Not to be confused with IP Man a Legend is Born (2010) although they do have many of the same actors in each of the films. Ip Man is the story of the legendary Wing Chun Master during the 2nd Sino Japanese War and is mostly a PRC national pride movie. I don’t think that it is over the top though, no more than Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot” was for the USA. The film is a changing point for the acting ability of one of my favorite action stars Donnie Yen. It was nice to see him be caring, humble, depressed, sad, happy all in one movie instead of his trade mark Face of Rage and Stone Face. This is a great improvement from films like Ice Man. Donnie Yen won 2 Best Actor and 1 Nomination for Best Actor for this film.
The martial arts choreography is simply amazing and Sammo Hung certainly proved that he is one of the best in the business. Donnie Yen’s fight scenes are, as usual, wondrous to watch.
Donnie Yen (Seven Swords, Once Upon a Time in China II, Ip Man 2 & 3) as Ip Man
Sammo Hung (The Iron Buddha, A Touch of Zen, Painted Skin) Martial Arts Choreography
Lynn Hung as Cheung Wing-sing , Ip Man’s wife.
Hiroyuki Ikeuchi as Miura a Japanese general and a Karate expert.
Gordon Lam (Infernal Affairs 1 & 3) as Li Chiu a police inspector and Ip Man’s acquaintance.
Fan Siu-wong (Ip Man 2, The Legend is Born – Ip Man, WuDang) as Kam Shan-chu, an aggressive northern martial artist who comes to Foshan to challenge other masters. Fan Siu-wong played in another adaptation of Ip Man.
Simon Yam ( Young and Dangerous 1-3, Bodyguards and Assassins, 7 Assassins) as Chow Ching-chuen, a businessman and Ip Man’s close friend.
Xing Yu (Kung Fu Hustle , Dragon Tiger Gate, Bodyguards and Assassins) as Master Lam Zealot, the first son of a restaurant owner in Foshan, he is a martial artist and Ip Man’s friend.
Wong You-nam as Yuan, the second son of a restaurant owner in Foshan who causes a lot of trouble.
Calvin Cheng (Ip Man 2) as Chow Kong-yiu, the son of the cotton mill owner, who is interested in learning kung fu.
Chen Zhihui (Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon, 14 Blades, An Empress and the Warriors) as Master Liu, a martial arts instructor.
No I know I said I didn’t have a problem with the National Pride theme, but what I did have a problem with was racial stereotypes. I have no illusions of how brutal the Japanese were during the Second Sino Japanese War but that does not excuse this, I’ve added the racist war poster picture next to it.
They did paint a more realistic betrayal of the Japanese Collaborator Li Chiu not as a simpering toadie (like old Shaw Brothers films did) but as a man trying to survive and using what he got from the Japanese to help his extended family.
Film 4 review. Some good information about the Historical inaccuracies of the film.
Kung Fu Cinema Review