DVD Bing Fung: Chung Sang Chi Mun

DVD Bing Fung: Chung Sang Chi Mun
DVD Bing Fung: Chung Sang Chi Mun
Run time: 104 min
Rating: 4.6
Genres: Action | Comedy | History
Director: Wing-cheong Law
Writers: Fung Lam, Mark Wu
Stars: Donnie Yen, Baoqiang Wang, Shengyi Huang
During the Ming Dynasty four orphans; Ying, Sao, Yuanlong and Niehu are raised in Taoyuan Village and become close to being brothers. Their exceptional martial arts skills allows them to reach the highest rank within the imperial guards. After a successful attempt to kill a Japanese troop leader, the Emperor orders Ying to escort the Golden Wheel of Time from Sindu back to the capital, which is said to have the power of time travel and foresee into the future. From the correspondence between Japanese and Ming officials seized from the mission, Mr. Tu – the Chief of National Defence – reveals that he can identify the traitor by the handwritings. On the way of escorting the Golden Wheel of Time in the snow, Ying is surprisingly confronted by Sao, Yuanlong and Niehu. They inform Ying the news of the murder of Tu’s family with Ying as the killer. The Emperor believes that Ying killed Tu in order to conceal his identity as the traitor, and orders to have Ying and his clan killed. With the … Written by DooK
Plot Keywords: police uniform stolen, police officer knocked unconscious, impersonating a police officer, police shootout, police officer shot in the back
Country: China, Hong Kong
Release Date: 17 April 2014 (Hong Kong)
Box Office
Budget: HKD 200,000,000 (estimated)


  1. Let us begin by setting the record straight. We are big Donnie Yen fans. Even before he became a household name with 'Ip Man', we admired the kung fu star for his uniquely thrilling moves in 'SPL'. Still, even his most loyal fans will probably be wondering just why he has appeared in one bad movie after another in recent times. Indeed, his last good one was Peter Chan's 'Wu Xia' back in 2012; since then, 'Together', 'Special ID' and 'The Monkey King' have not only been bad movies, at least the first two have approached the point of being unwatchable, which is something we'd thought we'd never say about a Donnie Yen film.

    'Iceman' could very well have been that turning point in Yen's string of duds. Its source material was Clarence Fok's 1989 martial arts fantasy 'The Iceman Cometh', an entertaining blend of action, comedy, romance and period drama starring Yuen Biao, Maggie Cheung and Yuen Wah. Its budget is an eye-popping HK$200 million dollars. And even before its release, there has been much hype about a climactic sequence set on Hong Kong's iconic Tsing Ma Bridge which cost an additional HK$50 million dollars to film because the authorities wouldn't give the filmmakers permission to do so on location. In essence, this Captain America of the East was supposed to be big-budget action blockbuster spectacle, weighty enough to warrant a two-parter release not unlike 'Red Cliff'.

    Yet after all that hype, 'Iceman' is worse than 'The Monkey King' and almost as bad as 'Special ID'. Much of that has to do with the tonally incoherent plot by Lam Fung which manages to be overplotted and dramatically undernourished at the same time. Working upon the original's concept of a Ming Dynasty warrior who awakens 400 years later to find himself in modern-day Hong Kong and continue a feud that began as far back, Lam throws in multiple subplots criss-crossing present and past. There is Yen's search for a time-travelling Golden Wheel of Time that is operated by a key called the Linga. There is a corrupt Police Commissioner (Simon Yam) bent on recovering Yen and his fellow frozen guards to apparently sell them to the North Koreans. And last but not least, there is Yen's budding romance with a nightclub hostess (Eva Huang), who is caring for her sickly mother in an expensive old folks' home.

    The combination of so many disparate parts makes for an extremely disjointed whole, and it doesn't help that director Law Wing Cheong seems entirely overwhelmed at maintaining some semblance of coherence. His storytelling lurches backwards and forwards across time with little narrative flow or momentum – and what makes it worse is just how tonally jarring the shifts are, from comedy to romance to period fantasy and then to surprisingly graphic action. Law also seems to have gone way out of his league from the Johnnie To-like rom-coms ('2 Become 1' and 'Hooked on You') and crime dramas ('Punished') to large-scale blockbuster territory – notwithstanding his little-seen 'The Wrath of Vajra' last year – and simply lost his footing even on the very basic level of staging a compelling enough sequence.

    The same could be said of lead star and action director Donnie Yen. Even when everything else was a letdown, the very marquee name of Yen promised that at least the action would not disappoint; alas not even in that regard does 'Iceman' count for anything. Save for the much touted finale on the Tsing Ma bridge, the rest of the action sequences here seem almost like an afterthought, too reliant on the kind of unrealistic wirework that B-grade properties oft relied on. And when we finally end up on the bridge, Yen becomes too obsessed with making this a 3D movie by hurling all sorts of weaponry towards his audience that it just becomes too gimmicky to take seriously. It is scant compensation for the seemingly interminable one half hour wait, and ultimately disappointing because neither Wang Baoqiang nor Kang Yu as his nemeses are anywhere near close to being Yen's worthy on screen opponents.

    There are occasional pleasures though, and these often occur at times when the movie simply refuses to take itself seriously. We're not denying that these slapstick moments will be utterly cringe-worthy to many, but hey we take what we can get. For instance, we laughed when Yen first bursts out of his cryogenic tomb and then releases his urine like a water cannon. Ditto for his favourite catchphrase literally translated as 'your mother's breasts' in Chinese. Or how about when Wang and Yu start learning words like 'chicken curry spaghetti' from a gang of Indian grifters after saving them from the cops? There are also other fish-out-of-water comedic moments that border or belong in cheese, but that's the only kind of entertainment you're going to get out of 'Iceman'.

    If you're going to try to enjoy 'Iceman' therefore, it's important to set your expectations just right. Don't go in expecting the kind of popcorn blockbuster that 'Captain America' ever was, for Chinese cinema has yet to produce a modern-day superhero movie that didn't suck (think Benny Chan's 'City Under Siege'). Don't go in expecting the kind of good old-fashioned martial arts action Donnie Yen presented in 'Ip Man' or the kind of gritty MMA fighting in 'SPL' or 'Special ID', for there is nothing but a gimmicky 3D sequence right at the end that matters at all. And don't go in expecting this to be any better than Yen's recent batch of movies, for this is just one more in a bad streak that we hope will be frozen forever in time.

  2. Why is Donnie Yen doing something so idiot? Apart for some decent fight scenes, the plot is stupid, the acting is superficial, the comedy side is really low level, and the end, is it a joke? I never EVER in my all life saw ANY film ending worst than that! It makes absolutely NO SENSE at all. I cannot spoil it, but I at least warn you, because personally I can tolerate a mediocre film if at least the end makes a sense, and I can accept with sadness a good film which ends badly, but it makes me very angry if after losing time with a stupid movie I am given what probably is the worst end in the history of Cinema! Donnie Yen, if you have to keep going on like this, just stop acting and let us remember you for your good films.

    EDIT: I have found out that they are supposed to make a sequel. 1) they could and should have made it VERY CLEAR since the beginning, that this was a movie in two parts. 2) nevertheless, there is NO WAY that this end can be acceptable. Under no possible excuse or circumstance.

  3. Honestly, I was tricked by the previous review hence i thought the movie was really bad and I went into the theater with zero expectations. But the results… were simply. Amazing. Another classic Chinese martial arts movie which will continue to be remembered for generations to come.

    This movie is not your typical Donnie Yen ass-kicking movie, this is a movie with a lot of feelings, touching yet Comedic. The whole cinema was laughing every few minutes and the actions were impeccable. The last fight scene is easily one of the best action scenes in the past 3 – 4 years of Movies.

    Donnie Yen has to pretend to be a Ming Dynasty warrior trying to fit into our 21st century, but obviously he is way too powerful physically and has to learn the ropes of adapting, and this has led to many funny moments throughout the movie. The ending in particular was very exciting, and then..boom, something unexpected happens, a plot twist and it becomes really touching where I can see people in the audience tearing.

    Definitely a must watch!

    Note: There is a part 2 coming out in October!

  4. A short review so that I don't give out too many spoilers.

    A Donnie Yen movie, hence there are many unreasonably high expectations from people, including myself. As a regularly movie goer, who watches Movie every weekend, i compare this movie to other movies I have watched, not just Donnie Yen movies.

    This is not a Ip Man, Flashpoint style movie where Yen plays a serious character with strong motivations. In this movie, He Ying(Yen) is a curious, daring and powerful martial artist trying to understand 21st Century Hong Kong, adapting to the current world while being chased after by his sworn brothers.

    With the inclusion of Wang Bao Qiang, arguably China's most talented comedic actor, one must understand that this is more of an action comedy than a dark and gritty action film(Wuxia 2012).

    Go into the cinema and this movie brings you tremendous joy.

    This is a 2 part movie, and coming out from the cinema, i can hear people saying they can't wait for the 2nd one. Neither can I.

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