DID YOU READ

Yuen Woo Ping Picks His Five Favorite Fight Scenes

Yuen Woo Ping Picks His Five Favorite Fight Scenes (photo)

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Though he’s hardly a household name (at least in the United States) it’s no exaggeration to say that Yuen Woo Ping is one of the most influential filmmakers on the planet. As the director of 1978’s “Snake in Eagle’s Shadow,” Yuen helped launch the career of Jackie Chan and define his unique style of comedic kung fu. He went on to direct or choreograph the fights in almost every major Chinese martial arts film of the last quarter century, and when he brought his unique style to America in “The Matrix” in 1999, he revolutionized the way Hollywood action films were made for years. Yuen Woo Ping’s new film as both director and fight choreographer is called “True Legend,” but it’s a title that might just as well be bestowed upon Yuen himself.

In honor of “True Legend”‘s U.S. release this week, we asked Yuen to do something even more difficult than fighting a man while standing on a bamboo pole over a pit of fire: pick just five favorite fight scenes from his incredible thirty-plus year career. As you’ll see, he cheated a little bit on the last one, but with so many remarkable sequences to his credit, how can you blame him?

Below you’ll find clips of all five of Yuen’s picks, along with his commentary on each scene. Here’s how he introduced his list:

Yuen Woo Ping: “This is a difficult question to answer because every movie means something special to me. If I am asked to pick five favorites out of them all they are (not necessary in this order):”

1. Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) Versus Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi)
From “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000)
Directed by Ang Lee

YWP: “‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ contains diversified fighting styles. Some are more realistic and some are more poetic. Each of them serves a narrative purpose. In fact, I also greatly enjoy those poetic ones, like the bamboo-top fights, which aren’t common in my past movies.”


2. Wong Fei-Hung (Jet Li) Versus Commander Lan (Donnie Yen)
From “Once Upon a Time in China II” (1992)
Directed by Tsui Hark

YWP: “The stick fight between a traditional bamboo one and a “wet cloth-stick” in “Once Upon A Time In China II” was also very memorable and innovative. It features the notion of utilizing common objects in daily life as weapons. Visually it is also very fun to watch.”


3. Chen Zhen (Jet Li) Versus The Entire Japanese Dojo
From “Fist of Legend” (1994)
Directed by Gordon Chan

YWP: “Jet Li’s portrayal of Chen Zhen is different from Bruce Lee’s approach for the same character. Bruce Lee is a master martial artist; his style is straightforward, practical and classic. My design for Jet Li was more modern and visually interesting.”



4. Iron Monkey (Yu Rongguang) and Wong Kei-Ying (Donnie Yen) Versus Hin Hung (Yen Shi-Kwan)
From “Iron Monkey” (1993)
Directed by Yuen Woo Ping

YWP: “Donnie Yen is very good at his footwork. So in ‘Iron Monkey,’ I intentionally focused on his kicks. Normally I prefer choreographing one-on-one fights but Donnie and Yu Rongguang are both experienced martial artists. Directing ‘Iron Monkey’ was a heartwarming experience. And as a whole, the movie gave me the chance to focus on actions as well as emotions.”


5. The Entire Movie
“Drunken Master” (1978)
Directed by Yuen Woo Ping

YWP: “In ‘Drunken Master,’ we were trying some new ideas by putting kung-fu and comedy together. At that time, many action movies were too focused on violence and bloody combat. I wanted to make the fighting comic without losing the intensity and the sense of danger. It was an experiment that eventually became a trend.”

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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