11 mar. 2013

My Review: Ip Man 2 Legend of the Grandmaster (7/10)

¨Master, you really can fight ten men at once! ¨

I don’t think there is anyone as exciting as Donnie Yen when it comes to martial arts, and once again he delivers with some very impressive moves and some great choreographed fighting scenes. What Ip Man 2 lacks in storytelling, it makes up for in cool action sequences. This sequel may not live up to the original, but it still is an entertaining movie, and you can never get enough of Donnie Yen. He is just such a natural on screen and his moves are superb; this role was made for him. Yen teams up once again with brilliant director, Wilson Yip, with whom he has worked five times already, and with screenwriter Edmond Wong. The spectacular choreographed fighting scenes were directed by Sammo Hung Kam-Bo who also had a supporting role in this film. The story is like an oriental version of Rocky with Sammo Hung Kam-Bo playing a similar character to that of Apollo Creed and Donnie Yen, Rocky. He begins as sort of a villain, but ends up befriending Ip Man and facing the British version of Drago, Twister. The enemy in this film is the oppressive British regime. This martial art movie was a huge blockbuster in Hong Kong. Despite it having terrific action scenes, it does fail story wise with poor developed characters and some highly stereotyped Brits as the enemy. On the other hand, it is very fast paced and has a lot of action that is worth your time because the martial art scenes are extremely well choreographed and among the best I´ve seen.

The movie picks up right where the first left off as Yip Man (Donnie Yen) migrates from Foshan (after the war with the Japanese) to Hong Kong which happens to be under British colonial rule. Yip Man has a hard time adapting to Hong Kong as his martial art discipline of Wing Chun is unknown in this place. He finally finds one student who seems to be interested in learning this new technique but he encounters some resistance from other martial arts masters who claim he has to pass a test in order to be allowed to teach martial arts in their land. Master Hung Chun-Nam (Sammo Hung Kam-Bo) resists Yip Man at first, but slowly begins to befriend him when they find a common enemy. A western boxer named Twister (Darren Shahlavi) has come to defy their sport by claiming that he can defeat any martial art master. The question then becomes whether or not Yip Man and Master Hung can defend the pride of their nation over this boxing killing machine who has defied them. Lynn Hung reprises her role as Cheung Wing-Sing, Yip Man´s wife who has migrated with him to Hong Kong.

The discipline of Wing Chun involves a lot of close combat so that makes the action scenes much more interesting because everything becomes up close and personal. There are some issues with the storytelling but everything is just an excuse for the next stylized action scene. These fights never disappoint and you don’t get tired of them. The film is nationalistic and that explains the Brit stereotypes. Yip Man 2 claims to be a real life story, but it is more of a fiction work than a bio film. The only true fact about this film is that Yip Man was Bruce Lee´s Master, but all the events in this film happen prior to that and are mostly made up. Seeing Yen in action is what really makes this film worthwhile, but if you are expecting it to live up to its predecessor then you might leave a bit disappointed.


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