May 31, 2012

Film Review: Ip Man 2

Premise:
Having survived the assassination attempt on his life in the Chinese village of Foshan at the conclusion of the first movie, master of the martial art Wing Chun, Ip Man (Donnie Yen) and his family have moved to Hong Kong, under British rule. The economy is still in the tank due to the World War II and the Man family is heavily burdened with everyday problems like food, rent, and school tuition until Ip Man can get his new Wing Chun school started out. As kids join his school, Ip Man meets resistance from the local dojo masters already in Hong Kong, but in the second half of the movie, it's all Rocky IV. Chinese vs. British, Ip Man vs. heavyweight boxing champion, "Twister".


Standouts:
Everything about the second half of the film has to be a shout out to Rocky IV, it's just too obvious! Or maybe Rocky IV is far from original formula, but it's what stands out right away to me. But I do love Rocky IV, so I'm totally okay with this. Other than that, the distinct lack of real conflict compared to the first film stood out to me. In the first film, you know the war is coming and there's some serious implications to go along with this. In this film, there's just a few minor obstacles until "Twister" is introduced.

My Highlights:
The fish market melee, the varying ways that the Masters Invitational went, and of course, the big final fight between Ip Man and "Twister."

Overall Rating:
While director, Wilson Yip has stated he prefers the sequel to the original, I'm a bigger fan of the original. This is still an excellent movie however, with excellent acting, interesting plot, great directing and of course, mind blowing action. Total score:

4.25 / 5.

When You Should See It:
There's a lot of dialogue reading with this being a foreign film, so if that turns you off then you probably won't enjoy the full experience from Ip Man 2. However, I can add that there is a considerable amount of English spoken in the second half of the film. If closed captioning doesn't bother you, everyone who likes Martial Arts films will be glued to their screens watching this.

image from Amazon

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