Friday, August 6, 2010

Foreign Fridays (8/6/10)

After Monday's recommendation of The Prodigal Son, a kung fu movie centered around Wing Chun... today's recommended movie of the day will be:

Ip Man (Hong Kong, 2008) - Color, Director: Wilson Yip
MPAA Rating: R
Approx. 106 min.

Z-rating: 10 out of 10

This dramatic biopic chronicles the life of Yip Man, the famed teacher of Bruce Lee, in Foshan. Set during the period around the Japanese occupation of China, this film begins with Donnie Yen as the skilled martial art master. Being independently wealthy, Ip Man doesn't see the need in opening a school. He is so well known in the kung fu community, however, that anyone looking to open a school will come to challenge him in order to prove their worth. (with some matches taking place behind closed doors)

The eventual occupation by the Japanese sees the wealth and prosperity of Ip Man run dry. Grinding poverty forces many Masters to close down their schools and work the mines in order to buy rice to feed their family. An interesting opportunity presents itself when the Japanese military come looking for some kung fu masters to fight against their Japanese soldiers. The victors receive a bag of rice for each defeated soldier. After losing a few friends to the Japanese, Ip Man snaps and goes apeshit on ten Japanese soldiers. Beautifully lensed fight scenes show the impressive speed of Wing Chun and its vicious brutality when used in battle. (Bruce Lee often accredited Wing Chun for the speed that was fundamental to his teachings) After catching the eyes of the Japanese, he spends the rest of the film trying to avoid confrontation... but is eventually left with no choice but to fight for the pride of his people. Obviously dramatized, but within reasonable limits, this was a very inspirational semi-biographical film filled with SUPER awesome fight scenes. (Fills me with pride to say that I'm Chinese!!!)

Also of interest, Ip Man 2 is now available on region free DVD over at HKflix. The sequel featured a meeting of East and West fighters when an American boxer by the name of "Twister" interrupts a kung fu exhibition and starts knocking out kung fu students. The formula that works so well here seems, as a friend of mine pointed out, reminiscent of Rocky IV and the rivalry between Rocky and Drago. Sammo Hung steps out from behind the camera to play Master Hung of the Hung Ga discipline. (Also, keep an eye out for other "known" kung fu stars) There is a brief rivalry between Donnie and Sammo including an awesome tabletop duel that ends with, as a friend of mine so eloquently put it, "both these niggas just kickflippin' whole pieces of tables." Awesome.

Both these movies are must see movies and are available in a bundled package at HKflix as well:

-Ip Man 2 on DVD - $19.95
-Ip Man 1 & 2 Blu Ray Box Set - $80.95
-Ip Man Movies List


  1. this some Gangster shit!

  2. hey! you took my advice about the ratings!

  3. of course I did, thanks for the great advice ;)

  4. Donnie Yen is the Bruce Lee of our time.