Fred Said

Review Blog

Ip Man

Posted by Fred on March 12, 2011 at 6:55 PM

May 25, 2009

I enjoy my occasional Chinese martial arts movie once in a while. I saw the classy trailer of this film once, and thought it seemed to be of a quality above the usual of its kind. I was also intrigued by the title which made no sense at the time. I did not hear about it again until last last week when I noted it was showing, and so caught it. When I entered, the girl collecting tickets said "I-P Man?" Had me worried that is this a Chinese superhero movie. Hehe. Nevertheless, I had already bought the ticket so in I went.


The language of this film was Mandarin with English subtitles. The Mandarin soundtrack was not in very good quality, rather garbled, which was disappointing. So I ended up just reading the English subtitles along with everyone else. "Ip Man" turned out to be the Cantonese pronunciation of "Ye Wen," the name of the lead character, enigmatically played by Donnie Yen.


This is a biographical film following the real life story of Ip Man, who was a legendary martial arts master of the Wing Chun form, and eventual mentor to the equally legendary Bruce Lee. The story follows the story of Ip Man from a well-respected rich businessman who excelled in martial arts. Their prosperous village of Fo-Shan was occupied by Japanese troops in the late 1930s. Ip Man lost his fortune and had to work for meager wages with the rest of his townspeople. The highest Japanese officer in their area was arranging violent Japanese vs. Chinese martial arts tournaments for his perverse sense of entertainment, and Ip Man's skills caught his attention. Can Ip Man's formidable skills serve to rally the Chinese cause in the midst of their current sorry state of wartime persecution?


Director Wilson Yip, along with action director Sammo Hung and choreographer Leung Siu-hung, have created a seamless series of breathtakingly memorable action sequences of awesome martial arts prowess (NO special effects here), neatly integrated into this dramatic story of personal and national pride. In the center of all this is the fantastic portrayal of lead actor Donnie Yen. His humility and generosity as a family man and friend is counterbalanced with his graceful yet deadly skills as a martial artist. Mr. Yen effectively captures this unique spirit for all of us to cheer for and admire. This is indeed a must see for all fans of Chinese martial arts movies.

Categories: Movies

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