Ip Man I
This is Donnie Yen’s breakout performance and one incredible Kung Fu movie. The film was directed by Wilson Yip, with Wing Chun master Sammo Hung handling the martial arts choreography. Ip Man’s eldest son, along with martial arts master Leo Au-yeung and several other Wing Chun practitioners served as technical consultants for the film.
For those who don’t know: Ip Man is a biographical martial arts film based on the life of Ip Man, a grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun and master of Bruce Lee. The film focuses on events in Ip’s life that took place in the city of Foshan, Guangdong province, Southern China, during World War II when the Japanese occupied the city. The Japanese soldiers relentlessly torment Ip Man, goading him to spar with them. Eventually he consents and the action explodes across the screen.
The plot, fight choreography, setting, cinematography, overall production value and performances are superb. When Ip Man’s son, Ip Chun, saw the movie for the first time he was exuberant, and it’s no wonder. Donnie Yen inhabits this movie like he was possessed by the soul of Ip Man, and as Ip Man himself states early in the film: “the key is the person”.
Ip Man premiered in Beijing in 2008, resounding widespread acclaim from critics and audiences. Following its success, the film was nominated for 12 Hong Kong Film Awards, winning awards for Best Film and Best Action Choreography.
A sequel to the International smash hit “Ip Man”, Wilson Yip takes another turn in the director’s chair and Donnie Yen reprises his role as the title character, Ip Man. Picking up right where the first film left off, the sequel centers on Ip’s life in Hong Kong, which is under British colonial rule. Newly arrived in Hong Kong, Ip Man (Donnie Yen) encounters stiff opposition when he begins teaching the Wing Chun fighting style. This action packed sequel is a worthy heir apparent to the original film and Donnie Yen delights with another stunning performance.
Edmond Wong’s screenplay is tightly paced and focused like a laser, contemplating the deeper quest of one’s life, one’s heritage, integrity and morality. Life is a series of compromises and in the case of Ip Man, it’s also about getting serious about kicking some ass.
This is a great juxtaposition against the corrupt environment of Hong Kong at this time. Ultimately, Ip Man and his rivals unite to face their oppressors. Thankfully, this time out, Ip Man is matched against an opponent who is equally skilled and sparks fly as they duke it out.
Sammo Hung does an awesome job as the action choreographer, and the film is chock full of some of the best action sequences the genre has ever known. Sammo’s presence is strongly felt throughout the film.
The air of invincibility surrounding Ip Man dissipates a little, as other Wing Chun practitioners rise up and we discover the limits of Ip Man’s abilities. This only serves to rally us to cheer him on as he stands up for his ideals. This film is a worthy, must-see movie! Enjoy!
by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com
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