Ip Man (2008) Review

"Ip Man" US Theatrical Poster

"Ip Man" US Theatrical Poster

Director: Wilson Yip
Cast: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Fan Siu Wong, Lynn Hung, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Gordon Lam Ka-tung, Xing Yu, Wong You Nam, Tenma Shibuya, Chen Zhi Hui
Running Time: 107 min.

By Barey Gusey

I spent most of my Asian movie-watching life staying away from Donnie Yen’s films. I think Drunken Tai-Chi (his first major role, directed by Yuen Woo Ping) was the first of his that I tried; it didn’t grab my attention enough to watch it in its entirety, so I dismissed it as being lame. Then I gave Legend of the Wolf and Ballistic Kiss (both of which, he directed) a shot. Again, both eh… I disliked the fact that he did that same flying kick in all of his movies; not to mention, the action was extremely under cranked to the point of parody. Is this all this guy has to offer? If so, why should I care?

I’m sure the few titles I watched weren’t exactly his best films (until this day, I still haven’t seen Iron Monkey, or any of the Tiger Cage films), but I went with my gut feeling – and other than stumbling upon him in movies like Shanghai Knights and Tai Chi – I decided to never watch a Donnie Yen movie ever again. I mean, there’s too much good stuff out there to keep on giving this guy a chance, so why bother?

In 2008 I started hearing buzz about a new Donnie Yen movie called Ip Man, directed by Wilson Yip (Bullets Over Sumer). I totally ignored it, and you can’t blame me since I spent my time watching quality movies like Na Hong-Jin’s Chaser and Shunichi Nagasaki’s Black Belt — two of the best Asian films of the last 10 years.

In 2010, after getting re-obsessed with The Godfather films and some old Golden Harvest titles, I felt like it would be a nice change of pace to watch something semi-new, so I decided on Ip Man. After all, I had a copy sitting around for a couple of months. It wasn’t an easy decision, because in my mind I was thinking, “Another Donnie Yen flick that’s probably overrated since I’m the only guy that has taste these days.” It also didn’t help that Hong Kong wasn’t exactly pumping out quality around this time. More importantly, I wasn’t ready for another movie filled with hype, since everybody loved getting it up the ass by James Cameron and his mega-overrated Avatar sh*t.

Well, I’m 2 years late, but for what it’s worth, Ip Man is incredible. It’s definitely one of the best films (martial arts, foreign, or not) of the last 10 years. Everything about it is epic: the sets, the acting, the cinematography, the story, the pacing and even the cutie who plays his wife (Xiong Dai Ling).

The fight sequences, by the legendary Sammo Hung, are crispier than a 10-day old Rice Krispy Treat; faster than a typewriter on steroids; and overall, more entertaining than seeing Tila Tequila get pelted with rocks, bottles and feces by Juggalos. Even the use of wires was at an absolute minimum. I hate to put it this way, but as he was beating up the 10 Japanese guys in the dojo, I nearly jerked off and gave Donnie Yen’s face (and my TV) a c*m shot.

Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen killed it.

Barey Gusey’s Rating: 10/10

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One Response to Ip Man (2008) Review

  1. Arthur says:

    One of the most amazing martial arts films ever created. A breakout Donnie Yen performance. This film is in the league with “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”, “Fearless”, “Once Upon A Time in China” and “Enter The Dragon”. A must-see powerful film about an incredible human being. 10/10.

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