Choy Lee Fut [蔡李佛] (2011)
Starring Sammo Hung, Yuen Wah, Sammy Hung, Kane Kosugi, Stephen Wong, Dennis To
Directed By Tony Law and Sam Wong
Like a German tranny after one too many drinks, Choy Lee Fut looks decent enough on the surface to get with. That is, until you get a little too close and realize beard stubble and the lingering scent of Vitalis underneath all of that pretty blush. I was pretty excited about this film when I first heard of it. I had convinced myself that the movie would do for the martial art of Choy Lee Fut what Ip Man did for Wing Chun. 90 minutes and about 500 ham-fisted, lip-bitingly bad clichés later, I have realized that unfortunately is not the case.
Sammo Hung stars alongside his son Sammy Hung for the first time IN MOTION PICTURE HISTORY! For shits and giggles, Kane Kosugi is thrown into the mix. I last saw Kane as a nine-year old ninja-in-training in his dad’s film Pray for Death. That was about 25 years ago but Kane still looks like that cherub-faced little kid toting around a plastic ninja sword while being threatened with a blowtorch by the mafia. Sammy is able to keep the train wreck moving forward well enough, but he desperately lacks the charisma and breadth of his legendary father (who shows up long enough for a Budweiser and a pat on the back).
Of all the characters in the film, Yuen Wah’s is the only one that carries more personality and screen presence than a block of wood. I was looking forward to seeing him and Sammo share the screen again after so many years, but their single fight scene is too short, too boring, and dripping in orange-tinted CGI that looks like it was ripped from the PlayStation 2 game God of War. Simply lame. I’m surprised that they even managed to round up the two heavy-hitters for this film, but paychecks will do funny things I guess.
Ex Jackie Chan stunt team leader Sam Wong, knowing that his movie is littered with shitty, uninspired choreography attempts to save it with confusing and bewildering editing that left me reaching for a roll of Tums when all was said and done. Even worse, most of the film meanders around in the realm of cut-and-paste melodrama and cheesy forced relationships to the point that there is very little time left for any Choy Lee Fut… Not a good idea when that is the name of your fucking film.
Also, what’s up with Sammy cradling his iPhone 3G and stroking its smooth, glassy surface like it was his first-born? I’m well aware that Apple shamelessly pimps its products out at every opportunity, but the product-placement here is especially blatant and should be condemned.
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