2 Capsule Reviews: Ip Man Double Feature

Ip Man poster

Ip Man (2008):

Ip Man earned a rapid cult status beyond the scope of most contemporary martial arts movies, partly because of the targeted mention that Ip Man is the master of Bruce Lee, but also because it’s that rare breed of kung fu movie that dispenses with the contrived set-pieces-towards-boss-lair set-up and actually contains character development and a plot. The story follows Master Ip’s confrontation of the occupying Japanese Imperialist Army during World War 2 by accepting an invitation to duel the dangerous Captain Miura.

Ip Man 2 poster

Ip Man 2 (2011):

Donnie Yen returns as Ip Man, master of famed Bruce Lee, in a movie that is much more genre kung fu than the first installment. At first it seems like a set-up for escalating duels as Master Ip attempts to start a new school in Hong Kong, only to have to bid for acceptance in the Martial Arts Club, headed by Master Wong, who is matched in skills and talent. However, the movie gladly continues with the occupation of foreigners motif started in the previous film, this time featuring an English boxing club that’s exploiting the martial arts schools’ for profit. This iteration comes complete with a moral-of-the-story speech and a variety of silly accents that can’t seem to decide whether they’re English, Australian, or American, but who’s tracking?


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