their children off in order to survive.
Superb support from Jordan Chan as Tang Shing and Huang Yan-yan as crime boss Local Dragon propel the frenetic martial arts sequences, and the women (in particular de:Jiang Luxia as union protester Lee King) give as good as they get.
Yet, it’s the troubled, highly principled Ip’s film all the way. Wong gives a graceful and nuanced portrayal of the Master, drawn in against his will, who believes,”Only brutes use force;wise men use virtue”.
Out on Blu-Ray and DVD on June 12th
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