Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ip Man - QC Review

Directed by: Wilson Yip
Starring: Donnie Yen, Lynn Hung, Yu Xing and Siu-Wong Fan
Rated: R
Runtime: 1 hour 46 minutes
Release Date: December 12, 2008

Ip Man prepares to decimate his opponent.

No, this is not about some guy's Intellectual Property, this is yet another fantastic cinematic offering from China featuring modern day legend Donnie Yen in the role of Ip Man, a martial arts grandmaster who in real life became the mentor of this one guy that you may have heard of , Bruce Lee. Based extremely loosely off the real life events surrounding Ip Man, the film takes place in 1937, the first year of the second Sino-Japanese War where the small town of Foshan is invaded by a detachment of Japanese soldiers. The local townspeople are stripped of their possessions and forced to live in poverty and it falls upon Ip Man, Foshan's champion, to fight for his people.

"Ip Man" is not exactly a conventional style martial arts film. Like most other well respected and highly regarded films of the genre, it uses martial arts to tell a story and create real drama and tension through the many encounters that happen throughout it. Much has been made about the historical legacy of the main character which after watching the film feels more like a clever marketing technique than anything else since it appears many liberties were taken with Ip Man's true life ordeals. Luckily that isn't really the focus of the film, if you are going into this simply looking for some amazing fight sequences then you are in for a treat.

Ip Man tends to his family during the occupation of Foshan.

Donnie Yen needs no introduction at this point, the man is one of the most elegant, charismatic and skilled martial artists working in films today. Most of the early parts of the film deal with setting up Ip Man and his fighting style as well as his philosophy on martial arts training in general. While those moments are necessary and entertaining for the most part, the true magic (and Yen's true expertise) happens later on in the film when Ip Man must finally confront their Japanese oppressors. The build up to each encounter is pitch perfect, by the time Ip Man calls out to fight ten Japanese soldiers at once, you will be at the edge of your seat in excitement for the beat down about to happen. With fight choreography by Sammo Hung (another legend in Chinese cinema), every single action scene is more jaw dropping than the next and concludes with an amazing display of skill and elegant brutality by Yen when he challenges the Japanese General.

If you are a martial arts film fan then this one is a no brainer. "Ip Man" will get your adrenaline pumping with its astonishing fight scenes and keep your interest during the slower moments from Yen's very subtle but commanding portrayal of one of the most influential martial arts masters in recent history.  While it is highly questionable when it comes to historic accuracy, there is no denying that "Ip Man" is the type of film that will stand the test of time and be looked back upon fondly for years to come. Check it out as soon as you can and be prepared to be blown away.

This is easily one of the most brutal fights I have seen in recent memory.





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