HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
Stump the Guesser
Sator
Last Warning, The
PVT CHAT
Ascent, The
Clementine
Hurt by Paradise
Saint Maud
Johnny Frenchman
Glitch in the Matrix, A
Beginning
Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris
Funeral Home, The
Sailors Three
Bill & Ted Face the Music
Josep
   
 
Newest Articles
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
   
 
  Ip Man Ippee-kai-yay mother****er!
Year: 2008
Director: Wilson Yip Wai-Shun
Stars: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung Doi-Lam, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Gordon Lam Ka-Tung, Fan Siu-Wong, Xing Yu, Wong Yau-Nam, To Yue-Hong, Li Qi-Long, Chen Zhi-Hui, Shibuya Tenma, Li Ze, Calvin Cheng Ka-Sing, Zhou Zhong, Zhang Bo, Mao Wen-Jun, Lu Kai
Genre: Drama, Martial Arts, Historical, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Winner of Best Picture and Best Action Choreography at the 2009 Hong Kong Film Awards, this martial arts biopic recounts the life of Ip Man, a much-celebrated Wing Chun master whose most famous student was none other than Bruce Lee. The real Ip Man made a cameo in schlock biopic Bruce Lee: The Man, The Myth (1977) and is here played by action star and avid Bruce Lee fan, Donnie Yen. Although Yen has always been an outstanding martial artist, his cold demeanour makes him better suited to playing villains, as too often he fails to engage as a hero. In this instance however, Yen’s stoicism serves him well.

The film opens in 1935 when Foshan in the Guangdong province was a hive of kung fu schools each competing for superiority, although most acknowledge the modest, upright and philanthropic Ip Man is the greatest fighter of all. In an amusing and illustrative scene, Ip Man invites a challenger named Liu (Chen Zhi-Hui) to dine with him, his wife Cheung (Lynn Hung Doi-Lam) and little son at their favourite restaurant. They exchange pleasantries over tea and dim-sum for a while, then have the most polite yet ferocious fight you may ever see.

Ip Man is victorious but promises to keep their duel a secret so Master Liu may continue to earn a living with his martial arts school. When cocky young Yuan (Wong Yau-Nam) brags to his restaurateur brother Lin (Xing Yu) about seeing the secret fight, Ip Man chastises him for humiliating Liu. “Chinese martial arts are Confucian in spirit. Their virtue is benevolence.” Over ensuing episodes, the film continues to underline this altruistic philosophy.

Although Cheung would rather her husband spent more time with his family than fighting, she recants when ragged, ruthless master Jin (Fan Siu-Wong - whom fans may recognise as star of the ultra-gory The Story of Ricky (1992)) swaggers into town and brutalizes every other fighter around. He battles Ip Man in his luxurious home - in another witty touch, the fight is constantly interrupted by Liu’s offers to pay for any broken valuables and by Ip Man’s tricycle-riding little boy who brings stern rebukes from mum - until the former is disarmed with a feather duster.

Years later, the Japanese invade. Ip Man loses his home and lives with his family in poverty, coping with sickness and starvation. He is reduced to labouring in coal mines while fellow martial arts masters fight Japanese karate experts just to earn one bag of rice. The redoubtable General Miura (an intimidating Hiroyuki Ikeuchi) fights opponents three at a time and kills Lin and Liu. Meanwhile, Yuan has foolishly joined a triad gang led by Jin, who attempt to extort money from Ip Man’s closest friend, Quan (Simon Yam - nicely cast against type), the owner of a cotton mill. So Ip Man trains Quan and all of his workers in wing chun, in return for room and board for his family. When General Miura learns of this, and later sees Ip Man in action, he demands he train Japanese soldiers in Chinese kung fu. Instead, Ip Man challenges Miura to a public match - but even if he wins, what chance does he have of making it out alive?

As often with Hong Kong biopics, one suspects historical accuracy has been mixed with a healthy dose of pulp fiction. However, Ip Man is a lavish production of a kind rarely seen in recent HK cinema and its intentions are laudable. It is the latest in a string of ambitious films Yen has made in collaboration with Wilson Yip Wai-Shun, who started his career making offbeat horror comedies like Bio-Zombie (1998) and The Mummy Aged 19 (2002). Following breakthrough hit S.P.L. (2005), likeable comic book fantasy Dragon Tiger Gate (2006), and underwhelming crime actioner Flashpoint (2007), this sweeping historical drama is their most impressive effort yet.

The fight sequences were directed by the great Sammo Hung and crackle with his trademark wit and energy, but the film is more concerned with stressing the principles behind martial arts. Master Ip stresses humility, sincerity and community spirit and preaches respect for women, for your opponents and your fellow man. Like Fist of Fury (1972), the film is something of a hymn to Chinese national pride, but in the least jingoistic and most uplifting sense. Integrity and humanity are prized above all else. A sequel is in the works.

Cine-Asia’s two-disc DVD includes interviews with the stars and choreographer Hung, a “making of” documentary, a location and set design gallery, trailers for this film and other DVD releases and some deleted scenes.

Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 4500 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: