Ip Man

2008

Action / Biography / Drama / Sport

254
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 84%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 93%
IMDb Rating 8 10 191383

Synopsis


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January 27, 2012 at 01:00 PM

Director

Cast

Donnie Yen as Yip Man
Lynn Hung as Cheung Wing-Sing
Simon Yam as Chow Ching-Chuen
Siu-Wong Fan as Jin Shan Zhao / Kam Shan-Chau
720p.BLU
649.37 MB
1280*720
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 46 min
P/S 27 / 209

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Brian 9 / 10

I'm a convert

I've never been a "Kung Fu movie fan". I can appreciate and respect martial artists, especially of the various Kung Fu schools, but as far as their on-screen portrayal... not so much.

It wasn't until I started to develop an interest in Wing Chun, that all references pointed me to this film. Other than Ip Man, the real "character" in this movie is his fighting style, which is what the movie is all about.

To digress briefly: Wing Chun is an extreme close-range Kung Fu style that is used as a defensive means to counter an opponent's attack. It was developed by a female Shaolin Monk, as a more streamlined version of their traditional Kung Fu. It's a style intended to give the advantage to a smaller, weaker opponent in a fight, by being as efficient and direct as possible and as it's history shows, works exceedingly well. It's also a more meditative fighting form that takes pride in its spiritual roots and relies on senses, and tactics, over strength and height. People often liken it to playing a game of Chess, first, and fighting secondary.

I bring this all up because, Donnie Yen captures the essence of this style to near-perfection! Like the fighting style, Ip Man, the first open teacher of it, was the living embodiment. You can see in Yen's acting, the calm, peaceful, mindfulness that separates this fighting style from others. This also makes the scenes where he unleashes hell on his opponents, even more brutal and visceral than most other action movies are when they try to portray the same types of combat.

The other bonus that I'm a sucker for, is the genre. I would reluctantly call this a "Kung Fu" movie, since I feel it is more of a period drama, than an action movie. The scenery, the story, the history and the drama are all things that get layered into this movie better than any others I've seen in this same genre, and even better than many mainstream, Hollywood movies.

Watching this movie, I felt the same kind of underlying, tension and anxiety building that I saw while sitting through more well known movies like "Unforgiven", "The Patriot", "The Professional" and even to some degree "Master and Commander"; any movie where you follow a hero you know can beat the snot out of someone and are just waiting for them to open up a can of whoop-ass at the right moment after they get pushed to their limit.

This is far from the traditional (cheesy), over-the-top, Kung Fu action flicks from the 70's and 80's. This one actually has charisma for the characters (especially the lead role by Yen) and a strong underlying story. It's production value is also top-notch and you'd be hard-pressed to find any more flaws in it than you would with a Hollywood release.

And no... the subtitles do not detract from the movie in the least!

Reviewed by CobraLOrd0 9 / 10

Donnie Yen is Yip Man

This movie will appeal to all, not just martial art movie fans. It follows the life of Yip Man, the grandmaster of the Wing-Chun martial art style of combat. Wing-Chun was originally invented in southeastern mainland China by techniques devised primarily by women for self defense. Part of this is mentioned in the movie. Yip Man is played by Donnie Yen in, without a doubt, his best performance on screen. Donnie Yen's acting skills shine throught this film. I should mention that, Donnie Yen is an established martial artist, trained in Wing Chun by the son of Yip Man himself! Yip Chun. Yip Chun (84 years old at the time) was a supervisor to the movie and was very pleased with the outcome. He praised Donnie and the studio. By the way, this is not a Hollywood movie, it's a Hong Kong / Chinese production and it is AMAZING. The sound design is top notch. The musical score is excellent, composed by Kenji Kawai (a master composer of other great Eastern cinema movie scores, such as Ghost in the Shell). It is so memorable it will stick to you for years to come. The main soundtrack theme also returns -expanded- in the sequels. Cinematography, setting, costumes, atmosphere will immerse you into the time period. Acting is very good overall. Donnie Yen's acting though is impeccable. You will see Yip Man in the face of Donnie Yen from then onwards. The choreography is of the highest tier. The kicks and punches are pummeling with an audio impact that sounds so real they will make you touch your limbs to see if they are still in place. There is of course some subtle cgi in the movie, which is there only to augment the story and the fights. The movie isn't gory, or bloody but it does a perfect job at conveying the proper feelings at the right time. The villains are powerful and relentless, both the chinese northeners and the japanese general.

The movie is not that historically accurate. Indeed Yip Man didn't officially start a school in Foshan, but he did occassionally teach people. Yip Man wasn't staying home all the time, as depicted in the film. He had a job, soon after returning to Foshan he was appointed as the chief of police, due to his unprecedented honor and honesty. When the Japanese arrived (in 1941 and not 1938, they didn't sieze Foshan until 1943) he joined the rebellions against them. It is true that word of his incredible skills has reached the japanese chief of police in Foshan and he was requested to teach his art to Japanese students. But Yip refused. A fight was later arranged between Yip and one of Japanese masters, in which Yip threatened promised that if he loses he will teach the Japanese his style. Yip won with ease (as in the film) but he wasn't shot, nor left Foshan until after WWII in 1949, when the communists won the civil war and confiscated Yip's estate. Yip initially left alone for Hong Kong, leaving his wife and 3 young songs behind. When he established his place in HK, opened a dojo he brought his family along as well.

Now the film's genre isn't documentary, but action and martial arts. These historical inaccuracies were inevitable, as a certain drama level has to be reached in order for profit to be made. HOWEVER the changes are not significant and in actual fact, this movie captures the spirit and character of Yip Man perfectly, which is the film's most important achievement. Yip Man was a family man, incredibly gentle and ever-smiling. He cared for his compatriots and loved them all deeply. He trained mostly alone with his Mu ren zhuang (wooden man post) perfecting his skills, which ultimately helped him to find balance and lead a happy and healthy life. This is clearly portrayed throughout the film by the masterful acting of Donnie Yen. There are multiple moments throughout that your eyes will tear. It is likely that Donnie Yen must have drooled when he was presented with the role. He loved Bruce Lee and Yip Man, his primary influence as a martial artist was Bruce Lee. Donnie Yen's performance is so authentic, it may seem otherwordly to (very-)Westerners. The other actors are all very good. The acting of Yip's wife Cheung (played by Lynn Hung) isn't the best, but it's decent and mostly fitting the real personality of his wife.

You will never notice the few flaws of the film in the first viewing. You will be completely blown away. It has to be seen more than 2 times to start noticing negatives. I saw it once on cinema when it was released and two times in BluRay ever since to review it. I always loved martial arts movies, like my dad who grew up with Bruce Lee movies. This is probably my favorite martial arts movie ever. Others include Bruce Lee's movies (Bruce Lee's moves will always of course be unparalleled - no cgi involved), Hero and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon as far as i can recall right now. One real disadvantage of the movie can be the excessively and totally unnecessary dramatic fight scenes at the near start of the film involving swords and lances. That was unrealistic and never needed. Note that the director placed heavy emphasis on the fight sequences, as expected, which may bother some of the audience who will find the movie simplistic. The action of the movie is immensely entertaining. The movie is riveting. I bet that even non martial arts fans will be pleasantly surprised and engaged with it.

I definitely recommend Yip Man.

Rating: 9/10 - "Amazing"

Reviewed by Clifton Johnson 7 / 10

So that Donnie Yen is something

The action is jaw dropping. The film is beautiful. The protagonist is compelling. But this movie kinda reminded me of Rocky IV...except this time the Russians were the Japanese. So it was really exceptional Chinese propaganda, but it was still kinda Chinese propaganda. That said, if someone told me they were interested in a martial arts film, I would not hesitate to recommend.

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