Ip Man - Energetic Action Drama

                      "Ip Man" is a throwback to those Hong Kong films of the 1970s - a period piece filmed on obvious but eye-pleasing studio sets kung fu and a simplistic, philosophical message. If you're of a certain age, you might have seen films like this terribly dubbed, chopped up on local TV in a regional language. This 2008 movie, a major blockbuster in China Hong Kong has the star Donnie Yen, who certainly proves as a worthy heir to Lee’s throne.

                      Ip Man is a fictionalized biopic of the titular grandmaster of Wing Chun martial arts and mentor to Bruce Lee. With outstanding fight scenes, a thoughtful script, and excellent work from Donnie Yen, this Hong Kong action movie will delight genre fans.
              The movie tells the story of Ip Man's life through the 1930s in the city of Foshan, where he is a local celebrity due to his unparalleled skill in martial arts. He's very wealthy and self-sufficient, taking on no students (unlike his friends and peers in the city), preferring to spend his days training. 
             When the Japanese invade in 1937, he comes to realize that, despite all his skill, he is powerless to help his fellow countrymen while they are under the grip of their occupiers. Opportunity arrives and forces his hand when the stationed Japanese colonel shows great interest in martial arts, pitting the local Chinese fighters against his own Japanese martial artists for his personal interests.

                At its center of the movie is a charismatic star. Yen was born in China, raised in Boston and has been in Hong Kong movies since the mid-1980s, mostly in supporting roles(Blade 2 and Highlander: End Game). Since "Ip Man" was released in 2008, he's had a string of hits and at age 47 is finally getting the fame he deserves. Yen is a pleasure to watch, and his fighting comes off as smooth, expert, efficient, and crisp.
                The fights are precise and kinetic. Choreographed by Hong Kong star Sammo Hung, the action here is quick, inventive and consistently solid, the moves the result of physical skill rather than editing and CGI. Director Wilson Yip, makes the most of his settings, evoking a rough but idyllic pre-war China as capably as the poverty and fear that followed. Wilson isn't afraid to get dark and tough, showing the raw brutality of war and conflict. 

               Ip Man is something of a fresh change, because unlike many movies about a fighter, his challenge doesn't lie in realizing maturity; instead, it's one of self-realization and honor. When the movie begins,  no one is more accomplished and more mature than Ip; but when the greater forces of war come crashing, he evaluates himself to find his proper place in the national destiny.
              Closing credits explain how Ip Man later established his influential martial-arts school in Hong Kong, eventually becoming teacher and mentor to Bruce Lee. In fact, the film was so popular that within months the principals reunited for Ip Man 2, which covers the teacher's Hong Kong years in an even more entertaining fashion. 
           Ip Man's bip-pic is clearly a hagiography, with historical inaccuracies, and a fairly straight forward story-telling. But, the eye-popping fight sequences and Donnie Yen rises Ip Man as a satisfying and entertaining movie.



Haricharan Pudipeddi said...

Lovely review bro and certainly a film that didn't get all the credit it derserved

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

Very nice review...I watched this movie..Very nice movie indeed.:-)

Anonymous said...

Being an avid fan of Donnie Yen, all i can say is that your review is nothing short of a job well done.

How about reviewing "ip man 2" and "legend is born: ip man"?

Akshy said...

Excellent martial arts movie:).One of the best i have seen after Enter the Dragon:).