Monday, June 27, 2011

Ip Man 2: the RPGDesign review

In a revelation that will shock almost no one, I am a huge fan of Asian cinema.

Many of my favorite films are most definitely lighter fare, movies like Hard Boiled, without a doubt the best movie involving SWAT agents repelling from a burning hospital carrying babies ever made.

Sometimes however, I come across a movie that really has something to say, in addition to a prodigious amount of ass kicking, and the Ip Man series definitely fills the bill.

Ip Man is an historical figure, who is primarily known to Westerners as the Wing Chun teacher of Bruce Lee.

In these films, portrayed by Donnie Yen (my current favorite martial arts movie star), Ip Man becomes a lens through which we experience the travails of China in the 20th century. Ip Man deals with the Japanese invasion and occupation of China, while Ip Man 2 deals with the role of the British in Hong Kong.

Let me say if you watch these movies, you will see the Japanese and British portrayed very harshly. I don't happen to have a problem with that, but if you do, you will likely be annoyed.

However, if you want to see some great characters, these movies have plenty of them. I especially loved the way characters from the first movie are shown to matured over time.

Of course, our central protagonist is Ip Man, who struggles to support his family and pay his rent by teaching Wing Chun.

Of course, there is lots of fighting in the movie and it's magnificently choreographed by Sammo Hung (himself a star of Asian cinema) and we get two really standout fight scenes, one between Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung, and the final bout, between Donnie Yen and an arrogrant British boxer who wants to prove the superiority of "real boxing" over the Chinese style.

There is quite a bit of violence and blood, so the movie is not for everyone.

However, if you enjoy some violence and blood and want to see a very well made, big budget Chinese movie, then you should definitely check out Ip Man, and Ip Man 2.

Both movies are available from Netflix, via disc or (at the time of this writing) via Netflix's instant streaming service.

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