Yen scores with fight sequences in new movie
HONG Kong actor Donnie Yen is known for playing Bruce Lee's martial-arts master, Ip Man.
In fact, the 50-year-old has been credited by many for contributing to the popularisation of traditional martial-arts style Wing Chun.
After starring in director Wilson Yip's biopic on Ip Man (2008) and then alongside actor and fight choreographer Sammo Hung for Ip Man 2 (2010), Yen is finally shedding the image of the legendary grandmaster.
In his latest production, Special ID, he teams up with director Clarence Fok in an action film featuring an undercover cop (played by Yen) who is planted deep within one of China's underworld gangs.
The new film, which stars Andy On, Jing Tian and Zhang Hanyu, took two years to make.
Yen, who was the action choreographer, reportedly created new mixed martial arts (MMA) moves for the film's fight sequences. The three major action sequences feature Yen leaving trails of destruction in a crammed kitchen, mahjong parlours and a broken highway bridge.
According to Chinese entertainment website Sina.com, On was impressed with Yen's creativity and talent.
"I carefully watched every single move Yen choreographed on the monitor. I haven't seen those moves in a long time. His choreography is very realistic, but also very suitable for film.
"He is very meticulous. He choreographed every small detail of each fight," said On, who is also a martial artist.
Even Yen seemed delighted.
"The main idea is to be very quick and aggressive," explained the mixed martial artist about his MMA choreography.
"It's straightforward and thrilling. Honestly speaking, the martial arts in this film have been taken up another notch. I am very satisfied with it."
As co-producer of Special ID, Yen said he had been working non-stop and sleeping only three hours a day.
"I slimmed down a size after filming was done," he said. "I have to think more carefully next time. It turns out that a producer's work is very laborious!"
But it seems like there's no stopping the action star.
Yen is set to play the lead in the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, alongside Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh, as well as in the upcoming sci-fi action film, The Iceman Cometh 3-D, and the action thriller, Last Of The Best.
The award-winning actor is also being considered by Hollywood's Weinstein Company, which he is currently working with on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II, for a starring role in a remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai.
Although we may not see the award-winning action choreographer reprise his role as the titular character in Ip Man 3 - it was reported this year that negotiations fell through and that Yen simply had no time - one thing's for sure: The martial-arts sensation will be delivering plenty of blistering fights onscreen.
Special ID opens in cinemas here on Friday.