'Ip Man' is based on the life of the martial artist, Ip Man who was the real life Kung fu master of Bruce Lee. The movie concentrates solely on the events, which occurred around Ip Man in the city of Foshan (China) between 1930 and 1940 during the 'Second Sino-Japanese (China/Japan) War'.
In the movie, the main form of martial art that is displayed is Wing Chun, which specializes in close-range combat. Ip Man was the first martial arts master to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun openly.
Ip Man is one of the finest martial arts movies produced by the Hong Kong movie industry. It was released in December 2008 to a widespread deserved critical acclaim and box-office success. The movie was nominated for 12 Hong Kong Film Awards, winning awards for Best Picture and Best Action Choreography.
The star of the show is the really underrated Donnie Yen who enacts the role of Ip Man. He is simply underrated because he has not been involved in many high grossing movies, whereas the likes of Jackie Chan and Jet Li have. Donnie Yen, if not better, is equally as talented as Chan and Li. In the movie, the way he performed the action scenes is worthy of an applause, simply jaw dropping. Yen performs the action scenes with natural ease making the fighting look beautiful and artistic. Now, coming to the acting, this is clearly Yen's career best performance as he portrays both a 'Hero' and a 'Wounded lion' with total conviction and raging aggression. The way he expresses his emotions both facially and physically is SUPERB. Ip Man is a Donnie Yen show from beginning to end.
The character of the main villain is portrayed by the Japanese actor, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi. His portrayal of the formidable Japanese general is impressive.
The movie is directed by Wilson Yip who provides excellent direction, succeeding in keeping the audience glued to the screen until the end. Ip Man is the fourth collaboration between Yen and Yip after the brilliant 'SPL: Sha Po Lang (aka Kill Zone)', the enjoyable 'Dragon Tiger Gate' and the entertaining 'Flash Point'. All these movies are of the action genre and showcase the chemistry and talent of the duo. All three movies contain stunning martial arts especially 'Sha Po Lang', which was hailed as a return to the classic Hong Kong action cinema. Ip Man is the best effort from the duo to date.
The stunning action choreography, which is a treat to watch is provided by the legendary Sammo Hung (Hong Kong Actor/Martial Artist/Director) who has starred in classic movies like 'Wheels on Meals', 'Project A' and also 'Sha Po Lang'. The beautifull choreography by Hung is displayed on screen by Yen's martial arts skills with finesse. The fight scenes, which are real and brutal are the best I've ever seen and will leave your heart-pounding.
Another hero of the movie is the background music score, which is composed by the Japanese composer, Kenji Kawai. The music is moving and compliments the narration and Yen's action scenes with sheer perfection. The music combined with the martial-arts display by Yen simply inspired me to learn Wing Chun, but after carrying out a reality check, I think I'll leave the martial arts to Yen.
The Blu-ray quality is excellent, providing crystal clear picture and heart-thumping sound. The screen resolution for the Blu-ray disc is 1080p (1920 x 1080 progressive scan), the sound format is HD MA 5.1 Dolby Digital, the audio language is only in Cantonese and the subtitles, which are non-removable are only in English. The disc is in PAL format and region B.
Ip Man is not a normal martial arts movie as it contains all the essential elements of an out-and-out entertainer. It's one of my favourite movies as it has a moving/emotional story, with a great narration, brilliant action, terrific performances and to round it all off, soothing and inspiring music.
It's an inspiring feel-good movie with Ip Man being portrayed as the real 'Peoples Hero' who fought for his people. Once the movie gains momentum you'll be rooting for Yen subconsciously and in the process you just might discover the 'Hero' within you.
Ip Man is strongly recomended as it is one of the greatest Hong Kong movies ever. As a result of the movies success Ip Man 2 is currently in the making and is being planned to be released in 2010, can't wait.
Once Ip Man receives international recognition (for some reason it hasn't yet) it'll become an instant classic.