Mandarin Films (HK); Cathay-Keris Films, Innoform Media (SP) | Chinese, Japanese | 108 min | Rated R
Another martial arts flick I've seen last month. It is a semi-biographical picture about the late Ip Man, master of Wing Chun, and is the master that taught Bruce Lee.
Ip Man, starring Donnie Yen, begins in 1930s Foshan, China, where Ip leads a modest life of training in Wing Chun and caring for his wife, Wing Cheng, and son, Ip Chun. Wing doesn't share Ip's enthusiasm and insteads disapproves of his usual routine of fighting and his discussions with fellow masters about martial arts. As a wealthy man, Ip feels no need to take on any disciples or opening up a school, but accepts duels, one with Master Liao as a friendly match. Second, with Jin Shanzhao, a crazed martial artist that arrives in Foshan and with his group fights all of the other schools to prove that his Northern style is the best. Life in Foshan is abruptly interrupted as occupation by Japanese forces in 1937 forces Ip Man and his family out of their home, and their wealth taken away. Working in the coal mines to support his family, along with others, he learns of Miura, a Japanese General offering rice, in return, fighting his karate disciples. Discovering that someone he knew was murdered in one of these matches, Ip Man challenges Miura.
It definitely has those "Holy f***ing shit!" moments when you see Ip Man deliver his super speed multiple punches, or when he takes on 10 karate black belts in Miura's matches, but one has to guess whether if this really took place in Ip Man's life or not. Most of the scenes in the film were true, with Ip Man's eldest son Ip Chun and other of his disciples providing historic facts and martial art direction for the producers, but others were written up to provide dramatic and flashier elements to the movie. I don't think Ip Man went in and started kicking 10 black belts around, but it did look awesome, seeing him break limbs and beating faces to a pulp with lightning fast punches.
I am glad that they are going to release Ip Man 2, where the story takes place in Hong Kong and will finally have his famed disciple Bruce Lee, will be release in May of this year.
Ip Man is available in U.K, not so sure about a U.S release yet, but copies of the movie are on ebay. I found a 2-disc DVD set with english subs there, looks sweet to own. If you want to "check" it out now, pm me lol.