High Kicks and Hi-Jinks: The Hong Kong Martial Arts Section!

Image: Gallants

The Hong Kong Selection is generously sponsored by The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Canada). All martial arts films mentioned below are Canadian premieres.

Special “Legendary Kung Fu Star” Award

In recognition of his past contributions to martial arts films, a special award will be given to Hong Kong action star Bruce Leung. Best remembered by western audiences as the Beast from Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle, his legacy goes back to the 70s where he began his career playing supporting characters and working as an action-director. For the next twenty years, he thrilled audiences. After a fifteen-year absence he returned in 2004. In his latest film, Gallants, he appears as an aging student whose past glories are behind him. Also in attendance at the screening will be co-director Clement Cheng.

The Legacy of Bruce Lee Continues Around the World for his 70th Birthday

This year marks Bruce Lee’s 70th birthday. After the commercial and critical success of Wilson Yip’s Ip Man (story of Bruce Lee’s master) in 2008, the martial arts genre saw a resurgence. This year’s selection explores the different styles and meanings of kung fu, as well as its importance to society. One of the opening films will be Ip Man 2, the final chapter of the legendary master which outperformed Iron Man 2 in the Chinese market this spring. Filled with some of the most jaw-breaking action sequences, it’s a non-stop onslaught of blood-rushing excitement, all expertly choreographed by Sammo Hung (Martial Law) and featuring the current king of kung fu cinema, Donnie Yen (Hero). Donnie Yen also appears in Bodyguards and Assassins, the Best Picture Winner at the 2010 Hong Kong Film Awards. In the historical actioner, Yen leads an all-star cast of kung fu artists tasked to protect Sun Yat-Sen during his visit to Hong Kong.

Balancing out the more elaborate action films is the action-comedy Gallants, in which Bruce Leung and Chen Kuan Tai play two students of kung fu well past their prime who must protect their master. Imagine Grumpy Old Men meets Gran Torino – with kung fu. And to illustrate the beauty and power of kung fu, no special effects are used! Kung fu legend Jackie Chan bursts back on screen in Little Big Soldier, another dynamic historical actioner set against the breathtaking scenery of Ancient China. As in The Karate Kid, Chan continues to show nuance as a performer while still retaining his action-comedy persona inspired by Bruce Lee and Buster Keaton. Martial Arts cinema has continued to prove successful in other nations.

Thailand’s Raging Phoenix stars Jeeja Yanin, Tony Jaa’s female counterpart, who must confront human traffickers using a drunken fighting style comprised of muay thai and breakdancing.

After 15 years, Indonesia embarks on its first full blown martial arts film and the first to use the ancient art of silat harimau (“tiger fighting style”) in Merantau. And Johnny Nguyen from Vietnam returns in the exciting actioner The Clash. Kung fu cinema is back in full force with a vengeance!

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One Response

  1. Awesome! Too bad there is no classic kung fu films this year, but I’ll take what you’re offering and be quite happy with it! I like the theme of various forms of kung fu as well. More Chi! Train Harder!

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