Movie: Ip Man (葉問)
Director: Wilson Yip
Writer: Edmond Wong
Producer: Raymond Wong
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese
For the first time since Hero, I might have to actually admit to liking a film with Donnie Yen in it. Playing the role of Ip Man shouldn’t be a difficult role for Donnie Yen, seeing as he is a well accomplished martial artist, however, in most of the films I’ve seen him in, the overall plot devices used to hold the story together are weak, which causes the film to crumble into a thousand pieces. Ip Man, I feel, is the first time for Donnie Yen to showcase himself in a film that has some importance to it.
Ip Man is the story of the famous Chinese martial artist who has been attributed with training millions of people including the likes of Bruce Lee. The film begins prior to the 1940s occupation of China, where Ip Man lives a rather non-secluded life with his family. His wife pressures him into spending more time with their son and with the family instead of practicing martial arts. Constantly being nagged into dueling with someone, Ip Man usually gives in to the wants of others.
This time period is a golden age for Ip Man, as things are looking promising and he has earned the respect of many people throughout his town. However, as time goes on, things begin to change and Japan comes storming in and conquers their beloved home. Now under the occupation of Japan, Ip Man is forced to find labor in order to bring food to the table for his family. Furthermore, the Japanese have begin to hold small tournaments in an attempt to showcase their abilities against the Chinese form of martial arts. Hearing about this, Ip Man at first refuses to take part in the sport because that is all he sees it as. When his friend decides to join in an attempt to win food for his family and friends, but doesn’t return to work the next day, Ip Man finds himself joining the ranks within the tournament to figure out what happened to his friend.
Ip Man is a story of hope in a rather difficult time for the Chinese people. Forced to live with the bare necessities and often lacking these essentials for living, people began to take drastic measures. Some willing to sacrifice their pride in order to satisfy their families needs, while others would do anything to never disobey their country. The film shows how great the master martial artist really was and serves as a perfect homage, showcasing his loyalty to his family, his friends, and most importantly, his country. The martial arts in this film are spectacular and well choreographed with nothing over the top, which keeps the film feel more realistic than other martial arts films that serve a similar purpose. I have to say it… Good job Donnie Yen! You are finally in a movie that I really enjoyed.
Cast: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Gordon Lam Ka-tung, Fan Siu-wang