5/23/00- I very recently discovered this director. I enjoyed his talents before I even knew he was a director. I absolutely loved the fight scenes in The Matrix. They amazed me. I wanted more of that. (Also major thanks to the Wachowski Brothers, for making this great film.)
So I'm in the video store at least 6 months after The Matrix has come out. I was in the mood to see a good kung-fu flick. I ask, "What's a good kung-fu flick?" "Iron Monkey, it's from the guy who did the fight scenes in The Matrix." "Whoa!", I think, and immediately rent the thing. The fight scenes in this film are far better than The Matrix, without the \\$70 million budget. This stuff will just blow you away. It's better than any Anime film, comic book, or video game. You just have to see it to believe it. It is really quite undescribable. This is the best kung-fu movie I've ever seen.
I still don't remember the directors name at this point. Some time goes by and Jet Li's Fist of Legend gets a new release. I check it out, and damn if it isn't the best Jet Li film I've seen. Same kind of fight scenes that were in Iron Monkey. I check out the listing at IMDb. Turns out he's the fight choreographer. I'm instantly a huge Woo-ping Yuen fan. I can barely remember his name, but I love his stuff. I must see more.
Unfortunately his stuff is pretty hard to find. Luckily we have the greatest video store in the world here in Seattle, Scarecrow Video. But with all my movie watching I've only seen one other film of his Tai-Chi Master. Again very very cool, with amazing fight scenes. The really amazing thing is that for the 4 movies I've seen with his fights in, he rarely duplicates the moves. He manages to come up with new stuff for every film.
This guy is a technical master. I can't wait to see what he pulls off in Matrix 2 and 3. With that huge budget, and Neo's skills infinately better than they were in the first. We are going to see the greatest kung-fu ever commited to screen.
It's really too bad that I discovered him so late, we may never see another movie directed by him. His last movie was Tai Chi 2 in 1996. Don't think I love his films based soley on the fact of the incredible fights. The photography of his films is beautiful. He tells some pretty good stories too, Tai-Chi Master is very Shakespeare'n. I guess I'll just have to live with his fight direction in the next 2 Matrix films. Another reason why these are my most anticipated movies.
6/1/00 -I just watched Wing Chun, starring Michelle Yeoh. Again very cool kung-fu scenes. But somehow they didn't seem as polished as they were in Iron Monkey, which is kind of strange because this is the film which he made after it. The wire work just wasn't as smooth. Maybe the actors weren't as comfortable with it. A decent film though.
6/5/00 -I can't believe I didn't realize this before. But I have seen another film that he has worked on. Black Mask, another Jet Li film. Again some very cool fight scenes. Although I didn't really like the film. The action was too cartoonish, the stuff that they were doing was amazing, but it was too sped up. It really looked silly in some parts. But I still enjoyed the action, for the most part.
8/15/00 - Ah yes, another movie with the involvement of the world's greatest martial arts director. I guess this is all I can look forward to from him now on. Hollywood has him, and will not let him go. I speak of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, directed by Ang Lee (Ice Storm), and starring two of Hong Kong's biggest stars Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh. Who cares what the story is about, I just want to see Chow as a high flying samurai.
The film has already been released overseas to rave reviews, and I've read that it's some of the Woo-ping's best work to date. The film will be released to theaters late this year in it's original language, Mandarin (thank god no awful dubbing). I can not freaking wait. Check out some photos and watch the trailers.
12/22/00: Got a chance to see Woo-ping's latest film, it is some of his best work to date. Check out my review for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
12/28/00: Entertainment Weekly readers click HERE.
1/10/1: This section of my site was reviewed in Entertainment Weekly a week later than I expected. Read the review HERE, it's at the bottom. I received an A.
1/22/1/: I changed the banner to reflect the correct way of saying his name. The IMDb lists him as Woo-ping Yuen, this is the American order of names. The Chinese put the family name first, Yuen Wo Ping. I've known this for a while, but have been too lazy to change it. The webmaster of DrunkenFist.com contacted me about this mistake, so I decided to make the effort.
3/13/1: One of my favorite websites, Bad Movies reviewed an earlier film by Wo Ping, The Buddhist Fist. This is a film I have yet to see, the clip provided shows some good fight choreography, but it's got that over-the-top 70's sound-effects. Looks like it might be a fun film.
12/12/1: Iron Monkey was rereleased in theaters a few months ago, but I never got around to seeing it. I would have loved to have seen it on the big screen, but having owned it on DVD for more than a year now, I couldn't motivate myself to get out and see it. I heard that it had a new tacked on begining and end, I guess I'll have to see it on DVD. I have links for the trailer in the watch section.
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Woo-ping and his Films