Ip Man

I decided to go with a little bit of a theme that I did last year. Last year I did a little dip into martial arts movies in December and I wanted to do the same thing this year, but going with a movie series instead of a loose theme. Ip Man was just as good as I had heard it was. I had put off watching the movie for so long mostly because I wasn’t completely sure where to watch it but once I found out I finally watched it.

Ip Man is a biographical movie titled after the titular character. It was written by Edmond Wong and Chan Tai-lee and directed by Wilson Yip. I don’t know how much was embellished in the story but everything in the movie was incredibly compelling. I know that there is a combination of truth and movie magic to the story because no matter how compelling a true story is that doesn’t necessarily mean that it would make a good movie.

Ip Man stars Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Gordon Lam, Fan Siu-wong, Xing Yu, Chen Zhihui, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, and Tenma Shibuya. Donnie Yen’s performance as the titular character is amazing. His performance is really subtle, and the changes are helped along by the music cues. The subtle shifts in his demeanor are exemplified in the fight scenes. There are three different versions of him in fights and those small differences show how the story affects him. The first fight is a friendly exhibition, and you can tell because of his relaxed stance. That’s in stark contrast to his first-time fighting in front of the Japanese, where he is aggressive and is fully on the attack.

That fight is the best showcase for practical effects. The way that Ip Man dispatches the men that he’s fighting goes a long way to show how the events of the movie up to that point have affected him. The makeup for the bruises look great. The fight scenes from Sammo Hung are fantastic. Honestly, saying that they’re just fantastic feels like I’m underselling them. The music from Kenji Kawai does a great job of supporting the movie. It works as an exclamation point to what happens in the movie.

Ip Man is a martial arts movie that lives up to the hype around it. This was the first movie in a four-movie franchise. I can only hope that the other three movies in the franchise are as good as this one. All four of the movies are available on Netflix, so if you haven’t seen any of the movies you can watch them there. I give Ip Man 9.5 bags of rice out of 10.

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