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Friday, December 19, 2008

Ip Man Review- Yip Man Ichiban (叶问一极棒!)

Ip man, yip man, donnie yen

ip man,叶问, movie, donnie yen

Yip Man叶问 turned out to be an hour and 38 minutes or roaring action and laughter.

Well, Donnie promised to show his lesser known self, the other side of the moon- his mirthful side starting with the movie “painted skin” – what a weird name- turns out I din see that movie- and well he didn’t disappoint.
Donnie Yen

Instead of the slapstick comedy reminiscent of adam sandler and rob Schneider and gang;
In stark contrast to Mou-lei-tou无理头 humour of Stephen Chow’s fame;
Quite different from Jackie Chan’s brand of action-humour;
Yip man is in a league of its own.

I don’t know and can’t be sure but It’s the first martial arts movie that ties in aristocratic humour –for the lack of a better term to describe high quality humour- so seamlessly-
you hold your breath, in anticipation of the follow up of the fist thrown in mid-air….. what happens next? Will it be countered? Will it parried?
Then suddenly you gasp for air for you are suddenly overwhelmed by guffaws rising from within. Ah Zhun,-Yip Man’s son- cycling in at one crucial moment is the epitome of that.

The marriage of strange bed-fellows, humour and action (jackie’s style aside) was one unique experience! And I have the whole creative team to thank. Then again, considering the two previous collaborations by Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen – Sha Po Lang杀破狼 OR SPL and Dao huo xian导火线/ Flashpoint –(Leaving Dragon Tiger Gate龙虎门 out of the equation for personal reasons) didn’t have humour as a sidedish, I wonder if Donnie started stretching his directing muscles again and gave creative input to Yip, asking for slight condiments of wit to be added to the broth.

To Donnie I say: “It works! Keep it Up!”

On the action sequences we have Sammo Hung洪金宝 to thank- of SPL/ Martial Law fame (he recently had an outing too with the movie: Wushu- which I also had to give a miss :-()

He has high expectations and well that proved beneficial to the movie!
sammo hung
and oh! cheeky me

Fast and furious describes it well, as Wing-chun- a martial arts form started by a lady, taught by yip man, popularized by Bruce Lee and later incorporated into his Jeet Kun Do- consists of rapid fists that defend, deflect and attack at the same time.

Not familiar with this form of MA, I don’t think I can comment on whether it is true to its form but the execution appears to differ a bit from what I saw of History Channel’s ‘Fight Quest’ that featured wing chun. The speed of the fists however, are not lost in translation and require no post editing (the photoshop equivalent in movies I guess) considering Donnie is Da Man!

My complaints- #spoiler alert# are
1) the final fight was rather one sided, I expected more Ooomph from the Japanese General. In the whole movie I don’t think donnie’s Yip Man had any significant injuries save for the gunshot wound.

2) Once again the talent of Xing Yu 行宇Coolie, Xing yu, Kung fu hustleis overlooked or underexpressed.
You will remember him as the coolie with great legs (not aesthetically –lar) in Kung fu Hustle and as 'Tiger', the 2nd bad brother in Flashpoint. In Flashpoint the all-out-brawl I anticipated between Donnie and him did not transpire and in Yip Man he is also er…. Wasted. (in both senses of the word) Only In Hustle did he really shine… Wait er minute….Now that I think of it, In all three movies he met a sad demise! Poor guy.
xing yu, flashpoint, tiger

3) The movie was a little short lei. Maybe its too good so I wanted more of it but I felt ‘hungry’ at the end of it. The ending could be better though, portraying a injured yip man with friends and family en route to hong kong doesn’t quite cut it.
Encore! Encore! Encore!

Well today is the premiere of Yip Man And I’m proud to catch the 3rd screening of the day at Times Square! All in all an excellent film. Recommended to the whole family for its wittiness! You might wanna ask your gal to turn the other side for some parts tho (I watched alone )

Next film to watch is Kinta近打, but I’m afraid my expectations of it will be certainly raised after Yip Man. Keeping my fingers crossed! It’s the first Malaysian Martial Arts Film and thus deserves our support!

Finally, Support Original Films and the Cinema if you want great movies in the future because only by supporting the real deal your idols know their work is being appreciated.


  1. This is the best martial arts movie to hit the screens in a very long time.

    The Wing Chun style translates beautifully to the big screen. The fights are all amazingly choreograph, especially the rapid fire punches....Poetry in motion. Against Donnie, his opponents stand no chance.

    Too bad, Xing Yu do not get too much action. At least he is getting notice after being cast in Kung Fu Hustle. Donnie himself spend years playing 2nd fiddle to Jet Li & jackie Chan before arriving as a leading man.

    So, look out for Xing Yu in the future. Also, Fan Siu Wong is given ample opportunity to demonstrate his ability. A future star perhaps.

    It's so good I watch it twice haha

  2. i watched at cinema in leisure mall leh!! hahahhaha i nv buy pirated cd or download
    its really a good movie

    wing chun kuen(Wing Chun's fist) is founded by Yim Wing Chun, a friend of Fong Sai Yuk and wife of his good blood brother Hung Hei Kun, who founded taught another form of martial art called Hung Kuen( Hung's Fist). Contrary to Wing Chun who uses speed and defence, Hung Kuen is more agressive and use strength to its advantage.

    hehe i noe u surprised i noe about chinese history hahaha, but i love martial arts because i love to fight wahaha

  3. Thank you acura for pointing out that jin shan zhua is Fan siu Wong! And I was wondering what happened to him - my perceived absence of him being on the silver/ TV screen. Liked your blogs! Way to go!

    Haha! I'm glad our dekan finally conquered his fear of Cinemas after our help to reintroduce you to the fun of vibrating phones and popcorn. Money no enough II!

    See how much fun it is to watch it at the cinema instead of the downloaded or pirated version? hehe! And I am indeed suprised by dekan- our resident baba nyonya- giving a discourse on Chinese history! and a very nice one too! an eye opener to what a small world the kung-fu-sphere is!

    Anybody watched kinta yet?

  4. You are welcome Willow. Good to know that Fan Siu Wong get such a prominent role to demonstrate his ability rather than being wasted in TVB dramas.

    You guys planning to watch Kinta too? I will stay tune for the review then haha looks like you are a martial arts movie buff as well

  5. Waching kinta at Midvalley today! Yup martial arts movie fanatic I am! At he edge of my seat waiting for Ong Bak 2! arriving on our shores on Feb2!!

  6. I am a fan of martial arts movies too but the output from Hong Kong is disappointing lately.

    Waiting for Ong Bak 2 to hit the screens, hopefully Tony Jaa could give me something to cheer for.

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