Wai Man Yip (sometimes credited as Raymond Yip) is a somewhat inconspicuous director. Not that he hasn't been able to enjoy a few mild successes, but most of his films lack international appeal and when they do he is often overshadowed by his co-directors. Still, sifting through his oeuvre can uncover a few interesting gems.
He started his career under the wings of Jing Wong. Yip's first film (Zhu Guang Bao Qi - Whatever You Want) is a pretty typical Hong Kong comedy, with all the usual traits (and pitfalls) intact. Like most other comedies Yip would direct in his career, they serve well as mere filler but fail to rise about the myriad of other films out there. His best comedy film to date is Baak Bin Sing Gwan (Sixty Million Dollar Man), where he is helped by a stellar Stephen Chow to raise the bar, if just a little.
For his next four films Yip switched camps, teaming up with Wai-keung Lau (Andrew Lau) to expand on Lau's Young & Dangerous series with a trio of spin-offs. Their fourth collaboration was a lukewarm comedy better forgotten. The three spin-offs are pretty decent films though, with Goo Waak Chai Ching Yee Pin Ji Hung Hing Sap Saam Mooi (Portland Street Blues between you and me) as the clear winner of the pack. A slick combination of triad action and drama with Sandra Ng headlining.
Yip would go on to direct two more comedies after that, only to resurface with what is probably his best solo project to date. Fate is a very unique little film. A weird mixture of romance, sci-fi and urban fantasy. In many ways it feels like a fresh start for Yip, finally freed from the reigns of co-directors and Hong Kong clichés. It's not without faults mind, but the good easily outweighs the bad here. That same year Yip would also co-direct Tau Ming Chong (The Warlords),undoubtedly the most accomplished project he's ever worked on, though one can only wonder how much of that should be attributed to Peter Chan as his partner in crime.
With his biopic on Bruce Lee Yip would once more enjoy a small chunk of international attention, though the reception of this film was mediocre at best. The cue for Yip to focus more on Mainland China, which resulted in a decent comedy Ren Zai Jiong Tu (Lost On Journey) and his upcoming horror project Xiu Hua Xie (Blood Stained Shoes).
Ignoring Fate for a moment, Wai Man Yip is a director that mostly caters to Hong Kong enthusiasts who are looking for films beyond the confines of Hong Kong's most famous directors. Yip made some solid filler along the way, just beware his comedies if you're not all that familiar with Hong Kong's peculiar style of comedy.