Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Night Fu Review: Ip Man 2

Ip Man 2  
This is one of those rare cases when the sequel surpasses the original. I didn't actually do a formal review of Ip Man, but it was a good movie. Beautifully filmed and choreographed and starring the super talented Donnie Yen, and yet…it didn't light me on fire. Certainly not the way Ong-Bak did. In my opinion, it was lacking a certain amount of charisma and fun, though there's no doubt is was a solid Kung Fu film.

Ip Man 2 (葉問2:宗師傳奇, 2010) on the other hand, was really exciting. Both films are biographical, telling the story of Ip Man, founder and Grandmaster of the Wing Chun style of Kung Fu, and Bruce Lee's mentor (though Bruce doesn't turn up until the very end of the sequel, in an obnoxious bit of heavy-handed foreshadowing). The second film follows Ip Man's struggles to start his own Kung Fu school in 1950, in the wake of the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong depicted in the first installment. Ip Man is opposed by a bullish collective of established masters in the area, and must win their respect and acceptance if he's to realize his calling and provide for his vulnerable family.

Xiaoming, you are getting
so thrusted on next week…
Amid all this drama, colonial tension is also brewing. The British are causing unrest in Hong Kong with their blustering imperialism, and this manifests itself in the form of Mister Twister. Twister is an über-thug English boxer (played by Mancunian martial artist Darren Shahlavi) who scoffs at Kung Fu and its pint-sized practitioners. Of course this unites the city's schools, and Ip Man has the chance to prove himself a true and worthy master if he can rise to challenge the British brute and avenge the Chinese fighters who have been injured and even killed in the ring.

I thought this movie was really solid, and far more fun than its predecessor. It loses a star for the hyper-precocious Bruce Lee reveal (which could have been so much cooler if handled with a wink instead of a sledge hammer), and some unnecessarily over-the-top Crouching-Tiger-style stunts, which felt out of place in an otherwise passably realistic biopic. But it gets a solid four stars from me, especially since it's got Huang Xiaoming, who is a FOX!

Here's the kick-ass trailer:

No comments:

Post a Comment