Ip Man (2008)


Film adaptation of events vaguely based on famous Wing Chun grandmaster Yip Man’s life. Starring Donnie Yen as the eponymous title character, the movie boast excellent and highly entertaining fight scenes, but the main narrative arc is strangely broken and keeps the movie unfocused. The first half of the movie raises one set of expectations that goes completely off the table once the Japanese invade and sidetrack the movie into a completely different direction.

Whenever the movie makes attempts to be something more than just a fighting movie, it becomes cringe-worthy. This is not something untypical for Hong Kong movies, but here I think the main problem is that Yen’s portrayal is so saintly that it goes right off the chart. This can work in more action or comedy focused movies, but in Ip Man, once the movie tries to go the dramatic route, just becomes utterly ridiculous and breaks the illusion. Overall, watch for the fights, try to get through the other moments.

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