Ip Man 2008: One Of The Best Contemporary Martial Arts Movies
Ip Man is the award winning film adaptation about the life story of Ip Man. The grand master of the Wing Chun style of kung fu and sifu (master) of legendary kung fu superstar Bruce Lee.
This film deserves a place among the very best of not only contemporary martial arts movies. But martial arts movies of all time. The story, action, characters, time, and setting all work together to create an unforgettable epic. While the styles and conventions of martial arts movies are on full display, what emerges is an absolutely riveting story, and not just because of the action. Furthermore, there’s something full circle about the reveal that Ip Man was Bruce Lee’s instructor. Not only did Ip Man fight fascists. He was also seminal in the development of the icon who made martial arts movies such an international phenomenon.
As the film’s title character, Donnie Yen deftly balances the intense and expected martial arts sequences with the humility and modesty that also seemed to define the man. There’s a subtlety and nuance in what he’s doing as an actor that’s easily overlooked amid all the kicking, punching, and fighting with swords, axes, and sticks. It’s a movie that seems to reward repeated viewings, and it’s little wonder how Ip Man launched a franchise of sequels. Exciting and engaging from beginning to end.
Wing Chun grandmaster Ip has an amazing wife, plenty of money, the most beautiful house in town, and a blossoming martial arts academy. But when the Japanese occupy his hometown of Foshan during the Sino-Japan war (1937), Ip, like the rest of the locals, is forced into hard labor and brutal sparring matches for the enemy’s amusement. His incredible skills catch the eye of the Japanese Colonel, Mr. Miura, who wants Ip to teach Wing Chun to his soldiers. When Ip refuses, he faces the most intense challenge to both his training and his honor.
Rating: R (for violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Drama
Directed By: Wilson Yip
Written By: Edmond Wong
Cast: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Siu-Wong Fan, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Ka Tung Lam, Yu Xing
Runtime: 106 minutes
Studio: Well Go USA
What are the Critics saying abot ‘Ip Man’ 2008?
G. Allen Johnson (San Francisco Chronicle)
A period piece filmed on obvious but eye-pleasing studio sets with wall-to-wall kung fu and a simplistic, philosophical message.
Mike Hale (New York Times)
The fanboys and girls won’t notice such failings amid the displays of wing chun kung fu–the extras and body doubles do some truly impressive acrobatics–and those with a taste for big historical tearjerkers will be happy as well.
Noel Murray (AV Club)
As an exaggerated, myth-making martial-arts movie, Ip Man is often thrilling.
V.A. Musetto (New York Post)
If you’re looking for great action scenes, you’ve found them. But if you desire more than eye candy, such as character and plot development and historical accuracy, you’ll have to look elsewhere.