《叶问》

Was struggling whether I should blog this in Chinese or in English… But decided to choose the latter to increase the rate of blog post output. So here goes. Heh~

Movie trailer:

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Ip Man is adapted from the life story of Ip Man, the grand master of the Wing Chun style of kung fu which has a history of more than 200 years. This movie stands out amongst other kung fu based movie because much time is spent on developing the character of Ip Man. Donnie Yen(甄子丹) performed his role as Ip Man really well, and the fight scenes are nice with an unique (Wing Chun?) style. They don’t feel over choreographed, and Donnie Yen (usually?) fought with that peaceful/zen look in his face which is what I’d expect from a erudite and cultured kung fu master.

The casting was almost perfect! (More on the “almost” later) Every actor fits the character that they play both in terms of physique and looks. Personally, I’d say that the best casting goes to Fan Siu-Wong (樊少皇) who was performing the role of Kam Shan-Chau(金山找). He’s not the baddest villain though. The one which I wanted to kill the most was the rat that was under General Miura. Well, I guess he really succeeded in acting his role.

In quick conclusion (I should really do some FYP work already…), this movie gets ✭✭✭✭ out of a 5-star rating. 🙂 Even those who do not practice kung fu should enjoy it and would appreciate the dashes of humor sprinkled across the movie.

Spoilers Ahead

What I liked about this film is the vulnerabilty of the hero of the story. Despite being all so powerful in kung fu, Ip Man was still susceptible to weapons. This fact invites the audience to invest emotions in the character rather than shrug off all dangers with “Oh, he’d survive…” One thing I noticed is that the story invested two sub plots to seed the idea of vulnerablility: first time when Master Liu was shot in the head after losing a fight to three Japanese, and the second time when the rat warned that he’d shoot Ip Man like he shot Master Liu if Ip Man won the fight with General Miura. And so I believe all that were watching the movie were as anxious as I was during the final dual…

Things that Irked Me…

One big thing that pulled me out of the movie was the role Yuen(沙膽袁,黄又南饰演). He was suppose to join Kam Shan-Chau’s gang of outlaws in the later part of the movie. But just look at his clean, perfect, flawless skin!!! Even Takeshi Kaneshiro looked grittier in 《赤壁》. I’m sorry, but was his role in the gang suppose to satisfy the indescribable needs of other gang members? I just couldn’t understand why there was such a handsome, baby face. Tracing back the story line, I believe that this character is one that the story could do without. Was the addition of this character more of a commercial strategy rather than story development? I briefly remember that this movie was meant to introduce a new actor/actress but I couldn’t remember who it was…

Another small problem I had with the movie was the moment when Ip Man proposed to challenge ten Japanese to a fight. I understand that he was full of rage when he saw his fellow comarade being shot in the head for no apparent reason. But we should remember that Ip Man was someone who believes that

“中国的武术,包含着儒家的精神,武德,也就是仁爱,要推己及人。日本人把武力变成暴力去欺压别人,根本没资格学习中国的武术”

Yeah, the one-vs-ten scene does add drama to the movie, but I thought that it diverges away from Ip Man’s character and decreased the believability (for me).

One last small problem: the focus on Bruce Lee as one of his students. Granted that Bruce Lee is one of the most well-known martial arts actor in history, but the way that the movie placed focus on Bruce Lee right at the end of the movie left a slightly unpleasant aftertaste. What’s with the +20% font size for Bruce Lee’s name? This is a movie about Ip Man and should remain as that. Later on, I realize that the director had announced plans to do a sequel of this movie, with focus on Ip Man’s disciples. And no prize for getting it right, yes, the focus of the next movie would be mostly on Bruce Lee. Another commercial decision… Haiz…

Trivial

One trivial that I chanced upon when I was researching on this movie: Ip Man did not escape to Hong Kong during the Japanese Occupation. Am a little lazy to translate and so here’s the quote from Wikipedia:

对日抗战初期,叶留在佛山收取情报。1938年,日本军队占领佛山,生活十分艰难,叶于1941—1943年间在晚间借得佛山富商周雨耕与同清泉父子于永安路的“联倡”花纱店教授友人及下属咏春拳。在对面糖面店工作的郭富经过大半年的要求,叶问终于接受他来学习。教授了两年多时间。其徒尚有周雨耕之孙周光裕、人称六仔、外甥伦佳,以及郭富等第一批徒儿。

抗战后期,“联倡”结业,便迁到郭富乡间居住。战后国民党时期返回佛山,出任佛山刑警队队长。最后出任广州市卫戍司令部南区巡逻队上校队长。

1949年共产党夺权后,因恐被清查及连累家眷,留下妻子及两名年幼儿子,乘夜只身逃港,是年五十六岁。

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6 thoughts on “《叶问》

  1. Hey I simply love this movie too!! So depressed after the movie that I cancelled my plans to Kbox.. Hm I do agree that the movie’s link to Bruce Lee was redundant… Ip Man on his man was a great man!

    The part that he beat up the 10 people… oh well.. though he believe martial arts was not supposed to be used to oppress others, he has seen how the Jap treated his own people poorly and in order to maintain the dignity of his people, he had to teach the Jap a lesson. Nevertheless, after the fight, you can still see the pain in his eyes, the pain of using his fist to hurt people.

    Just my interpretation, but this is my favourite martial arts movie so far.

  2. HAHA!!!! Anyway I think this movie is just for entertainment sake only…. The more the number of fighting scenes, the better…. If such movie has to strictly follow the history, it should be screened in those History Channel instead lor…. We dun pay $8 to watch a martial art movie which consists mostly of people talking inside it….

  3. Hmm… But the problem I had is that this movie was made in quite a documentary style. Yes, the movie is for entertainment, but I believe that many audience watched the movie and had the misconception that all the scenes are taken from historical events.

    Anyway, I’ve got a good movie to recommend: “Children of Huang Shi”. Nice~!

  4. haha, i only just watched it last wk. when my friend asked me to watch ip man, i tot it was a high tech movie with something to do with IP protection. hur hur =p

    n…i wouldn’t have known he’s bruce lee’s master if not for that little ending. hahaha =p

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