Holy Crap, 3.5 readers.
Once in awhile a nerd blogger gets to discover something that is under the radar and share it with his 3.5 readers so that they too may take part in the joy.
And my new joy is…Ip Man!!!
Put on some loose clothing and start practicing your sweet kung fu moves, because BQB is here with a review of the Ip Man movie series.
OBLIGATORY SPOILER ALERT
I’ve seen this movie on Netflix for years and like many films, I just shrugged my shoulders and went, “Meh.” Due to my lack of understanding of the Chinese language, I assumed “Ip Man” was some kind of superhero. I thought the title was “IP man” as if he saves artists from the infringement of their intellectual property or something but no. I was wrong.
I’ve long been a fan of martial arts movies so I finally got around to giving this one a try and wow.
These films are based on the life of Ip Man (in English his last name is Ip and his first name is Man) the legendary Master of Wing Chun Kung Fu. Wing Chun, as I’ve learned through the power of Google, is a style that relies on defense and is especially effective in close quarter combat. Also, it was invented by a woman, so there you go, ladies.
In reality, “Master Ip” is considered one of the great practitioners of Wing Chun, having done a great deal to promote it, including teaching it to his most well-known student, Bruce Lee.
The films are produced out of Hong Kong and have English subtitles, but otherwise they feature the special effects, moves and sound of any Hollywood blockbuster. I’m no historian but I do assume some “liberties” are taken with the history of Master Ip’s life as he does things that no human could probably do but that’s ok. Movies do that with historical figures all the time.
Ip Man 1 (2008) begins with a young Master Ip (Donnie Yen) who lives an affluent life in fo Shan, a place that is prosperous, allowing the residents to pursue martial arts in their spare time.
Alas, World War II breaks out and the Japanese attack and take over. Master Ip and his family and friends are left to live lousy, destitute lives filled with hunger and fear.
People are so hungry that they are willing to take rice in exchange for becoming a Japanese general’s punching bags as he practices karate. Master Ip gets his chance to avenge fo Shan, but must choose between practicality and letting the general win or honor and beating his ass.
In Ip Man 2 (2010), Master Ip and family move to Hong Kong, where the master opens up a Wing Chun school. He scraps with local kung fu masters who feel he must prove his worthiness before joining them in opposing a Western British boxer who insults them and kills one of their beloved masters.
Finally, I haven’t seen Ip Man 3 (2015) yet. Based on the above preview, Ip Man fights Mike Tyson. I’m a little confused by that. I assume Mike Tyson plays a historical character or something. I don’t think Master Ip gets in a time machine to fight Mike in the present.
I’ll have to watch it and get back to you. Often, kung fu films are high on action and low in plot, but the first two films break that trend. So I’m hoping an awesome story that involves Mike Tyson is worked in.
Even if it isn’t, I could over look it as honestly, the Ip vs Mike scene does look pretty awesome.
Donnie Yen, the actor/martial artist who plays Master Ip deserves a lot of props. In true kung fu style, he is stoic and focused, never looking for a fight but ending it once it starts. He comes across as someone who is reflective and studied, who uses martial arts as a manner of being disciplined, but isn’t one to let atrocity go unchecked.
They’re great films. The only thing I’d note is apparently a number of studios, seeing this series’ success, have created their own Ip Man films. I haven’t seen them so they may be fine, but be sure to watch the Donnie Yen films first.
Donnie Yen really needs to come to America and kick some ass in Hollywood. He’s got the moves and the fight scenes (which are not skimped on and come practically every few minutes) are brilliant, breathtaking and a fun spectacle to watch. He does this thing where he gets his opponent locked down, then delivers a hail of rapid fire punches, something I’ve never seen in a movie before.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Available on Netflix. My nerd style is far superior to your geek style.