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~
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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.
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
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…
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: