We look v the life in film of a legendary martial artist – the guy who trained Bruce Lee and inspired a few movies the his own...

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Ip male (2008)

While it’s made with both respect and the full participation that Ip’s descendants (Ip Chun was the main Wing Chun consultant top top it), this is solid a directly biopic yet it’s still more than likely the Ip male film that’s closest to the truth. That depicts a fictionalized variation of his time in Foshan, tracing his fall from wealth, his struggle throughout the war and also his refusal to ever give in to the enemy. In reality, Ip guy never dealt with the Japanese in anything choose the way depicted here, but what the film offers is a beat-by-beat classic martial arts plot the takes impetus from the classics and becomes one in itself. Ns feel like if Bruce Lee had watched this, he would’ve loved it, and also that’s around the best you can say about a kung fu movie.

The movie recreates 1930s Foshan (by way of Shanghai) in a means that makes it feel choose a living, breath city. The collection design is beautiful and it’s shooting with good restraint – the opposite to Yip and Yen’s flamboyant previous film, the manhua-inspired Dragon Tiger Gate. Yen self is nothing quick of a phenomenon. It’s his many nuanced performance together an actor and he inhabits Ip man in a means that, in ~ times, makes him show up possessed by the Grandmaster’s spirit.


Of course, whereby the magic yes, really happens is in the fights. Sammo Hung and Tony Leung Siu-hung direct the activity and stunts, respectively, therefore you understand you’re in safe hands, however Yen’s physicality makes it fly the end of the screen. He moves with such speed and grace, the looks superhuman, however he additionally pours a ton that emotion into it. This is what provides every activity sequence in Ip Man therefore effective. Nothing is throwaway or gratuitous. Every one of the fights are charged through feeling and meaning.


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While the film shows off the moral and philosophical side of Chinese martial arts, it likewise speaks a much more universal language; one of simple but an effective concepts. Honor, dignity, love, revenge, respect, and pain. I laughed with delight when Donnie Yen beat up a sword-toting Siu Wong Fan with a feather duster. I felt myself welling up when, in a fit of uncharacteristic rage, he take it on 10 Japanese fighters at once. The mass brawl in the noodle mill is an pure stunner and also the last fight, when brief, is favor a bold, bloody full-stop on a fantastic story. If it’s hugely entertaining, this is also activity cinema as catharsis, both political and also personal.

Unsurprisingly, the film was a substantial hit almost everywhere the world and also the Ip Man brand to be born.

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Ip guy 2 (2010)

This fast-into-production sequel intended to emphasis on the relationship between Ip Man and also Bruce Lee yet the modern-day age is a much cry from the devil-may-care Bruceploitation era the the 1970s. Any type of commercial usage of Bruce Lee’s photo now needs to be operation by the lawyers of Bruce Lee Enterprises. Once Mandarin films failed to negotiate what lock wanted, the film had actually to be rewritten (with Bruce relegated to a comedy cameo as a young child)…


Instead, Ip male 2 (which reunites most of the crucial cast and also crew indigenous the very first film) veers more from historic accuracy and also ramps increase the fist-pumping veneration of its subject, turning him an ext or less right into a Chinese superhero.

Having fled populated Foshan, Ip and his household move to Hong Kong under the dominion of British and also if you’re adhering to the nationalistic vibe of these films, you have the right to probably job-related out whereby this is going. However, it’s a film of two unique halves. The first half involves Ip do the efforts to set up a martial society in the ‘wild east’ people of ’50s Hong Kong.

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It’s a acquainted rival colleges plot that concentrates on Ip’s brand-new Wing Chun school proving themselves versus the present rulers that the scene – a Hung Kuen school run by Sammo Hung as master Hung. So you can say the Ip’s fate is in the hand of a Hung jury. Sorry. The was awful.

With his martial credentials proven, Ip joins forces with Hung in the second half and they take on a british boxer referred to as The Twister that is arrogant, aggressive, and hates the Chinese. This practically totally duplicates the plot of Rocky IV through the countries changed and the runtime cut in two, but y’know. It’s a good formula because that a sports movie therefore why not?

Despite the energy, Ip man 2 doesn’t stand up to the first film. Where that hit the perfect balance of drama versus action, this one overplays the drama so the feels saccharine at best and also laughable in ~ worst (Ip’s wife giving birth throughout the last fight could’ve to be a strong symbolic juxtaposition but winds up simply melodramatic).


Still, the activity remains strong. Sammo Hung’s choreography is on allude as always and it’s fantastic to check out him ~ above the big screen again in a kind role. As lot as the first film was a showcase for Yen’s exhilaration prowess, he knows how to take it a backseat here and also let Hung take the film. The veteran actor proves to it is in its heart and its fists and also its most complicated character, until ideal at the finish when Yen steps up because that the astonishing last fight – therefore brutal, you feel every punch – and also we psychic it’s one Ip guy movie.

The table fight in between Hung and also Yen is a to mark too and Wilson Yip directs with laser precision. The camera is continually moving, the score constantly bellowing, everything’s turned approximately 11 the totality time which keeps the power buzzing. Ip man 2 might not it is in a masterpiece yet it certain is a fun ride.

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Ip Man: The Legend Is Born (2010)

Produced simultaneously with Ip guy 2, this lower budget little brother is an attempt to cash in ~ above the craze through a bizarre mix of straight-faced authenticity and also audacious level of fiction. Long-serving exploitation/cult manager Herman Yau – who filmography consists of some of the most gruesome horror movies Asia’s ever developed – take away the director’s seat and casts newcomers Dennis come (who bear a resemblance to both the young Ip Man and also young Donnie Yen) as Ip Man, concentrating his plot top top the Grandmaster’s adolescence.

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At first, this remains true to the real story that Ip Man’s beforehand Wing Chun training native Chan Wah-Shun (Sammo Hung in a different function to the one he play in Ip man 2 however wearing the exact same clothes, haircut, and also moustache, together if he’s just stepped between sets!). When grasp Chan dies, Ng Chung-Sok (played by the legendary Yuen Biao) bring away over.

Ip Man, no content with traditional forms of wing Chun, seeks extra-curricular tasks and trains in Hong Kong with the master Leung Bik (played by Ip Man’s actual child Ip Chun – who proves period really is just a number together he, an octogenarian, performs lightning fast fight choreography). While every this is happening, Ip Man falls in love through Cheung Wing-Sing, the woman who would later end up being his wife…