Wing Chun (1994)

Posted in Reviews by - May 29, 2012
Wing Chun (1994)

Yuen Woo-ping’s historically inaccurate, mildly moralistic film is at best charming and comic, and at its worst safe and sickly. Close-combat master Yim Wing Chun (Michelle Yeoh) lives a quiet life with her boisterous auntie and an unfortunate runaway, Charmy (Catherine Hung Yan). The trio own a market stool selling bean curd, which catches the eye of luring men folk like Waise Lee’s pervy nobleman, Scholar Wong. They also attract the diligent presence of travelling country-boy and smart fighter, Leung Pok-to (Donnie Yen). Pok-to and Wing Chun are revealed to have been childhood sweethearts, but they haven’t seen each other in years. Charmy is kidnapped by a bunch of kung fu bandits and Pok-to and Wing Chun fly in to help, becoming reacquainted through a comedy of errors. The true story of Yim Wing Chun and Leung Pok-to couldn’t be further removed from this (there is also hardly any genuine wing chun performed in the film), but don’t let minor quibbles like historical fact or stylistic integrity put you off. Yen’s comedic performance contrasts brilliantly with Yeoh’s upstanding portrayal of Yim Wing Chun; elegant, coy, but with a quiet intensity and great energy.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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