Movie review: “The Legend is Born: Ip Man”
Yu-Hang To as Ip Man
Siu-Wong Fan as Ip Tin Chi
Huang Yi as Cheung Wing-Shing
Short Story Summary: Story of the early life of Wing Chun Master, Ip Man.
Plot: (9/10) TLIB: Ip Man has a well-constructed plot that is well written and entertaining. Even though it may not be completely related to Donnie Yen’s Ip Man films, this film does work well as a prequel for those movies. It had a few minor flaws, but they never really hampered the film. The biggest flaw and I guess it was a necessary evil, was the Japanese being the villains again. I know that the time period that this was set, there was tensions between China and Japan, but does every other film haft to feature the Japanese as the main villain. It’s just getting really old. Other than this, the plot was pretty good.
Characters/Cast: (10/10) The cast was excellent in this film. Yu-Hang To not only looks like a Younger Donnie Yen, he also played the part perfectly and was really how I would picture Ip Man from the other films being when he was young. It was also nice to see Sammo Hung briefly in the beginning as Ip Man’s master, Chan Wah-Shun. The rest of the cast are also really good. Huang Yi does well as Ip Man’s Love interest, Cheung Wing-Shing. Siu-Wong Fan, who you may remember as Jin Shanzhao in the first two Ip Man films, plays the role of Ip Mans oath brother, Ip Tin Chi. I actually really liked his performance in the other films and here he as good, if not better. His character was very interesting and I found myself more interested in his goals and ambitions at times, than with Ip Man (who by this point, I already knew pretty well). His story takes a tragic turn, but he keeps himself from becoming another “Dark Side” victim.
Action: (7.5/10) There were not near as many fights as the first two films and the ones it did have seemed under powered, save for the final fight.. They just didn’t have the same thrill as the Ip Man 1&2 had. The first two had several really good fights: from the fight between Ip Man and the ten Japanese karate fighters to the second films final fights in the arena at the end. This film just did not have those kind of awe-inducing moments, other than the final fight at the end. This, to me, has to have the best “Boss” fight of the three films. I can’t really talk about it, but trust me when I say it is very well done. I will say that the final fight starts when the ninjas (yes, this film has ninjas) show up. The other bad flaw of the fight was the over use of wires. I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but wires just kill the enjoyment of fights for me. It makes them look really fake and most of the times they are not even really needed. They really need to be gotten rid of in action scenes unless they are absolutely needed.
Music: (8/10) To be honest, I can’t really recall much about the soundtrack. But I will be generous because I liked the song that was played on the Phonograph.
Visuals: (8.5/10) Nothing really spectacular with the visuals. The film is pretty much set in at the school that Ip Man trains. Wires are also once again a visual killer and I will just leave it at that. Not much more I can say, it was pretty much like the other films in terms of visuals.
Conclusion: A great addition to the previous films, that helps us to fill in some of the back story of Ip Man. While it may not be as good as the others, it is still a must watch for Ip Man fans and MA fans alike. I highly recommend checking this one out.