Ip Man 3 (Wilson Yip, 2015) and Monster Hunt (Raman Hui, 2015)

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The disaporic film program at the AMC Pacific Place this week features two of the hottest Chinese-language films of the past year: the latest in Donnie Yen’s series about Wing Chun Master Ip Man and the CGI monster-wuxia that took the Chinese box office by storm last summer, breaking records on its way to becoming the highest-grossing local film in the Mainland’s history. The two films represent state of the art variations on the two oldest forms of the Chinese martial arts film, kung fu and wuxia tricked out with digital manipulations and effects, packed with enough celebrity cameos and show-stopping stunts to make even the most generic or implausible story a lot of fun.

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Kung Fu Jungle (Teddy Chan, 2014)

kfj-pics-1The latest acclaimed Hong Kong film to sneak onto Seattle Screens at the AMC Pacific Place (following Johnnie To’s Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2 and Tsui Hark’s The Taking of Tiger Mountain, among other recent hits) is a new collaboration between director Teddy Chan and star/choreographer Donnie Yen. The two were previously paired in Chan’s 2009 period adventure film about Sun Yat-sen, Bodyguards and Assassins, but this new film is more in line with Yen’s present-day cop films SPL and Flash Point, both made with director Wilson Yip. Yen plays a kung fu expert serving a prison sentence for accidentally killing a man in a duel. Three years into his term, the cops are on the hunt for a serial killer, one who appears to be targeting kung fu experts. Donnie volunteers his services to track down the killer, but of course he knows more than he’s letting on. As with the Yip films, the action is brutally physical, aided in no small measure by CGI special effects, the impact of which is still working its way uneasily through the language of Hong Kong action cinema.

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