Sep 1, 2011

Ip Man Review

image from Amazon

Premise:
In the 1930's, Foshan, China was like a Martial Arts capitol of the world, or at least the country, with just as many dojos as Starbucks today. The greatest martial artist in the greatest city of martial arts is Ip Man, who carries with him celebrity status. Unfortunately the entire world gets flipped upside down in 1937 by Japanese invasion and the town is ravaged. But while everyone is starving and there are no more celebrities, Japanese General Miura fancies martial arts and holds tournaments for the Chinese to compete in for bags of rice. Little does he know he's opened the doors to Ip Man's world.


Standouts:
The fight choreography in this film is amazing and I totally bought Donnie Yen (Ip Man) as the biggest action star under America's radar. Along with Tony Jaa (star of the Ong-Bak series), Donnie Yen is now one of martial artists that can really revive and revolutionize Hollywood's action market if brought over to the West. What bothered me about this film however was how perfect they made Ip Man feel. There's a brief point in the film where he seems like a three dimensional human being with flaws, but either Donnie Yen didn't have the empathetic range as an actor to get through his character defect, or director Wilson Yip (who otherwise did a phenomenal job) just didn't put enough emphasis on it. It especially bothered me that what they portrayed as a character flaw at the beginning, they turned around at the end to say Ip Man was right all along.



My Highlights:
Ip Man's first fight in the tournament, Ip Man with a gun put in his face for the first time, and the final fight (even though it had its flaws).


Overall Rating:
At some points where you would expect emotional investment I was disappointing, but in moments I didn't expect to feel anything I was really sucked in. Add to that the action was outstanding and the story was tremendous, I give this film 4 1/2 *'s out of 5, or 9 *'s out of 10.


When You Should See It:
If you don't mind reading a few subtitles (the dialog isn't even that important or extensive) then you need to see this film right away. Anyone who's ever liked martial arts on TV or film will love this film.

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