Director: Yuen Woo Ping
1994 | 93 Minutes | Not Rated
“Wing Chun is my wife-to-be. If you touch her, I’ll kill you!” – Leung Pok To
I had never heard of Wing Chun before (other than of the Everybody Wing Chun Tonight variety). I found it on Netflix instant and it had Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen. I added to my enormous cue and waited for the right time where I felt like reading ridiculous subtitles.
Yim Wing Chun (Michelle Yeoh) is renowned for her fierce kung fu. She also sells tofu with her aunt Abacus Fong (King-Tan Yuen). Scholar Wong Hok Chow (Waise Lee) comes to town for a Beach Festival. Concerned about protecting his assets from bandits, he decides the best way to secure the services of Yim Wing Chun as a bodyguard is to marry her. Charmy (Catherine Hung) comes to town looking for medicine for her sick husband; the bandits attack, see the beauty of Charmy and decide to kidnap her for their 2nd Fortress Lord. Later, Leung Pok To (Donnie Yen) comes to town looking for his long-ago fiancee Wing Chun. 2nd Fortress Master, known as Flying Monkey, is also looking for Wing Chun. When Flying Monkey kidnaps Charmy, intending to make her his bride, it is up to Yim Wing Chun and Leung Pok To to save her.
Any of that make any sense to you? Me neither. The plot is crazy kung fu movie madness and nothing more so I recommend sitting back and laughing when it gets silly and not blinking when Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen do that thing they do.
The entire thing is a cross between slapstick and innuendo infused humor and amazing martial arts choreographed by one of the best choreographers and performed by two of the absolute best film martial artists.
Woo Ping’s inventive choreography is shown early on with Wing Chun essentially using a guy as a puppet in a fight against a group of bandits. She used a stick to slap (very literal slapstick) his arm into a punch, then his head for a head butt and then simply kicked him in the back to send him flying forward into a three incoming attackers. After that the martial arts are more standard Woo Ping fare – which is definitely a good thing. The shots are clean so we can see each and every punch, kick, block and parry.
The martial arts from Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen are as awesome as would be expected. Even though both are on the younger side of their careers they clearly were ready for Woo Ping’s level of martial arts choreography.
Apparently the martial art form known as Wing Chun is never performed in the movie. I imagine this might piss off some martial arts enthusiasts but I don’t know any better. The martial arts are sweet whether they be Wing Chun, Kung Fu, Wu Xia or Hapkido.
I had a really good time with Wing Chun. I probably wouldn’t consider it a martial arts classic or anything but there really are some great fights going on. The humor is pretty hit and miss and you definitely need to be in the right frame of mind to even chuckle at it but overall I suspect any martial arts movie fans will get a real kick (pun intended) out of it.