Judge David Johnson knows an Ip Man. Nice guy. Works the deli counter at the grocery store. Slices a mean olive loaf.
Our review of Ip Man 2: Legend Of The Grandmaster, published April 19th, 2011, is also available.
Behind every great martial artist lies a teacher.
I'll be up front right now: I have no clue what all the fuss is about this movie. It's terrible.
Facts of the Case
Donnie Yen (Flashpoint) is Ip Man, a kung-fu grandmaster who introduced the fighting style of Wing Chun to the masses and most notably taught a young kid named Bruce Lee how to beat the living hell out of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The sequel finds Ip Man in Hong Kong, looking to support his family and make a name for himself by teaching his brand of kung-fu. He slowly builds up a school, but eventually comes into conflict with a rival master (Sammo Hung, Wushu).
Their antagonism is brief, thanks to the appearance of a violent, loud-mouthed and, of course, racist Western boxer named Twister. And so the scene is set for a big fight between the West and the East to see whose fighting style is awesomer and maybe, just maybe, if you're lucky you'll get a lecture on geopolitics and the human spirit.
What I am missing here? Currently, Ip Man 2 is logging in overwhelmingly positive percentages on review aggregate sites. Perusing the fawning reviews, I find myself at a loss. You won't find a bigger fan of Donnie Yen than me; in fact, ever since Tony Jaa ceased being interested in making entertaining action films, Yen has assumed the my number one ranking for Most Bad-Ass Overseas Action Star. Some of my all-time favorite fight scenes include Donnie Yen. Whether it's the blistering alley fight in Kill Zone or the standard-setting, 20-minute epic finale in Flashpoint, Yen repeatedly shows why he's one of the genre's biggest stars.
Alas, his stratospheric talent is wasted in this, a clichéd and often time laughably lame, kung-fu excursion that relies heavily on overused genre tropes, nonsensical set-pieces and ridiculous stereotypes. My laundry list:
Westerners are racist jackasses
…they are enlightened by a cornball speech
Competing kung fu teachers settle jurisdictional conflicts by fighting on
a kitchen table
By the way, the real Ip Man was a coke-head
Also, this is totally Rocky 4
The collector's edition comes with both the Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film. The 2.35:1, 1080p (MPE-4 AVC encoded) transfer is a top performer, putting forward a clean, well-detailed look at period Hong Kong. The production design is gorgeous and the video quality teases out the multitude of visual layers. When the action kicks in, the enhanced clarity makes the mayhem easy to follow. Audio is clean and hard-hitting, featuring DTS-HD Master Audio tracks in Cantonese, Mandarin and English. The extras are spread, rather inconveniently, over the Blu-ray and DVD: behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, a shooting diary and interviews.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
To be fair, there's a pretty awesome fight scene in the village square. It's not enough to compensate for the rest of the film's shortcomings, though.
Donnie Yen is the man, but he's trapped in a steaming bowl of chicken foot soup here.
Guilty. I take no pleasure in writing that.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Well Go USA
• Deleted Scenes
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