Monday, July 30, 2012

Movie Review: “Ip Man”

   I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.
The Cast: 
   Donnie Yen delivers a great performance as Wing Chun martial arts master, Yip Man. In truth, everyone in the cast delivers great characterizations of the roles they have...but Yen has the most prominent, and having worked closely on the subject matter and with the students and family of the real Yip Man to make this film...captures much of the martial art, and no doubt delivers some aspects of the real Yip Man. He comes across as humble, yet very formal when engaging in combat. Later, he shows the depth of his humanity and grief when faced with the Japanese occupation of China.
The Plot:

   This film is based on a true events.
   In 1935, Foshun is a prosperous town in China...and Yip Man is the local master. All others seek to challenge him, including a gang from the north. Yip takes on all comers, and cements his position as the undisputed master. Living in luxury and prominence...everything changes when the Japanese invade China.
   Under Japanese rule, Foshun falls into poverty...and food is the only currency that matters to those going hungry. Yip uses whatever connections he has...and the reciprocation of his past acts of kindness to find work, and get food for his family. The Japanese set up a fight club for their soldiers...and entice Chinese participants with the promise of extra rice...and the fear of death.
   One of Yip’s closest friends is killed in this arena, setting Yip down a path of anger and revenge. Yip enters the club...and performs a feat never before seen, putting himself on notice, and setting himself up for the ultimate showdown for which victory means life...and defeat means his death, and the destruction of his family.
The Verdict: 
   I love martial arts films...but this one especially, struck a personal chord with me. Being a practitioner of Wing Chun, I was excited to see the art brought to life in such a unique, and fairly accurate way. When I say “accurate” I understand and accept the liberties the movie industry takes with this type of subject matter. Was everything in the film one hundred percent accurate with the tenets of the art? No...but it was close enough to be enjoyable.
   Donnie Yen is an incredible martial artist and the fight scenes in this film are some of the best ever any film. It isn’t just the art...although Wing Chun is a highly effective and simplistic combat form, it’s also the choreography. The fact that almost every fight scene has you either out of your chair or on the edge of your seat is a testament to the skill and dedication of every practitioner in the film. Further...the film doesn’t rest all it’s eggs in the fight basket, and tells a riveting story that seems all the more astounding when you keep reminding yourself that these events really happened.
   If you’re the type that finds historical movies interesting, there is something here for you. If you like great martial arts would be sacrilege to not see this movie as it stands apart as one of the most incredible displays of the art of combat. I can’t stress enough some of the mind-blowing sequences put together in this film...and will just say that this cup of tea was impeccable...and served up four, out of five, cinnamon sticks in my cup.

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