Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ip Man (Wilson Yip)

Fight scene.

Film Review Archive (date seen: December 21, 2010)

('Yip Man' is the person, 'Ip Man' is the film, just so anyone who bothers to read this review may easily identify which is which)

Call it too propagandistic, call Yip Man's cinematic rendition overly romanticized, but this film is possibly one of the best martial arts films I've seen, both for its flawless fight choreography (by Sammo Hung) and riveting narrative. And yes, Screw "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" for its wires, Yip Man can cut them with a single swat.

Donnie Yen is very impressive playing the legendary title role, having the quiet capability of administering his authority and presence thoroughly felt even at the film's very beginning. Aside from being a medium for artful fistfights, "Ip Man" also treated martial arts as an engrossing cultural craze that stormed 1930's China as an unexpected fad among the higher class.

The film isn't just about the fictionalized exploits of a Wing Chun grand master formerly living in the shadows of his superstar apprentice that founded the Jeet Kune Do fighting system (you know who he is), but also an uncommon (though a bit honey-glazed, I must admit) exploration of unconditional Chinese patriotism in the midst of imperial occupation.

Before, if somebody mentions to me the name 'Yip Man', I'll immediately visualize a thin old man slowly and wearily sparring with Bruce Lee. But after watching this film, a martial arts demigod more or less.

(Note for those who have already seen the film: The image above is simply captioned 'fight scene'. Need I say more?)


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