It's not a desperate attempt to tie in the title of his latest film, nor undeservedly effusive praise, to call fight choreographer and filmmaker Yuen Woo-Ping a true legend. He was an actor in 40 movies between 1965 and 1993, choreographed at least 39 others, and directed 29, including 'True Legend,' a retelling of the saga of mythic Chinese hero Su Qi-Er -- whom he basically introduced to audiences via his classic 1978 film 'Drunken Master.' It is nevertheless appropriate that Yuen would be honored at this year's Fantastic Fest, where in addition to receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, he screened 'True Legend' for attendees as part of a double feature that also included his first film, 'Snake in the Eagle's Shadow.'
Cinematical sat down with Yuen at the festival for a chat both about 'True Legend' and about his rich and accomplished history as a fight choreographer and filmmaker. Communicating via translator, Yuen discussed his return to the Drunken Fist fighting style he pioneered cinematically more than three decades ago, examined the connection between compelling action sequences and solid storytelling, and reflected on the considerable opportunities he's enjoyed during his more than 45-year career.