Ip Man (2008)
An experienced martial artist is forced to teach his students the art of Wing Chun during the Japanese Invasion.
Focusing on the early part of his career in1930s and 40s Foshan, China, Wing Chun master Ip Man tries unsuccessfully to be left alone. He is blessed with a lovely wife and children, a wonderful home, enough wealth to remain untroubled by the day-to-day worries of earning a living and heaps of goodwill within his community. But hostile martial arts masters, the marauding Japanese army, and violent gangs will not let him be. And so, as he loses his home, his wealth and many of his freedoms, he reluctantly takes the fight to them with blistering attacks combined with flawless defence.
Donnie Yen, in the title role, combines a quiet nobility, dignity and grace with extraordinary speed, agility and skill.
Directed by Wilson Yip, the film’s martial arts choreography was by Sammo Hung with stunt coordinator Tony Leung Siu-hung.
Donnie Yen, in the title role, combines a quiet nobility, dignity and grace with extraordinary speed, agility and skill. Yen was perfectly cast because he was himself a reputed martial arts choreographer and fighter and brought realism to the role as fighter and teacher/sage.
Beyond the excellent and often thrilling action, the production of this period epic is a key drawcard as the crew did not have the benefit of shooting in Foshan, but instead had to recreate in sets the look and feel of the city in the 1930s and 40s. More importantly, the character-driven approach to the script makes this a richly satisfying viewing experience.
Despite some historical inaccuracies in the story (to support the more dramatic elements in the plot), the dazzling action from a humble and unassuming hero, played with believable earnestness by Donnie Yen, makes this film a much loved and certified classic in the martial arts genre.