30 January 2006
On CNY eve, I got back to office for a while and invited my kids to join me. all of them willingly joined me since my wife still have to wrap up some last minutes matters at her office. Furthermore, the kids have not been to my office for some time. But I know they wanted the opportunity to go for last minute shopping at Suria KLCC.
Once I have finish my stuff at my office, off we go to Suria KLCC. As usual, my son was consistently pestering me to bring him to watch "Fearless" which premier on 26 January 2006. That time was about 10.30 am. and the next show was at 11.00 a.m., We bought the tickets. The theatre was rather empty with only the top three rolls being taken. It was obvious that all the city folks especially the Chinese has "balik kampong" for the CNY eve's reunion dinner.
Being such an empty theatre, it was rather cold. But the movie kept us warm.
The movie is about the biography of Hua Yuanjia one of the great martial arts experts of the early 20th century in China. A brief history of Hua is at the end of this posting.
This movie is great. Jet Li really make sure that his last martial arts movie is one that you should not forget. Great fight sequence, lovely scenery and a dash of a touching moment with blind girl which Hua meet when he in the dumps. There was a scene where his real daughter acted with him as the daughter of Hua.
I would recommend not to miss this good movie (in fact I am gearing up to buy the DVD when it comes out), with great fight scenes and also a good story line. To add on, the soundtrack is sang by my current favorite Chinese hip hop singer Jay Chou (I have even bought the DVD collection of his songs from his latest album November Chopin where the soundtrack and video of Fearless was included).
So if you have nothing to do, head on down to the cineplex to watch Fearless, money back guaranteed (not from me but from the producers of the movies).
A short biography of Hua Yuanjia
Foreign audiences might recall having seen Bruce Lee play Huo's apprentice in the 1972 production of Jing Wu Men. Huo hailed from the Tianjin countryside. He founded the Jing Wu Men Marital Arts School. He died on September 14, 1910 at the age of 42, just after he defeated 10 Japanese judokas. Rumor has it that Huo was poisoned in a conspiracy by the Japanese, a tale that was confirmed by Huo Zizheng, his great-grandson, in an interview with International Herald Leader on January 23. The only piece of written documentation on Huo is Biography of Modern Heroes, a novel by Ping Jiang Bu Xiao Sheng written in 1923. Later stories, TV and movie scripts were all based on that novel. The Chin Woo Athletic Association in Shanghai is the only proof of Huo's existence and story. The organization, which now covers many continents with branches in many parts of China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, England, Australia, the United States and Russia and organizes major kungfu and sports events, is nearly 100 years old. It remains faithful to the practice and instruction of my jhong boxing.
Some background information on Fearless
Fearless is a story about Chinese martial arts guru Huo Yuanjia (1869-1910), who founded the Jing Wu Men (Chin Woo) martial arts school in Shanghai. He practiced and taught "mi zong quan," also known as "my jhong," a Shaolin style kungfu based on deception.
To the Chinese, Huo is a national hero because he competed and won many judo and kungfu competitions. His victories were particularly important because they occurred at a time when China was under the heavy influence of foreign powers.
Li explained that the movie is less a story of Huo Yuanjia the man than it is an expression of his spiritual path.
Preparations for the movie started in 2003. It was also incidentally the time that Li discovered that 280,000 people in China commit suicide every year. He hopes the movie encourages those who have lost faith in life to be strong again.
As big a national hero as Huo might be, there are few written records of him or his life. Li admitted that much of the movie's plot is fiction, although settings and time periods are based on fact. "We just want to tell a convincing story in which Huo is portrayed as a human, not a god," Li said.
Li can relate to Huo's story because he, too, has been through his fair share of ups and downs, having worked hard to make his mark in Hollywood and Hong Kong.
"Huo's attitudes towards life, the world and martial arts depicted in the movie are similar to mine," Li said. "He died at the age of 42, and I am 42 now. I've tried to reflect the philosophies of people my age in the movie. And the main message that I hope to convey through the movie is: live your life positively," Li said.
Fearless will be his last movie that has martial arts as its core subject matter. Li said he no longer wants to make movies in this genre because he has said all he has to about martial arts through movies. But he will continue doing action and kungfu movies because, to him, the three are of different genres.
"Action and martial arts stories only use the form of martial arts. Kungfu represents a concept of time. You spend time practicing it, and you learn new skills. Martial arts are an overall concept, which also includes nurturing the soul.
Shot in Shanghai, Fearless was directed by Ronny Yu Yan-Tai, a much sought-after Hong Kong director in Hollywood. Collin Chou, who gained Western popularity for his performance in The Matrix Reloaded, plays Huo's father. Sun Li, a rising Chinese starlet, plays Yue Ci, a fictional blind character who supports Huo when he is down.
Other members of the cast include Japanese actor Nakamura Shidou and mainland actor Dong Yong. The movie's stunt director is the respected Yuen Woo Ping, who has many of Hong Kong's great kungfu epics under his belt.
Unfortunately, fans won't see any of Li in the movie. For the sake of keeping the action-packed pace of the movie, the movie was cut from its original 143 minutes to just 103 minutes, leaving a fight scene with Li and a Thai fighter, and another with Malaysian former Bond Girl, Michelle Yeoh, on the cutting room floor.
Source: China Through a Lens