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.
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 »
Anthony Chau-Sang Wong,
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
Filming first took place in a storeroom in the industrial district of Shanghai. Having difficulties scouting a cotton factory suitable for shooting, set designers decided to recreate one in the style of the 1930s. They spent weeks transforming an abandoned storeroom into the Zhen Hua Cotton Mill Factory, a 1930s cotton mill factory founded by Ip's friend Chow Ching-chuen (played in the film by Simon Yam) during the Sino-Japanese War. It was where Ip Man first taught Wing Chun openly to the public. See more »
At the end of Ip Man's duel with Master Liao, Ip is shown to be flipping Liao to the ground at a position very close to the door. As soon as Liao is on the ground, the next shot shows both fighters having moved several feet away from the door when no such horizontal movement was made. See more »
Captain Lei Chiu:
Why am I a traitor? Their deaths have got nothing to do with me. I'm just an interpreter. I need to scrape a living too!
Scrape a living? You watch your countrymen get beaten to death. Where's your dignity?
Captain Lei Chiu:
I don't have any. You do. You have lots of it. If you have the guts, go beat them! Beat as many as you can! I'm an interpreter, not a traitor...
[throws book to the ground and shouts in Japanese]
Captain Lei Chiu:
I'm a Chinese man!
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Donnie Yen is a long time favorite of mine, although this is mainly due to his martial arts skills and screen presence rather than his acting skills. In Ip Man (or Ye Wen, as they were shouting in the seats next to mine) he delivers a truly solid performance on the acting side, carrying the burden of a nation on his shoulders with gravitas, at least that's what he conveyed to the audience at the cinema. They were actually applauding at times. Then again, moviegoers might be more absorbed over here on a regular basis. I digress.
I'm not going to delve deeper into plot details. The basic stuff is already outlined above, and I also feel the historical accuracy of certain events depicted can be debated. That's a bit of a moot point, though, since most people will watch this for the action scenes. Nobody will be disappointed. Donnie kicks twelve kinds of ass in this movie, and it is all accompanied by some of the meanest sound design I've ever heard. Every one of his rapid punches can be felt as he pummels the poor bastards in his way with the Ip Man-style of martial arts (imdb won't let me spell out the name for some reason). The final bout is epic,but for me it was one scene about halfway through that got my heart beating faster. It involves Donnie, ten Japanese karate practitioners and some of the most furious fighting I've ever seen on screen. You can really sense the anger of his character in this scene. Great stuff.
The film moves forward at a brisk pace and contains a surprisingly large amount of fight scenes. It totally lacks the vintage over-the-top-aesthetics of Donnie Yen's films of the 80's and 90's, but for some people that's a good thing. I personally think this is his finest performance to date.
Highly recommended for fans of martial arts cinema!
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