Director: Wilson Yip
Cast: Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung, Lynn Hung, Huang Xiaoming, Darren Shahlavi, Fan Siu Wong, Gordon Lam, Kent Cheng, Ashton Chen, Dennis To, Calvin Cheng, Fung Hak On, Li Ze, Lo Meng, Pierre Ngo, Simon Yam
Running Time: 109 min.
By Chico Stick
Don’t let the sequel-hating snobs fool you. Ip Man 2 is one hell of a movie. It may not be as brilliant as the original, but it’s still better than 99% of the standalone bullsh*t out there.
This time around, Wilson Yip is having a little more fun and it shows. Let’s put it this way: If the original Ip Man was First Blood, then Ip Man 2 is Rambo: First Blood Part II. More action, less seriousness – but overall – very entertaining.
As with all follow ups to successful films, I’m sure there was pressure from the studios to pump out another Ip Man flick, yet Wilson Yip and his crew were able to pull it off without burying themselves in sequel hell (ie Matrix Revolutions, Exorcist II, Speed 2, Staying Alive … you get my point).
Sammo Hung, who worked as martial arts choreographer for both films, now has a major, on-screen role; as well as a handful of beefy action sequences. Thanks to Hung, the first film is heavily noted for its fresh, crisp fights; with Ip Man 2, the quality of Hung’s martial arts direction is still evident.
I found it interesting how the final act is essentially Rocky IV in CliffsNotes form. I’m not sure if the similarities have been mentioned before, but it’s obvious that a lot of inspiration came from the Sylvester Stallone flick, and I’m talking right down to the Rocky Balboa/Ip Man speech.
One minor gripe I have with Ip Man 2 is – with the exception of Donnie Yen and Xiong Dai Ling’s roles – the other returning characters have either become lame (Fan Siu-Wong is now a softie) or downright ridiculous (Simon Yam seems to be doing his version of Jacky Cheung’s character in Bullet in the Head). My thing is: if you don’t know what to do with returning characters, don’t bring them back.
Without spoiling anything, the last few minutes of the movie was a nice touch. It actually gave me goose bumps. It makes me want to see an Ip Man 3 right now!
Ip Man 2 is not exactly a Godfather Part II or a Road Warrior, but it’s definitely a solid sequel that’s worth seeing.
Chico Stick’s Rating: 8/10