20 jul. 2012

My Review: Ip Man (10/10)

¨There are no men who fear their wives. Only men who respect them.¨

I`m no martial art expert, but Yip Man has to be one of the coolest martial art films I`ve seen in a long time. I loved this movie completely. I began watching it very late and decided I would only watch the beginning to see what all the buzz was about, but there was no way I could stop watching and I was hooked from the beginning. Donnie Yen is a true star and he was outstanding in every fight scene. He felt like the Yoda of martial arts, keeping his cool, always giving smart advice and using as little violence as possible, but at the same time he seemed untouchable. He`s not like most characters in martial arts, but rather more of a young Mister Miyagi who`s wise beyond his years and never looks for trouble despite knowing he can defeat anyone in a heartbeat. He is completely against violence and uses martial arts for his personal well being. This film was directed by Wilson Yip and is supposed to be based on the biography of Yip Man, the first master to teach the art of Wing Chun (a Chinese martial art). Yip Man is known as the man responsible for teaching Bruce Lee, the greatest martial art superstar. There is no doubt that Bruce Lee made this art popular all over the world through his movies. I don`t know how authentic the biography is, but I don`t care because I was entertained by this film which was written by Edmond Wong. The script was interesting and he made me care for the characters in this film. The fight scenes were beautifully choreographed, but the story also worked to perfection. It wasn’t all about the fighting, there was some depth to Yip Man and Donnie Yen played him extremely well.

The story takes place during 1935 in a small Chinese town named Foshan. This town is known for having a martial art class in every corner. There are all sorts of martial art styles and masters, but everyone knows that the best martial artist in town is Yip Man (Donnie Yen). Despite being the best, Yip Man isn’t interested in becoming a master; he lives a simple life in his rich estate along with his wife, Zhang Yong (Lynn Hung), and his young son. Every master in town wants to prove their talent by facing Ip Man in a friendly duel, but no one stands a chance against him. Everything seems to be going well for the town of Foshan until their country is attacked by Japan and soon the Imperial Japanese army invades their town. Yip Man`s estate is confiscated by Japan and him and his family are left with nothing. They barely have enough food to survive so Yip Man decides to accept any job in order to get more food. The Japanese General, Miura (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi), begins staging martial art fights between Chinese and Japanese fighters promising rice if they defeat them. Miura himself is an excellent fighter and in one fight he kills Yip Man`s friend. Yip Man who was against participating in this sort of event goes to a fight to try to find out what has happened to his friend. There he discovers that he can defy the Japanese army with his martial art skills.

Yip Man is a great biographical story although it probably isn’t 100% accurate. Donnie Yen plays the character so smooth and wise that he looks virtually invincible and untouchable. The fighting scenes are also excellently choreographed and there are some great action scenes. Donnie Yen is really talented and he just might be the next martial art movie star. He`s not only a great fighter, but he can also act as well. This film is so much more than an action packed movie; it has some interesting drama and a great storyline as well. This film has gotten great reviews, but I wonder what the Japanese think of it because they were poorly depicted and it is part of their history that they would probably want to forget. I loved the mood of this film and consider it to be one of my favorite martial art films. That is how much I liked it, and in my humble opinion it is a masterpiece. I look forward to seeing Donnie Yen in more films and catching up with my martial art films.

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