Bear Martial Arts

Ip Man (2008)



 Donnie Yen



 Wilson Yip


 The Story in a Nutshell

 Loosely based on the events of Yip Man grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun (Mentor of Bruce Lee). The  movies starts in Foshan around the 1930’s, an area in which martial arts have become a common pastime and many  clubs flourish. The first half of the show revolves around the  idyllic life of Ip, as a local master of Wing Chun, and the  only master in the area not to have a school. It is shown through a series of “private” sparring matches requested by  new masters moving into the area that Ip far outclasses any of the schools teachers.

 Oddly the movie takes a drastic change at the halfway mark to show the Japanese-Nazi invastion of Foshan,  whearupon the movie becomes decidedly darker. Ip mans house is seized and food shortages accompanied by the  brutality of the Japanese results in the impoverishment of the locals.

 The general of the Japanese troops, Miura, organises the local kung fu practitioners into fights against seasoned  karate-ists. The prize for beating 3 Japanese in one fight being a bag of rice the starving locals so badly need. After  witnessing his friends beaten to death in these fights Ip man joins and fights 10 Japanese karate-ists badly wounding  all of them.

 Miura tries to force Ip to teach Wing Chun to his troops but he refuses and instead challenges Miura to a public fight.


 Martial Arts Styles Used

 Wing Chun Kung Fu, Karate


 Weapons Used

 Broad Sword, Spear, (Luk Dim Boon Kwun, or "Six and A Half Point Pole”)


 In Summary

 This hard hitting martial arts, focused movie combines devastatingly visceral action, with brilliant acting and great  direction and cutting. The camera work is masterfully done neither subtracting from the action or making it look false.  The actors great performances in difficult roles, and awe inspiring skills as martial artists creates a one of a kind  move, which achieves true brilliance despite the somewhat schizophrenic change in tone mid-way.


 For more information please see


 Rating: 5/5

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 Author: Michael Casey, Oxford 

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