|Ip Man (2008)|
|Rating: 8.1/10 (159,807 votes)
Director: Wilson Yip
Writer: Edmond Wong (screenplay), Tai-Li Chan
Stars: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Ka Tung Lam, Siu-Wong Fan
Runtime: 106 min
Genre: Action, Biography, Drama
Released: 12 Dec 2008
|Plot: A semi-biographical account of Yip Man, the successful martial arts master who taught the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun to the world.|
In the 1930s, Foshan is a hub of Southern Chinese martial arts, where various schools actively recruit disciples and compete against each other. Although the Wing Chun master Ip Man is the most skilled martial artist in Foshan, he is unassuming and keeps a low profile. As an independent wealthy man, he feels no need to accept any disciples and instead spends his days training, meeting with friends, and spending time with his family. However, his wife is often resentful of the time he spends training and discussing martial arts with friends and colleagues. Though not a professional martial artist, Ip is respected in Foshan due to the abilities he displays in friendly, closed-door competitions with local masters. Ip’s reputation is further enhanced when he defeats an aggressive, rude, highly skilled Northern Chinese martial arts master, Jin Shanzhao, thus upholding the regional pride of fellow Southern stylists and others in Foshan.
The Japanese invasion in 1937 adversely affects the life of everyone in Foshan. Ip’s house is claimed by the Japanese and used as their Foshan headquarters. Ip and his family lose their wealth and are forced to move into a decrepit house. Desperate to support his family, Ip accepts work at a coal mine. The Japanese General Miura, who is a Karate master, establishes an arena where Chinese martial artists compete with his military trainees. The Chinese earn a bag of rice for every match they win. Li Zhao, a former police officer and Ip’s acquaintance, is now working as a translator for the Japanese and is making the offer to the martial artists working at the coal mine. Ip at first declines to participate in the matches. However, when his friend Lin goes missing, he agrees to take part in order to investigate. Ip arrives to see Liu executed by Miura’s lieutenant, Sato, for picking up a bag of rice from a prior victory after conceding in a second match against three karateka. He also comes to understand that Lin was killed in an earlier fight. Barely able to contain his rage, Ip demands a match with ten karateka at once. Despite having not practiced Wing Chun since the invasion began (in order to conserve what little food his family had to survive), he proceeds to mercilessly crush each of them with a brutal barrage of his martial art mastery, showing none of the restraint he exhibited in previous engagements. His skill arouses the interest of Miura, who seeks to learn more about Ip and see him fight again.