Ip Man follows Ip Man (surname Ip, first name Man), the master of the martial art Wing Chun. Ip Man is the real life Kung-fu master of famed martial artist and actor, Bruce Lee.
The film Ip Man features some of, if not, the best choreographed fight scenes ever filmed. In addition to the unbelievably stunning action scenes, the story is strong with compelling characters.
Directed by: Wilson Yip
Genre: Action, Kung-fu, Biopic, Martial Arts,
Release Date: 18 December 2008
Running Time: 108 minutes
MMPA rating: R
The Good: Positively stunning action scene choreography, Effective use of visual contrast, Likable characters, Strong performances, Good sense of humor, High stakes, Invests the viewer in the story, Excellent soundtrack, Superb Cinematography, Great direction,
Plot: 9.1/10- While not the most complex of narratives, Ip Man's story is surprisingly compelling and inspiring in many ways. It features a lot of stand up against tyranny themes, similar to Braveheart.
The first 30 minutes of the film may seem almost corny at first, but the visual aesthetic is actually intentional with the later part of the film featuring brilliant cinematography and a generally darker tone. *First 30 Minute Spoiler* The majority of the film takes place after the Japanese occupation of China during World War II, specifically the city of Foshan. *End Spoilers* While Ip Man is a real person and the film is somewhat of a biopic, most of the events are fictionalized to make for a more interesting film.
Characterization: 9.3/10- Ip Man (also spelled Yip Man) is the title character. He and his family are effectively established to the point where the audience cares about the characters and what happens when the high stakes are set. The other side characters can be a tad on the corny side at first, but even they receive character arcs.
Action/Direction: 10/10- Now this is where it gets interesting, because Ip Man's fight scenes are amazing. The choreography, training, and skill put into the action scenes are simply mind blowing! While there are one or two scenes that use wires to move the actors, most of the action is actually grounded, which is largely thanks to lead actor, Donnie Yen, who is a martial arts master in his own right. His speed and physicality makes the action scenes believable with one action scene in particular being one of the best ever put to film. Wilson Yip's direction is spot on with perfect framing of the action scenes with sustained, seemingly unedited, steady shots of the fight scenes. The sound editing of the action scenes makes it so that you almost feel every punch and blow.
Soundtrack: 9.7/10- Kenji Kawai's score is suitably epic and fitting with superb orchestral tracks with a quality not often seen in modern Hollywood fair.
Humor: 7.2/10- While far from a comedy, Ip Man does contain some well timed humor early in the film.
Entertainment Value: 9.9/10- Ip Man thoroughly entertained me with its riveting action sequences and surprisingly epic story.
Overall: 9.5/10- Ip Man is the definitive Kung-fu film that features well realized characters and action scenes that are nearly unmatched by any other film. It is a film that everyone should at least give a try.
Closing comments: Ip Man is one of those films that catches the viewer off guard by how effective the story and characters are portrayed, considering that the action scenes are the highlight of the film. Plus, you can find it on Netflix if you are subscribed.
Recommended for: Action fans, Kung-fu fans, Martial Arts fans, Donnie Yen fans, Asian Cinema fans,
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