No, Ip Man 2 is not as good as it’s orginator. But, thats OK because Donnie Yen is back to reprise his role and does a great job with the character of Ip Man. If you don’t know, Ip Man was a grandmaster of Wing Chun martial arts. Set in the 1950’s, is about him starting a Wing Chun school and the real life ending where 10 year-old Bruce Lee came and wanted to be his student. However, Ip tells the boy he should come back to him later when he is older. Years later, Bruce Lee, in his teenage years, begins to study Wing Chun under the tutelage of Ip. Director Wilson Yip aimed to create a more dramatic martial arts film in terms of story and characterization, while screenwriter Edmond Wong, wanted the film to portray how Chinese people were treated by the British, as well as the Western perceptions towards Chinese martial arts.
This film has a certain grace to it that you can’t help but to be proud of while watching. Ip Man 2 depicts Chinese culture in its trueist form, whether it be of drinking tea, to respecting your teacher. It also shows patriotism when Sammo Hung’s character stood up against the boxer, Twister, who thinks boxing is greater than chinese martial arts. The film’s martial arts sequences were choreographed by Sammo Hung, who also worked on the choreography for the first film. Prior to principal photography, Hung had undergone a major cardiac surgery. When he returned to the set, his dramatic scenes in the film were filmed first, with his fight sequences being filmed last. Sadly, the fights aren’t as high octain or exciting as part 1.
It is a shame that this film isn’t as great because I think with enough focus, a trilogy would have been incredible. Yen has already stated that he will have nothing more to do with films pertaining to the Wing Chun master, so this is your last chance to experience the Ip Man. The speed of Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung is impressive. This is what kung fu in the 21st century should look like. There is clearly a high degree of speed, precision, power, and intensity. It was a bit weird for the villian to be a white man but it all came together in the end. Though in the first Ip Man movie, the Japanese general seemed to have humanity while the white men in this film are corrupt. This could prompt you to wonder why the villains are still as embarrassingly dumb as they were in old kung fu films. By this era, movie making should be just a tad bit smarter.
Ip Man 2 is quite good, lots of fighting scenes but the storyline is somehow abit short and just too simple. All in all, I can’t knock this movie down too hard because Ip Man 2 closely resembles the format that made its predecessor a blockbuster hit. I gave the first film the coveted ‘A’ rating and Wilson Yip has a lot of polishing to do on this film before he can reach that grade again. The message the film carries is great, especially since he is kind enough to accept students that he beats up who beg forgiveness. The pacing and overall mesh of elements just didn’t come through together for me. Maybe Yen will change his mind and do another film that can redeem this franchise. Drawbacks aside, this film comes highly anticipated overseas and should still be watched and admired by all Donnie Yen fans.