It’s exceedingly easy to see why Donnie Yen has become Hong Kong’s reigning action king of the 21st century after seeing “Ip Man”.
It’s an even more impressive feat when one considers just how new he was to Wing Chun before this film. Coming primarily from a background of Tai Chi, Wushu, and Taekwondo. The fighting style he displays in the film stands in stark contrast with the kind of action he’s been known for in the past. His kicking skills have always been among the sharpest and most precise of anyone working in Hong Kong. And have served as his major calling card throughout most his career.
With “Sha Po Lang” and “Flash Point”. He would introduce grappling techniques gleaned from contemporary MMA into his repertoire and add a dynamic new element to modern martial arts films. For Ip Man (Diep Van 1), he underwent months of classical Wing Chun training, adopting the art’s grounded, straight-forward approach to fighting. You’d certainly never guess he was a beginner. However, on the basis of his performance in the film. Ip Man’s own son and fellow Wing Chun Grandmaster, Ip Chun, served as a technical advisor for the film’s fight choreography. And has publicly praised Yen’s dedication to learning Wing Chun and the ease with which he absorbed the art.
That’s certainly the conclusion anyone with a functioning pair of eyes will reach after seeing Yen’s portrayal of Ip Man. With another Hong Kong action legend by the name of Sammo Hung serving as fight choreographer. The action in the film is among the most potent to emerge from Hong Kong in years. Donnie Yen (Chung Tu Don) displays a flawless combination of speed, power. And precision with the chain-punching of Wing Chun throughout the film’s many action scenes. Every fight in the film is splendid. But Yen makes choosing a favourite that much easier on the viewer with his duel against ten karate black belts. It’s all the more interesting in that it’s the closest Ip Man comes at any point to losing his temper.
Elsewhere in the film, he maintains a calm, peaceful disposition even in combat. That’s completely at odds with his supporting cast, who. It must be said are equally impressive in action. Fan Siu-wong provides a strong enemy for both Ip Man and his fellow kung fu masters to overcome. While Shi Yanneng displays an almost childlike enthusiasm for training alongside Ip Man that compliments the jaw-dropping fighting prowess he displays in his duel with General Miura. As for the film’s villain, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi proves a powerful foil for both the challengers of Foshan and Yen’s Ip Man. A fierce gaze firmly affixed to his face to illustrate his zeal for fighting. The contrast of Chinese and Japanese martial arts is beautifully illustrated throughout the film (phim hanh dong vo thuat 2021). Yet nowhere more so than in Miura’s climactic duel with Ip Man.