Ip Man

December 12th, 2008

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Ip Man

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A semi-biographical account of Yip Man, the first martial arts master to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun.

Release Year: 2008

Rating: 8.1/10 (40,932 voted)

Critic's Score: 59/100

Director: Wilson Yip

Stars: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Siu-Wong Fan

In 1935 in Foshan, south China, there are martial arts schools on every street corner. Ip Man is the undisputed martial arts champion, yet he has not devoted himself to teaching. Despite this, it seems that all the kung fu masters of the city are eager to fight him to improve their reputation.

Donnie Yen - Ip Man
Simon Yam - Zhou Qing Quan
Siu-Wong Fan - Jin Shan Zhao
Ka Tung Lam - Li Zhao
Yu Xing - Master Zealot Lin
You-Nam Wong - Shao Dan Yuan
Chen Zhi Hui - Master Liao
Li Chak - Ip Chun
Lynn Hung - Zhang Yong Cheng
Hiroyuki Ikeuchi - Miura
Calvin Cheng Ka-Sing -
Yu-Hang To - Hu Wei

Taglines: The celebrated Kung Fu master of Bruce Lee


Official Website: Official site | Official site [Hong Kong] |

Release Date: 12 December 2008

Opening Weekend: PHP 1,928,370 (Philippines) (17 May 2009) (16 Screens)

Gross: PHP 2,430,993 (Philippines) (24 May 2009)

Technical Specs


Factual errors: After Ip Man's fight against the 10 Japanese Karate, his hands are bruised and then tended to by his Wife. The damaged knuckles are the index and middle fingers, yet in wing chun you are taught to punch with the bottom two (mainly bottom one) knuckles in an upward, snapping motion. Lin Wan Kuen or wing chun boxing repeats this motion, "chain-punching", as you can clearly see in the fight, and the close ups also reveal the correct punching technique but later show the wrong damaged knuckles.

Miura: [after witnessing Ip Man single-handedly defeat ten Japanese fighters at once] What's your name?
Ip Man: I'm just a Chinese man.

User Review

Powerhouse performance by Donnie Yen

Rating: 8/10

Donnie Yen is a long time favorite of mine, although this is mainly due to his martial arts skills and screen presence rather than his acting skills. In Ip Man (or Ye Wen, as they were shouting in the seats next to mine) he delivers a truly solid performance on the acting side, carrying the burden of a nation on his shoulders with gravitas, at least that's what he conveyed to the audience at the cinema. They were actually applauding at times. Then again, moviegoers might be more absorbed over here on a regular basis. I digress.

I'm not going to delve deeper into plot details. The basic stuff is already outlined above, and I also feel the historical accuracy of certain events depicted can be debated. That's a bit of a moot point, though, since most people will watch this for the action scenes. Nobody will be disappointed. Donnie kicks twelve kinds of ass in this movie, and it is all accompanied by some of the meanest sound design I've ever heard. Every one of his rapid punches can be felt as he pummels the poor bastards in his way with the Ip Man-style of martial arts (imdb won't let me spell out the name for some reason). The final bout is epic,but for me it was one scene about halfway through that got my heart beating faster. It involves Donnie, ten Japanese karate practitioners and some of the most furious fighting I've ever seen on screen. You can really sense the anger of his character in this scene. Great stuff.

The film moves forward at a brisk pace and contains a surprisingly large amount of fight scenes. It totally lacks the vintage over-the-top-aesthetics of Donnie Yen's films of the 80's and 90's, but for some people that's a good thing. I personally think this is his finest performance to date.

Highly recommended for fans of martial arts cinema!

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