IP MAN 2
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
Ip Man 2 deals with Ip Man, a martial arts master who's trying to open his own martial arts school. He doesn't find this financially rewarding and can barely get by with his family. Of course, there's an evil rival master who's got the market cornered via some shady business deals. Lots of ass-kickery ensues.
Is it good movie?
I have some pals who are huge marks for martial arts movies and they swore up and down to me that I'd love the original Ip Man. I recently gave it a look on Netflix and I can officially tell you that they were right. The first flick took the 'I know this is a genre movie' ball and blasted down the field with it until scoring a huge touchdown.
This one starts off in a very similar vein, with the whole 'warring nation/schools/countries' gimmick between the Chinese and the Brits. It certainly warms up well and seems to be building to something big as it goes on. Unfortunately though, it comes of a little hammy and begins to feel a little like something out of the Rocky movies with that whole sense of patriotism. Not a dealbreaker, but worth mentioning.
Anyway, Donnie Yen is still fantastic here. His master character is refreshing and heroic, a true representation of honor, integrity and respect. Watching this character is to want him to succeed. In the days of the super-cool anti-hero, Ip Man is one we can be proud of. As for Sammo Hung, the dude is starting to show his age a bit and looks goofy at times, flying around on wires the way he does. He's still pretty spry for a big old dude but might be starting to push it.
The movie moves at a pretty good pace and spaces out the fights fairly well. The fight between Ip Man and his rival Sammo Hung on top of a restaurant table is absolutely dazzling. Unfortunately though, things seem to come to a bit more of a halt when the whole British thing starts in. The movie becomes more predictable and the british actors stick out like a sore thumb, bizarrely enough.
This doesn't mean that Ip Man 2 is a bad film. It is certainly entertaining, if not as rich in story as the last one tried to be. Donnie Yen's commanding performance is what makes the film great, on top of truly remarkable fight sequences that you won't soon forget.
Video / Audio
Video comes in a fantastic 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are rich and the great camera work is captured well. This is a real visual stunner.
The Audio track comes in Dolby 5.1 and also sounds great. I listened to it in its original Cantonese, but you can also watch it in Mandarin, or an English dub.
First up is an 18 minute Making of featurette that's pretty typical. It focuses on the Ip Man character and then slowly trickles down to photography and fight choreography.
You also get Interviews with director Wilson Yip, Sammo Hung, Donnie Yen, and a bunch of other actors. Yip's is the longest at almost 20 minutes long, while everyone else is pretty quick. This is straight up question and answer stuff, with no behind the scenes footage.
If you like Deleted Scenes, there are 3 of them here, including a fight scene that was pretty decent.
4 Big Scenes is a focus on the art direction of the film, how they were able to create the 1950s Hong Kong vibe. It's split into 4 parts that detail various memorable areas from the film. Good stuff.
There's some other little things too like a Shooting Diary, Gala Premiere and Photo Gallery, but they're all really brief features that run about 3 minutes each
Finally, trailers for Ip Man, Ip Man 2 and the Ip Man 2 Teaser.
Ip Man 2 is absolutely worth watching. It can be goofy, but the hard work showcased and strong title character make up for its shortcomings. if you like martial arts films at all, you should most definitely be checking out both of these films if you haven't already.