Movie Review: Ip Man (2008)

Starring: Donnie Yen, Lynn Hung and Hiroyuki Ikeuchi

Directed by: Wilson Yip

Ip Man was a famous martial artist in he Chinese region of Foshan which was an area that was rich in martial arts schools. During the Japanese invasion of 1937 which lasted 8 years Ip Man’s skills are put to the test by a ruthless Japanese General.

Over the years I’ve only ever heard wonderful things about Ip Man which is considered by many to be one of the greatest martial arts movies ever made. I’ve always been intrigued to watch more Chinese martial arts movies as I really haven’t delved that deep into what’s on offer but Ip Man is definitely as good a place as any to start.

One thing that I was tremendously pleased with was Ip Man’s balance between compelling story telling and masterfully choreographed fight sequences. From the few martial arts movies I’ve seen before, I’ve found a large portion of them either have one or the other and very rarely are able to find a nice blend of both. Ip Man was incredible on both fronts and I can really see why so many people have fallen in love with this movie. Donnie Yen as the martial arts master Ip Man was sensational in the role as he’s able to show off his own incredible skills as a martial artist as well as his superb acting prowess. Ip Man remains calm and tranquil for the most part but during the Japanese invasion he fights with a lot more intensity and aggression as the emotion pours out of him and Donnie Yen was able to capture all of that raw emotion and portray it brilliantly in his performance.

The fighting scenes were incredibly well put together, especially the sequence where Ip Man is fighting 10 Japanese men, it was so brutal yet so graceful in the way in which Ip Man was able to show off his unbelievable talent and skill. While this story is very loosely based on the life of Ip Man who was the man that mentored the Iconic Bruce Lee, it is a story that is rather unknown to most unless your somebody who is either a huge follower or practitioner of the martial arts but it is a story that I think needs to be more widely known as it was an incredible life that was lead by the humble Wing Chun master.

Overall, Ip Man was a great movie that had an excellent balance of dramatic story telling and high energy fight sequences. Now I get to look forward to the sequels and hope that they live up to their predecessor as it’s certainly going to be a tough act to follow.

9/10

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