Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Movie Review: Ip Man 2 (2010)

Western Boxing vs Wing Chun
As I mentioned in Movie Review: Ip Man (2008), I'm planning to see "Ip Man 3" tomorrow night. To be caught up for the third movie in the Ip Man series, I watched the 2010 movie "Ip Man 2."

This was a much different movie, and in some ways you might call it the "Chinese Rocky" edition of the Ip Man trilogy.

It had a different flow compared to the previous film, and I enjoyed it.

Here's what I liked about the movie:

  • Donnie Yen: Donnie Yen continues to shine in these films. I didn't think his acting range was tested as much in this movie, but his quiet presence is unlike other leading actors in martial arts movies.
  • Cross-style fighting: Seeing different styles fight each other was one of my favorite aspects of the first Ip Man movie. In Ip Man 2, we get a chance to see different Chinese styles clash, several times. As shown in the image above, we also get to see eastern and western styles in conflict. In fact, not only does Wing Chun confront western boxing, we see Sammo Hung's southern Hung Ga style clash with Wing Chun and Western boxing. 
  • Conflict within the Chinese community: I do not know the accuracy of the "rules" governing the teaching of martial arts in Hong Kong. However, I liked the scenes involving Master Ip confronting Hong Kong's kung fu masters in order to win the right to teach Wing Chun. It was reminiscent of Bruce Lee's struggle to teach western students in San Francisco.
  • Themes besides fighting: As a father of young children, I enjoyed seeing that even a martial arts master like Ip Man again had to balance family life with professional and community responsibilities. However, I didn't think it was a good idea to miss the birth of Master Ip's second child.
  • Action and pacing: I thought the movie progressed nicely, perhaps better than the first movie. 
  • Price: At $3.99 at Amazon, the movie was a more expensive rental than the original film. However, it was completely worth it.
On the critical side, I have to repeat my "Historical inaccuracy" and "It helps to like martial arts movies" issues from the first movie review. With another mild spoiler alert, I thought it was slightly unbelievable that a corrupt Hong Kong intermediary would turn on his even more corrupt police contact. I was also glad the British police were not shown as totally evil in this movie.

In brief, if you like martial arts movies and haven't seen Ip Man or Ip Man 2, I strongly recommend both of them. I look forward to reviewing the third installment later this week.

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