Ip Man

"Very Good"

Ip Man Review


A terrific true story, clearly elevated to mythical proportions, this film benefits hugely from the lucid fight direction by the master Sammo Hung, which gives the film a remarkable resonance by letting us see the characters' personalities in their every move.

In 1930s provincial China, Ip (Yen) is a very private wing chun master who doesn't want to run a school or prove his skill. With virtually no aggression, he easily beats anyone who challenges him, so the town knows he's the true local master. And an interloping thug (Fan) finds this out the hard way. Ip remains quietly devoted to his wife and son (Hung and Li), but after Japan invades China, things get very difficult. Especially when Ip stands up to both the returning thug and the Japanese general (Ikeuchi).

Clearly, Ip is a national treasure in China and, for sheer inspirational value, he deserves to be. Yes, the filmmakers show perhaps too much reverence for him, implying that he singlehandedly defeated the invading Japanese army as they build to a Rocky-style finale and a coda that mentions how Ip taught Bruce Lee everything he knew. But it also has to be said that they state their case effectively, portraying Ip as a steely, calm genius who always deflected attention away from himself and only reluctantly became a hero.

Yen is excellent in the role, lending the fight scenes a surprising edge. The battle choreography is fiendishly clever, and Yen stays utterly cool and focussed, building in wry humour and emotional undercurrents along the way.

Ip's unbending pride is perhaps his only flaw, and yet it's great fun to watch him humiliate his opponents and motivate those around him to stand up for themselves, most engagingly the workers in a factory owned by his lifelong friend Quan (Yam).

And the filmmakers aren't afraid to get dark and tough, showing the raw brutality of war and conflict with only a bit of movie manipulation in characters who are courageous, weak or villainous. By the time we reach the climactic face-off (or three), things have become truly brutal and nasty. It might be a little exaggerated, and also fairly straightforward in its storytelling, but it's a seriously powerful tale.



Ip Man

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th December 2008

Box Office Worldwide: $21.9M

Budget: $11.7M

Distributed by: Well Go USA

Production compaines: Mandarin Films Distribution Co.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Fresh: 21 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Wilson Yip

Producer: Raymond Wong

Starring: as Ip Man, as Chow Ching-Chuen, as Master Zealot Lin, Wong Yau-Nam as Shao Dan Yuan, Chen Zhi Hui as Master Liao, Gordon Lam Ka-Tung as Captain Lei Chiu, Lynn Hung as Cheung Wing-Sing, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi as Miura, Fan Siu-Wong as Jin Shan Zhao / Kam Shan-Chau, Tenma Shibuya as Colonel Sato

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.