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Customer Review

76 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IP Man - good, classic kung fu!!!, January 30, 2011
This review is from: Ip Man 2 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this new film starring Donnie Yen (You may remember him from "Hero") entirely in Cantonese with English subtitles which will be out in theaters in the U.S. and Canada on January 28th. Donnie Yen is reprising his role here as the real-life kung fu grandmaster Ip man in this martial arts film. I never saw the original but apparently in it, he escaped the Japanese occupation of his hometown and with his pregnant wife and family have moved to Hong Kong which is living under British colonial rule.

Ip Man begins his life in Hong Kong barely making ends meet renting an apartment and trying to start a martial arts school to teach his Wing Chun style. He is challenged by several neighborhood ruffians who eventually grudgingly give him respect and ask to serve under him as students. Being a kind-hearted man and pleased with the opportunity to teach, he does not push them very hard for their student fees knowing they are also struggling financially under British rule. His school is put up against other martial arts schools in the area competitively and they all clash and fight with territorialism. Eventually all the schools must unite together in order to face the British for their honor.

The British are demanding payments from the schools in return for allowing them to stay open (like offering "protection" in gangster movies). The British do not respect the Chinese and often ridicule them in public. A Western-style boxer named Taylor "Twister" Milos comes to town to fight and entertain the British and by mocking and insulting the Chinese martial arts demonstration opening act, Ip must step up to defend the honor of his people and his own kung fu, Wing Chun.

I know that was a lot of summary, but it seemed needed to really get across the themes in this movie. This film is a delightful throwback to the good ol' days of kung fu. Though I love the wire martial arts styles in films like "Hero", "House of Flying Daggers", "Fearless", and "Iron Monkey", classic kung fu battles of men hitting and kicking each other in defense of their homes, family, country, honor, etc. still are a pleasure to watch. I loved Donnie Yen in "Hero" (basically loved EVERYTHING about that movie) and it was so enjoyable to see him in this role and to find out it was based on a real person's story who eventually went on to train a young Bruce Lee. Wow! This probably won't be a very wide release in the U.S., but if you happen to see it is in your area and you love martial arts movies, go have a fun afternoon in the theater! Yes, you will have to read subtitles, but that's ok. I felt like I could have watched the entire movie muted without subtitles and still understood easily what was going on since everything is so physical not only in the fighting scenes but in acting and reacting in conversation.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 13, 2011 3:40:39 AM PDT
Roji Fox says:
Well written, and well said! I can't wait to get a copy of this to add to my collection ^^

Posted on Mar 13, 2011 9:21:57 AM PDT
thepete8 says:
Does anyone know if this DVD is the full movie or an edited version for us dopey Americans?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 13, 2011 4:42:25 PM PDT
It was my impression from the press release that came with my copy as a critic that it was the full version of the movie.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 13, 2011 4:43:42 PM PDT
Great! Particularly look forward to two masters having a duel/battle on a seesaw balanced table while running on upside down stool legs!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2011 5:18:02 AM PDT
thepete8 says:
Thanks! I have found the cut versions of these films tend to rip out important scenes and plot elements. It's almost like the studios think Americans want martial arts movies to be plotless, empty of characterization, and shallow. I mean, I watch these movies mainly for the martial arts, but if other elements of the film are developed without getting in the way of that it make the film a much richer experience for me.

Posted on Apr 19, 2011 7:29:44 PM PDT
Thanks for the review - I look forward to seeing this movie.

Just FYI - Hero starred Jet Li, not Donnie Yen.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2011 7:49:21 PM PDT
I know Donnie Yen wasn't the "star" of "Hero", but he was one of the main fighting characters. He and Jet Li had a big scene in the rain toward the beginning of the movie.

Posted on Dec 1, 2011 9:55:54 AM PST
A viewer says:
Good review! I think people should realize Donnie Yen is a traditional Chinese martial artist, and not just a great actor. His mother teaches in Boston, and he grew up with a very serious kung fu regimen like Shaolin Kung Fu Fundamental Training DVD (YMAA) Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming. Good story and well made film.
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