Monday, June 24, 2013

The Legend is Born: Ip Man(2010) New York Asian Film Festival

Yu-Hang To who looks like a very young Donnie Yen  stars as Ip Man in this prequel to the Donnie Yen films. Covering the life of Ip man from his enrollment in a Wing Chung school until the approximate time of the first Donnie Yen

By turns a romance, a philosophical dissertation,action film, nationalistic tract, sibling rivalry tale and a few other things this film is a good but very uneven film. Its almost as if a film twice as long as this was intended and then they cut it down to 100 minutes chopping out little connecting bits that would have made the story great. The simple answer is that the film bites off more than it can chew....but oh my what it bites off

Reservations aside when this film is firing on all cylinders it really kicks ass with a series of truly great fights. Probably the best of the bunch occurs about a third of the way into the film when Ip man meets an ancient druggist who is himself a master. From there there are a series of fights, the most spectacular of which is a long battle between lots of Japanese with and various opponents. Even though it employs heavy use of wire work which really wasn't in heavy evidence previously, the film is sure to make you go WOW repeatedly.

The cast is incredible with Yu Hang To as Ip Man leading the way. While not playing things as calm and cool as Donnie Yen's pass at the character he does manage to get the intensity of Yen fighting in his prime say Dragon, SPL or Flash Point. The rest of the cast just as good, though anyone wanting to see Sammo Hung  should make sure not to miss the first ten minutes, because he's gone by then.

Definitely worth seeing at NYAFF when it runs Saturday

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