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Ip Man (2008)

Yip Man (original title)
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During the Japanese invasion of 1937, when a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home and work to support his family, he reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defense.



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Centering on Ip Man's migration to Hong Kong in 1949 as he attempts to propagate his discipline of Wing Chun martial arts.

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In postwar Hong Kong, legendary Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man is reluctantly called into action once more, when what begin as simple challenges from rival kung fu styles soon draw him into ... See full summary »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cheung (as Xiong Dai Lin)
Li (as Lam Ka Tung)
Jin (as Fan Sui Wong)
You-Nam Wong ...
Yuan (as Wong You Nam)
Yu-Hang To ...
Wei (as To Yue Hong)
Calvin Ka-Sing Cheng ...
Yao (as Calvin Cheng)
Zhi-Hui Chen ...
Master Liu (as Chen Zhi Hui)
Tenma Shibuya ...
Sato (as Shibuya Tenma)
Li Chak ...
Zhun (as Li Ze)
Shi De-Qiang ...
Southern Master (as Shi De Qiang)
Zhong Zhou ...
Southern Master


In 1935 in Foshan, south China, there are martial arts schools on every street corner. Ip Man is the undisputed martial arts champion, yet he has not devoted himself to teaching. Despite this, it seems that all the kung fu masters of the city are eager to fight him to improve their reputation. Written by Riccardo Amadori

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The celebrated Kung Fu master of Bruce Lee See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

12 December 2008 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Ip Man  »

Box Office


$11,715,578 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although it's the first film centering around Yip Man, the idea of doing a Yip Man biopic had been conceived for as long as 30 years. Donnie Yen was actually slated to play Yip Man in the supposed first biopic that was about to go into production in 1997. The film would've also featured Stephen Chow playing an adult Bruce Lee. However, only one day of shooting took place before the project was canceled. See more »


The first duel between Ip Man and Jin takes place in Ip Man's home. When Jin pulls out his sword, Ip Man reaches for what looks like a feather duster (a bamboo rod with chicken feathers). When their weapons clash, the sound is of metal-on-metal, despite the fact that Ip Man is not fighting with a metal weapon. See more »


Ip Man: [Facing the Northerner Ip Man adopts his combat stance with an unsettling mixture of mettle and serenity] Wing Chun, Ip Man.
See more »


Referenced in Kung Fu Killer (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best martial art films of this decade
10 January 2009 | by (NYC) – See all my reviews

Excellent direction, photography and set design enliven this account of Wing Chun instructor Yip Man's life before he moved to Hong Kong. Every Wing Chun instructor today tries to make a lineage connection to Yip Man to legitimize their teaching so he is a very important figure in Kung Fu. Donnie Yen portrays the master with intense reserve and is possibly the best acting in his career. It surprised me for sure.

The story line of this film is invented as historical accounts show Yip Man to have been a police officer in the time frame this film covers, not staying at home and only practicing kung fu as depicted here. Also the film claims that he refused to teach anybody but that is also not true. He left for Hong Kong a few years after WW2 not in the middle of it as this film presents. The plot with the Japanese army seems invented although they did ask him to teach the troops which he refused.

However the film muddies up the historical record, that is not to say it isn't a great film. Sammo Hung's choreography is exceptional and a throwback to his great kung fu films of the early 1980's. The martial arts are done with great respect to traditional styles although some wire work is used to assist the actors with the difficult acrobatic moves. No flying across the room in this film.

Although the ending is a little abrupt, this is one kung fu film that can be recommended to people who don't like these films. Highly recommended.

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Deeply disappointing cmertes-1
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