Ip Man 2: An originator triumphs over skepticism and ignorant British Boxers
Words by: Desmond Childs
I’ll admit that I was pretty late to seeing this movie, and have yet to have watched the first installment. Unfortunately, the first news I heard about this sequel is that it owes a large part of it’s box office success to the highly popular original. That’s sorta like a backhanded compliment, isn’t it? Like saying, the only reason you didn’t blow yourself up is because you hadn’t learned how to light a fuse. Perhaps I’m being a little confusing. Anyway, Ip Man’s legacy apparently lies with the storytelling, star Donnie Yen, and the phenominal choregraphed action sequences. This film actually reminded me of those Rocky movies we got in the late 70s and 80s. One important difference being that Ip Man 2’s protagonist is somewhat accomplished in his trade whereas Rocky I guess was like an underdog? Or wait, Ip man was sort of an underdog too, wasn’t he? He was an underdog because no one trusted his style of fighting until he personally kicked their teeth in. Back to my statement about not being well aquainted with the Ip man films; Sammo Hung being in this film truly made it worth the viewing. Donnie Yen didn’t fail to impress either, making his movies available on Netflix somewhere toward the top of my list.
Synopsis and Analysis: “Chinese Martial Arts vs. English Boxing! It’s going down, I’m taking bets!”
Mr. Yip is a very busy filmmaker, not to mention an accomplished one. With a professional career dating back to 1995, the director has also been a actor, writer, producer, and cinematographer in many of the projects he’s worked on. Some of his most recent work prior to the Ip Man films are: Flash Point (2007), Dragon Tiger Gate (2006), and Kill Zone. For the later two features, Yip used the pen name Yip Wai Shun. The most intriguing thing about Wilson Yip to me was the number of times he’s worked with Donnie Yen- 5 times including Ip Man 2. The oddest thing about my research on Yip. I had actually written a review about his film, Flash Point about a year ago. Still looking to add that one when I find it.
Ip Man 2 picks up where the first movie let off, as Ip Man and his wife are trying to get settled in Hong Kong. One of the story webs weaved throughout this tale is Ip trying to establish his own dojo to teach his style of Chinese martial arts. The problems Ip encounters are finding students to teach, keeping those students out of trouble, and earning the respect of other dojos around the area. Sammo Hung’s dojo leader doesn’t think much of Ip at first, forcing the poor guy to prove himself in a test of speed, strength, and dexterity. Ip Man prevails however, and wins over the respect of the other leaders. If my explanation seems a bit too condensed it’s because this part of the film did happen rather quickly and it’s one of the first obstacles Ip Man overcomes in the movie. The rest of the film focuses on the group of dojo masters ironically having to prove themselves to a British boxing champion who storms into town and spits all over the Chinese way of doing things. He’s loud, rude, and has the fists to back up being a complete jerk. Once Sammo Hung and the other masters get a taste of Western fighting, Ip Man quite literrally stands alone as Chinese Kung Fu’s only hope of being a respected fighting style. The showdown between Ip Man and the British idiot is an epic one.
Ip Man 2 is available for viewing on Netflix’s “Instant Watch” feature, but it’s unclear how long it will remain. Netflix has a habit of adding and removing titles quite frequently. Keep an eye out for any time stamps added to the feature, in which case there will be a time limit for the movie being on instant watch. Check out the trailer for Ip Man 2 below: