Ip Man (2008)
Loosely based on the events of Yip Man grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun (Mentor of Bruce Lee). The movies starts in Foshan around the 1930’s, an area in which martial arts have become a common pastime and many clubs flourish. The first half of the show revolves around the idyllic life of Ip, as a local master of Wing Chun, and the only master in the area not to have a school. It is shown through a series of “private” sparring matches requested by new masters moving into the area that Ip far outclasses any of the schools teachers.
Oddly the movie takes a drastic change at the halfway mark to show the Japanese-Nazi invastion of Foshan, whearupon the movie becomes decidedly darker. Ip mans house is seized and food shortages accompanied by the brutality of the Japanese results in the impoverishment of the locals.
The general of the Japanese troops, Miura, organises the local kung fu practitioners into fights against seasoned karate-ists. The prize for beating 3 Japanese in one fight being a bag of rice the starving locals so badly need. After witnessing his friends beaten to death in these fights Ip man joins and fights 10 Japanese karate-ists badly wounding all of them.
Miura tries to force Ip to teach Wing Chun to his troops but he refuses and instead challenges Miura to a public fight.
Martial Arts Styles Used
Wing Chun Kung Fu, Karate
Broad Sword, Spear, (Luk Dim Boon Kwun, or "Six and A Half Point Pole”)
This hard hitting martial arts, focused movie combines devastatingly visceral action, with brilliant acting and great direction and cutting. The camera work is masterfully done neither subtracting from the action or making it look false. The actors great performances in difficult roles, and awe inspiring skills as martial artists creates a one of a kind move, which achieves true brilliance despite the somewhat schizophrenic change in tone mid-way.
For more information please see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1220719/
Author: Michael Casey, Oxford