More of an adorably campy romantic comedy than an action flick, the plot of Wing Chun bears little resemblance to the legend of its titular character, the erstwhile inventor of a kung-fu style for which she was named. Of course, there's plenty of kung-fu action, often mixed with slapstick, in the over-the-top style that made director Yuen Woo-Ping a household name among martial arts film fans. The plot, centered around Yim Wing Chun (Michelle Yeoh) and her hard-nosed, sharp-witted aunt (Yuen King-Tan), both residents of a village subject to frequent bandit raids, is firmly focused on the female characters as Wing Chun struggles against both the bandits and her feelings for childhood friend Leung Pok To (Donnie Yen, in an endearingly goofy performance). Catherine Hung Yan, as the beautiful widow Charmy, whom the bandits abduct, rounds out the principal cast, with a few more bad guys and love interests thrown in for good measure. There's also a brief appearance from Pei Pei Cheng as Wing Chun's kung-fu teacher. The entire cast is excellent; both comic and kung-fu timing are top-notch, and the film overall is a delightfully lighthearted romp, complete with happy ending.
Wing Chun is a martial-arts film with an unusual feminist bent, inspired by a true historical figure. In 19th-century China, a pack of bandits attacks a remote village, attempting to kidnap a beautiful young widow named Charmy. However, they are foiled by Yim Wing Chun, a local tofu-shop owner who also happens to be a fearsome fighter; she defeats the thieves nearly single-handedly. This infuriates the evil bandit leader, who turns his full forces against the town in an effort to recapture Charmy. As if this weren't trouble enough, things become even tougher for Wing Chun when her childhood sweetheart, now also a martial-arts master, arrives in town after an absence of many years. On his return, he immediately falls in love with Charmy, mistaking her for Wing Chun -- and mistaking the real Wing Chun for a man. These farcical manueverings provide the backdrop for numerous fight sequences, which are filled with astoundingly acrobatic choreography skillfully performed by Hong Kong action star Michelle Yeoh. Especially notable is the final showdown between Wing Chun and the bandits, which proves once and for all it's not the size of the weapon, but the way that you use it.