Ip Man 2 Movie Review
admovieso | April 4, 2012 | No comments
Distributor Well Go is giving this upcoming movie a real theatrical run after the surprising success of the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the first Ip Man. New movie release Ip Man 2 was announced before the first was in general release. It’s a clever movie and just as entertaining as the first. It’s probably going to do better than the first Ip Man at the box office.
It’s about the master of a style of Kung Fu called Wing Chun. He’s known around the man as Bruce Lee’s first instructor. Wilson Yip returns as director, Edmond Wong as the screenwriter and Donnie Yen stars in new movie Ip Man 2.
Originally this was meant to be a two part film. The first part was to be about Ip Man’s life before and then during WWII. The sequel was to be about his work with Bruce Lee in the ‘50s. Because of problems with Bruce Lee’s estate, made it necessary for the producers to go ahead with this one of the first of the year’s new movies and make it a fictionalized account of Ip Mans life during British Colonialism. This is a well made film, and sticks to its heritage – both culturally and cinematically. This may easily be one of the top 10 movies of the after holiday season.
The story begins in 1950. Ip Man and his family are now living in Hong Kong as Chinese ex-patriots. He’s hoping to find some opportunities not available in China. Ip Man opens a Kun Fu studio, hoping to popularize the Wing Chun style. It’s hard for him to find students until he fights off some rivals who then become Wing Chun followers. However, living in Hong Kong after WWII is a dangerous undertaking. Many of the local schools of Kung Fu act almost like street gangs, taking parts of the neighborhood while being overseen by Master Hung Chun-nam, played by Sammo Hung. He’s the film’s director as well. Master Hung Chun-nam says that he’s keeping Hong Kong peaceful through what amounts to a protection scheme. Ip Man, of course, refuses to pay and must take part in a challenge, which he wins, so that he can still teach. Once again, Ip Man is challenged when he must take part in a boxing exposition, western style, that features a British boxer named Taylor “The Twister” Milos. He’s played by Darren Shahlavi. When things become nasty, Ip Man must battle “The Twister” to save his honor as a Chinese man.
This second movie is, though less melodramatic, more satisfying than the first. This is due, in part, to Sammo Hung’s direction and acting, which is outstanding. Hung’s direction is reminiscent of his work with Jackie Chan in the 1990’s during the Hong Kong New Wave. His direction is almost seamless, and there are parts of the film that are going to become classics. Hung’s performance as Master Hung Chun-nam is what really makes the film. He is full of energy as well as complex morally and plays the perfect foil to Yen’s quiet, good, character.
The only bad part of the movie, if there is one, is the way that the English language actors appear “cartoonish.” This has never bothered Asian viewers much but it makes thing difficult of American film distributors. It’s hoped that the poor acting in English won’t bother American audiences too much – especially those viewers who can’t wait for Ip Man 3.