June 26, 2012

Ip Man

Ip Man was a 2008 martial arts, drama movie about the life of Yip Man who would become the master of Bruce Lee. It starred Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Fan Siu-Wong, Lynn Hung, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Shibuya Tenma, and Xing Yu. It was written by Edmond Wong and was directed by Wilson Yip. I've already posted about a Spanish movie, a Korean indie film, talked about Japanese movies, why not include a Chinese movie (well, technically, it's a Hong Kong movie).

The film was set during the time the Japanese forces occupied China. It was actually close to a war film as it tackled issues during that era. It portrayed poverty, desperation, violence. Although the main focus of the movie was the life of Yip Man as the martial artist, the time frame they used depicted a time in Yip Man's life when everything changed, at least according to the plot of the movie. Yip Man was a master Wing Chun, a form of the martial arts, lived a comfortable life with his wife and son, and  was celebrated by the people. However, after the Japanese took his home to be the designated Japanese headquarters, his life suddenly changed and he lived life in poverty.

I read in the net that there were some discrepancies between the details in the movie and the historical facts. To be honest, I;m not all that surprised since a lot of biographical movies tend to change some details to create a dramatic effect - to boost the cinematography. It was the same thing with The Blind Side (http://mrfilmreviewer.blogspot.com/2012/05/blind-side.html) when certain details were altered to probably create drama. I won't focus on that and just talk about the movie as it was, given that certain details had been added, or removed.

I actually liked how the story went. It was a success story of a man who suddenly found himself fighting for food, and fighting for revenge. I liked how the story flowed, although now I wonder which specific parts of it were true and which parts weren't. But focusing solely on the movie, I'd say it was really good. I liked the whole idea of it, and I also enjoyed the narration of Yip Man's life.

Since it's a martial arts movie, I also must not forget the amazing choreography of the fight scenes. From what I got, the film stuck with Wing Chun as it was the style of Yip Man. If I'll be complete honest, I have little idea how different styles of martial arts differ from one another. However, I always find myself enjoying all of them. Growing up as a Jackie Chan and Jet Li fan, I've always admired martial arts movie. I always thought that martial arts films are so cool. The stunts done in Ip Man were impressive and the fight scenes got me excited. It's impossible to be let down by the challenging fight scenes that the filmmakers included in the movie.

They made the sequel to Ip Man which I also enjoyed. Although I will say that the pattern, the transitions, and the basic storyline of the sequel was very similar to the original one. The fight scenes were just as impressive, but the plot was basically the same. However, both films were very enjoyable and showcased the talent of Donnie Yen both as an actor and as a martial artist. He's actually really good and a legit badass. Ip Man was a fantastic movie to see, and a perfect way to familiarize with the Chinese culture and history. Of course, it also helps that the movie is about one of the greatest masters of martial arts.

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