Writer: Edmond Wong, Tai-Lee Chan (Screenplay)
Starring: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi
Plot: During the Japanese invasion of 1937, when a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home and work to support his family, he reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defense.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Great Action Packed Martial Arts Film
Story: Ip Man starts as we meet Master Ip (Yen) one of the many master in the city of Fo Shan, but possible the greatest, even if he doesn’t let the rest of the town know this, he is wealthy with a wife Cheung (Hung) and child Chun to keep happy while teaching. When out of towners led by Jin (Fan) arrive in town they defeat all the Masters including the one believed to be the best. Ip does put Jin in his place as the city turns to him to become a trainer.
The years go by and Japan invades China in the late 1930’s, Ip and his family find themselves homeless after their home is taken over by the army Ip must do anything he can to make money which does include fight for rice against the Japanese General Miura (Ikeuhci), while also teaching the locals to defend themselves.
Thoughts on Ip Man
Characters – Ip Man is the greatest Master in Fo Shan, he lives a quiet life where he doesn’t get involved in the fights unless it is for honour, when the war hits, he must learn to survive while using his skills to put food on the table of his family. General Miura is a trained fighter from the Japanese side of the war, he wants competition and holds fighting tournaments for a worthy opponent and his latest choice is in fact Ip Man, he does handle the combat with honour. Jin is an outsider that has never been given a chance, he likes to take people on in combat and will look for an easy way to make money.
Performance – Donnie Yen has fast become one of the biggest martial artist to come out of China, he doesn’t do the comedy Chan does and is not as flashy as Jet Li but his style shines through this film as he handles to combat effortless as well as the emotional factors needed. Hiroyuki Ikeuchi is great in his role too because he character might be the enemy but he does pull of the honourable side to the battle. Siu-Wong Fan shows us the desperation needed during the war time in his character.
Story – The story of a Master in martial arts needing to overcome enemies be it general outsiders or the Japanese to give his town hope is something that can be watched and enjoyed by all. This shows the desperate battle to survive the Chinese faced when the Japanese invaded. Seeing how everything plays out you support each decision being made while the enemies are portrayed correctly for the story to unfold too.
Action/Biography/Sports – The action sequences are stunning with fast hitting action going on during every battle scene, the look at this small part of Ip Man’s life shows the impact he made in the war.
Scene of the Movie – Final fight.
Final Thoughts – This is another very good history lesson about one of the greatest martial artists the world ever saw, we see how he rallied a national to win a war, bought towns together to defend themselves and never gave up his honour.
Overall: Must watch for martial arts fans everywhere.