Donnie Yen’s Legend of the Fist, Ip Man Films Get Stateside Theatrical Dates

Rejoice, fans of Chinese ass kicking, Well Go USA and Variance Films are bringing Donnie Yen’s “Ip Man”, “Ip Man 2″, and “Legend of the Fist” in their original, uncut and undubbed versions to American theaters. See the presser below for details.

Well Go USA and Variance Films announced that they are expanding their partnership by releasing three of the top Asian action films into theaters in their original, uncut and un-dubbed versions. In addition to the previously announced theatrical release of “Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster” in the top ten markets on January 28, 2011, the companies will partner to bring “Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen” to theaters across the US and Canada on April 15, 2011. Variance Films’ President Dylan Marchetti and Well Go USA’s Vice-President Jason Pfardrescher also announced that due to overwhelming demand from martial arts fans, the companies will bring the original “Ip Man” film to select theaters across the country beginning October 1, 2010 with a exclusive run at New York City’s Cinema Village theater, to be followed by a combination of traditional one-week runs and special one-off screenings for fans. Additional markets will be added solely based on fan demand via the “Ip Man” Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/IpManNAmerica.

Directed by acclaimed director Andrew Lau (the “Infernal Affairs” trilogy, the basis for the Academy Award-winning film “The Departed”), “Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen” premiered as an official selection at the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festivals, and is making its U.S. debut this weekend at Austin’s Fantastic Fest 2010. The film stars Donnie Yen as the legendary martial arts hero Chen Zhen (first played by Bruce Lee in “Fist of Fury,” and later by Jet Li in “Fist of Legend”), who returns from fighting in France in WWI to find his hometown of Shanghai a very dangerous place, with the Chinese Mafia, Japanese military, and UK governments fighting for control. With seemingly nobody on the side of the Chinese citizens, Chen Zhen takes to the streets as a masked avenger, doling out justice using his incredible martial arts skills. The film will release in the top ten markets on April 15, 2011, with expansion across the country to follow.

Even though “Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster” is a stand-alone film (you do not have to know anything about the first film to fully enjoy it), when fans heard Variance and Well Go were debuting it in theaters, they began requesting a way to see the first film, “Ip Man” on the big screen. Even though “Ip Man” was released to DVD and Blu-ray in late July, the demand has been so loud that Well Go USA and Variance have decided to throw convention out the window and make it happen. In a very unorthodox release plan, a series of “fan-demanded” screenings will take place through October and November in select markets where fans have been the loudest. Some runs will be traditional “Friday-Thursday” weeklong affairs, where others will be one-off screenings in partnership with local fan groups and organization, often for reduced (or even free) admission. Fans can visit the Ip Man Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/IpManNAmerica to request screenings in their hometown.

That’s October 1, 2010 for the first “Ip Man” and January 28, 2011 for “Ip Man 2″. That’s followed by “Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen” on April 15, 2011.

Check your local listings for showtimes.