Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ip Man (2008)

This film was the runner up to the audience award at the 2009 New York Asian Film Festival. I don't know if that's a vote of confidence or not, but it is a very good film.

Donnie Yen stars as the Ip Man. A well off man who spent his life studying martial arts and perfecting his technique to the point he was unbeatable. Often sparring with the heads of the local dojos behind closed doors he tried to learn as much as he could. Covering a brief period before the Japanese invasion of China in the first third of the film, the majority of the film deals with what happened after the invasion and how the man who "can't do anything" found he could.(He's also the man who taught Bruce Lee how to fight)

I have no idea how much of this is gospel truth, but whats on screen is very good. The film has great performance by Yen as the Ip Man, who conveys a great deal of our hero's humanity and sense of honor in the non-action scenes and really letting loose in the action sequences. Yen's quiet demeanor nicely covers his unstoppable ability. Even having seen Yen in numerous other films, I still found his battles utterly amazing (Thank you Sammo Hung). If you love action you really need to see this.

I really liked this film. If there is a problem with the film I found some of the Japanese sequences a tad cliche (bad Japanese monsters). Its not bad, but in a film that seems to strive to be more than a typical martial arts film, I found it kind of disappointing.

Then again when the end came I was moved, so I guess it doesn't matter.(I'm also looking forward to the announced sequel)

If you want to see a really good action bio, see this film.

This can be had from Amazon in a variety of editions.

ADDENDUM: This film was brought back and encored at the 2010 NYAFF

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