Asian cinema is notoriously hard to find to buy for the UK/Republic of Ireland market. Finding the best films from multiple nations Trinity Film’s Cine Asia brand includes those you know and new titles to enjoy. So here’s our guide to some of the best on Blu-ray and DVD available to buy, two disc special editions. If a film sounds interesting just click on the name for a direct Amazon UK link.
Official Synopsis: An untouchable classic, Ip Man is a glorious and evocative biopic of the man who defied an empire, pioneered the world’s most explosive fighting art, and went on to mentor Bruce Lee- the greatest martial arts icon of all time.
Set in Foshan, China, during the Sino-Japanese War, Ip Man vividly brings to life the brutality of the infamous Japanese occupation, where once proud men are forced to fight to the death for a precious bag of rice. Defined by courage and humility, one man rises to the fore, Grandmaster Ip Man (Donnie Yen): a Wing Chun impresario, whose matchless fighting skill is revered all over China.
Upon refusing to teach his beloved fighting art to the invading Japanese soldiers, he is forced to fight for the honour of his country in a series of battles that will culminate in a kill-or-be-killed showdown with Japan’s greatest fighter.
With sumptuous production values, a career-defining performance from Kung Fu Superstar, Donnie Yen, and inspired close-quarter fight sequences by action-legend, Sammo Hung, Ip Man is an unforgettable event-movie experience that will define the benchmark in action-cinema for years to come.
Special Features: Original Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots, Interviews, ‘Making Of’ Featurettes, Behind The Scenes Photo, Gallery,’Location/Set Design’ Featurettes, Gala Premiere, Deleted Scenes,’From IP MAN to Bruce Lee: Tracing The Legend’ Featurette.
Why do we like it? Ip Man has action star Donnie Yen take the role of Bruce Lee’s martial arts teacher and show the life he lived. The oppression from a Japanese occupation, fighting for a good cause and then fighting against an oppressive, murderous opponent. The fight scenes are incredible, story addictive and the film would appeal to anyone with a taste for Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee movies even though they are not featured. For once a film and franchise that lives up to the hype.
Official Synopsis: Kung Fu sensation, Donnie Yen, returns as martial arts legend, Ip Man, in the most anticipated martial arts movie event of the year. Having defeated the best fighters of the Imperial Japanese army in occupied Shanghai, Ip Man and his family settle in post-war Hong Kong.
Struggling to make a living, Master Ip opens a kung fu school to bring his celebrated art of Wing Chun to the troubled youth of Hong Kong. His growing reputation soon brings challenges from powerful enemies, including pre-eminent Hung Gar master, Hung Quan (Sammo Hung).
However, when corrupt colonial officials stage a life-or-death contest with formidable British boxer, Twister (Darren Shahlavi), to humiliate the Chinese people, the masters quickly forget their differences.
Soon, the eyes of the nation are on the one man capable of securing a victory-Grandmaster Ip Man! One of the biggest Chinese blockbusters in recent history, Ip Man 2 elevates martial arts fight choreography to new heights of excellence and delivers more excitement than ever before!
Special Features: Dolby Digital 2.0, 5.1 Korean and English subtitles, Audio Commentary, Trailers, Shooting Diary, Making of, 4 Big Scenes featurette, Deleted Scenes, Gala Premiere, Interview Gallery, Cine Asia World Exclusive extras – The Wing Chun Connection, Legacy of the Master and Wing Chun in Action.
Why do we like it? In Ip Man 2, it continues the story of the martial arts master by showing the early days of his school on a Hong Kong rooftop. The first students and the pressure put on him by already established rival groups. When IP Man must battle to prove his worthiness of the title ‘Master’ he gains a friend before having to fight an unfamiliar opponent from a foreign land and avenge a respected fighter.
Ip Man 2 brings more to the table (literally) of the story of a true legend of martial arts. If a fan of Rocky IV then IP Man 2 is the martial arts equivalent.
Official Synopsis: Described as Jackie Chan’s best film in years (Twitch), Little Big Soldier is an hilarious thrill-packed masterpiece from the matchless star of hit movies like Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon and The Karate Kid. Join the undisputed King of Action Comedy for a madcap action-packed journey across ancient China.
In the aftermath of a great battle between rival kingdoms, only two men remain standing! One is a peasant soldier with a shameless ability for avoiding his responsibilities in battle (Jackie Chan); the other is a warrior prince, who has been wounded fighting for his country (Wang Leehom). Irresistibly tempted by the chance to collect a large reward, the peasant overpowers the disadvantaged prince and sets off to collect his bounty.
Unknowingly, his bold actions unleash a chain reaction of chaos, and they are soon pursued across country by relentless nomad warriors and rogue forces lead by the prince’s disenchanted brother. When danger confronts them around every corner, the world’s two most unlikely allies quickly realise they will need to join forces if they are to make it home in one piece! Now, as each challenge takes them closer to victory, a prince will learn humility and a nobody will find the strength to be someone great. Based on an original story created by Jackie Chan himself, Little Big Soldier is an irresistible, pulse-pounding deluge of side-splitting comedy, stunts and kinetic martial arts action that is guaranteed to enthrall and entertain from start to finish!
Special Features: Audio Commentary by Hong Kong Cinema Expert Bey Logan: Trailer Gallery: Making of Gallery: On Set Report Gallery. Interview Gallery, Behind The Scenes, Bonus Digital Copy.
Why do we like it? Jackie Chan survives a brutal battle between two great armies. The only other survivor soon after is a General. All JC has to do as one regular drafted soldier is take his prisoner back home and claim the reward, a break from military life instead living as a farmer. A man with a nice little dream that most would think nothing of he must face a hostile prisoner and many others who wish to take this prize from him. Featuring classic Jackie Chan style action and an incredibly memorable finale (one of JC’s best ever scenes in cinema) Little Big Soldier is not to be missed!
Official Synopsis: Discover the movie that delivered the biggest box-office opening in Korean Cinema history and experience breathtaking hi-octane thrills from the celebrated action-director of ‘The Good, The Bad and The Weird’ and ‘Brotherhood’.
When a dark lord obtains the secret to unimaginable power, an elite army of shape-shifting goblins threatens to destroy the world, as we know it. However, just when all seems to be lost, a great warrior-wizard, named Woochi, travels through time to fight for the future of all mankind…
Crammed with “plenty of action and excitement (Beyond Hollywood)”, Woochi the Demon Slayer is a “romping fun-packed fantasy adventure (Twitch)” that will thoroughly entertain you from start to finish!
Special Features: Dolby Digital Korean 2.0 & 5.1, English Subtitles, Audio Commentary by Bey Logan & Mike Leeder, Trailer Gallery, Deleted Scenes, The Newest Korean Style Hero Movie, Making of, Interview Gallery, Production Featurettes The Magic of Computer Graphics, 4 Featurettes, The Premiere, The Press Conference, The Showcase.
Why do we like it? Woochi is a movie similar to one of it’s characters, it has two faces. For the first hour it is a highly creative film where once the rules and universe are established is incredibly addictive viewing. A wizard taking on supernatural foes masked in human form with his dog in human form sidekick. A film with the light humour mix of Hellboy and character of Constantine it successfully brings a universe filled with spectacle to the big screen. While the ending is rather odd in it’s choices that shouldn’t put anyone off from trying a nice Korean supernatural action film like Woochi.
Official Synopsis: Experience breath-taking action sequences and heart-wrenching performances in this critically acclaimed Korean box-office smash-hit.
In the final decisive battles of The Korean War, the battle-worn armies of North and South Korea face a brutal deadlock on the rugged Aerok Hills. Fears of treachery and collusion with enemy forces trigger an investigation into the men of the South Korean Alligator Company. A veteran intelligence officer accepts the assignment and discovers mysterious and tragic occurrences surrounding a former comrade he had long thought dead.
In the epic battle for survival that follows, the two men become locked in a deadly battle of wills. One will sacrifice his humanity for the sake of his brothers ; the other will discover compassion in the agonies of war. Ultimately, both will be forced to fight side-by-side, so their loved ones can enjoy freedom for just one more day…
Special Features: Dolby Digital Korean 2.0 & 5.1 with English Subtitles, Audio Commentary, railer Gallery, Making of, Aero-K Making of Pre-Production, A Daily Record Of Battle Making of Production, Ceasefire Agreement, Production Design.
Why do we like it? A solider goes to the front lines to look for a reported spy on his own side. With how many war films there are this is a plot which is extremely uncommon. The film doesn’t lend itself towards speaking about the war, just about the men fighting it on both sides who swap gifts as they fight over a mountain each side claiming it again and again. With a terrorizing enemy sniper a main plot point it’s reminiscent of ‘Behind Enemy Lines.’ By the end it shows one thing, the real enemy for all sides wasn’t soldiers – but the US Air Force. A military action film which would appeal to fans of Band of Brothers.
Official Synopsis: Maverick detective Jun Ma (Donnie Yen- Hero, Seven Swords) is a man under serious pressure.
His city has been taken over by three Triad brothers led by a vicious smuggler (Collin Chou- Matrix Reloaded, Jet Li’s Fearless) he’s been demoted as punishment for beating up a suspect and he’s starting to lose the respect of his team.But when Ma’s indecision over withdrawing a young undercover officer (Louis Koo- Rob B Hood) from the Triad gang leads to the rookie being badly hurt, Ma finally snaps and embarks on a one man killing spree that will not cease until the brothers are dead, his city is safe and the team is avenged.
Packed with real contact fighting, manic John Woo style gun-play and incredible mixed martial arts action including a breathtaking 20 minute finale, Flashpoint is the kick-ass movie of the year!
Special Features: Deleted Scenes, Easter eggs: Hong Kong gala premiere feature and film diary, Interview gallery, Making of feature, Theatrical trailer and teaser, TV Spots, Ultimate fighters feature (Mix Martial Arts).
Why do we like it? Set shortly before Hong Kong was handed over in the 1990′s Donnie Yen is playing police officer this time in a film that unlike Ip Man does not shy away from blood. A film that mixes gunplay with martial arts it goes into the usual undercover cop plot we all know but manages to keep things fresh through the action scenes. The finale works almost as a separate film where the plot of defending a witness is put to one side and violence replaces dialogue. One to own for the ending and a unique use of a cooked chicken in cinema.
Official Synopsis: Experience a masterpiece of World Cinema with incredible hyper-realistic full-scale battle sequences to rival The Pacific and Saving Private Ryan. On August 11th, 1950, 71 boy soldiers of the South Korean army singlehandedly held back the elite North Korean 766 Commando Brigade for a full 11 hours. Most were still in their school uniforms and had only fired a single bullet in training! Their astonishing bravery under fire enabled allied forces to hold a strategic bridgehead at the Nakdong River and gain a tactical advantage that would help turn the tide of the entire war. Nothing less than the freedom of their nation was at stake. Their ingenuity, tenacity and brotherhood helped them to achieve the impossible. This is their remarkable true story… Now, discover one of the greatest events in modern military history and re-live the day when courage came of age.
Special Features: Dolby Digital Korean 2.0, 5.1, English Subtitles, Audio Commentary, Showcase, Deleted Scenes, Pre-Production, Production Design, Into the Fire – Making of Documentary, Premiere and Press Interview, Poster – Making of, Behind the scenes and more.
What stands out? 71 – Into The Fire is a pure action film. It doesn’t focus on politics instead showing the story of a small group of student soldiers who were given the chance to surrender by a dignified rival commander of professional soldiers but decided to fight to the last man to defend a stationary position. A film it shares much of it’s structure with the classic Michael Caine feature Zulu.
Official Synopsis: Celebrate the landmark 100th movie of Jackie Chan’s outstanding career in film and re-live the violent and heartbreaking events of The Xinhai Revolution: a bloody uprising that brought the despotic Qing Dynasty crashing to its knees, ending nearly 3,000 years of feudal oppression.
Action legend, Jackie Chan, commands the screen as Huang Xing: the fearless resistance leader and military genius, who opposed a 20,000-strong Imperial Army during the 1908 Guang Xi Uprising with only 200 men! Now, as military commander to legendary revolutionary leader, Sun Yat-sen, he will lead an impoverished and vastly outnumbered rebel army against the Emperor’s elite Royal Forces in a battle that will change the course of history!
Experience iconic filmmaking on an epic scale with this “physically imposing vision (Variety)” from The King of Action Cinema.
Special Features: English Dub Dolby Digital 5.1, Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 with English subtitles, Audio Commentary with Bey Logan – Cine Asia World Exclusive, Trailer Gallery, International Trailer, Hong Kong Trailer, TV Spots, Japanese Trailer (Intro from Jackie), UK Trailer, Behind the Scenes Gallery (12 Featurettes – Over 1 hour), Hong Kong Press Conference – An interview with Jackie Chan, Li Bingbing and Winston Chao (32 minute interview), An Interview with Li Bingbing.
Why do we like it? Jackie Chan is a man on a mission to take on centuries of rule on behalf of a cultural revolution. The film may feature many characters but boils down to following two men, one in combat on the front lines (Chan) and a fellow revolutionary leader who spends a lot of the film trying to stop a foreign money deal going through which would prop up their opposition.
A short 90 minute telling of many historical events which may have been better if stretched to a four hour running time there may be only one scene of Jackie Chan hand-to-hand action as expected but there are enough war scenes to keep action fans happy. A piece of history not focused on by western cinema it gives audiences new, albeit all too brief glimpse into history which must be watched on a larger TV.