Just a list of Asian films I've seen so far. As complete as I can remember them/have them logged on…
The Legend Is Born: Ip Man
Featuring some of the most spectacular, innovative and explosive martial arts ever staged, The Legend Is Born is the remarkable true story of the early life of Ip Man, the formidable kung fu genius who would become Bruce Lee's mentor.Beginning at the start of his journey from his initial training through to the ultimate battle to become supreme master of the art of Wing Chun, The Legend Is Born has already been hailed as one of the greatest martial arts films of all time and features an all-star cast, including Sammo Hung (Enter The Dragon), Yuen Biao and Ip Man's real life son, 76-year-old Ip Chun, as Ip Man's kung fu master.
"The Legend Is Born: Ip Man" tries to be the "Ip Man Begins" to the original "Ip Man" film from 2008 starring Donnie Yen. It ends up being more of a "Wing Chun Origins: Ip Man".
Dennis To plays the young Ip Man who practices Wing Chun, gets into a love triangle, uses Wing Chun to kick ass, practices a little more and then of course defends his chinese friends against the japanese, aided by his Wing Chun mastery.
To is totally okay here. He's certainly not a Donnie Yen who can act while also being a stunning martial artist. Ip Man is always being described as a humble and friendly person with a great sense of honour and Donnie…
Oh yeah, another movie about Ip Man. This one covers his early years, growing up in a kung fu school, his first romance, years in college and such. The emphasis, more than in any of the others, is on the specifics of the Wing Chun technique itself, with a whole plot line built around the issue of whether or not a high kick is authentic enough. To this end, the film is aided immeasurably by the presence of Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. The two old pros play the young Ip's teachers, and the film begins with a beautiful blindfolded sparring sequence between the two. The early scenes in the school are reminiscent of some scenes from Painted Faces, the Hung-starring 1988 film that chronicles his own youth in a Peking Opera school, growing up with Yuen Biao, Jackie Chan, Corey Yeun etc.
Chapter Zero of the saga of Ip Man, Kung Fu Jesus & defender of the Chinese people against disrespectful foreigners (both Western & Japanese).
Despite some solid and frequent enough martial arts sequences, this is a frustrating experience. Even in his early years, there is no effort to explain or understand the sage-like Man. He is born with the peace Buddhist monks train for decades to achieve and need only work hard at his Wing Chun. On top of this bland protagonist without a character arc, we have his bland half brother who has some plot based machinations late in the film, but no personal arc to match them. The two female leads exist just to moon and mope after Man in…
Not enough Sammo Hung. Yuen Biao was kept in the background. Dennis To literally looked like this the whole film: 🌝. Watching Ip Chun was a very lovely experience though, I must point out.
Not terrible, but not good either. The added fictional elements didn't fit together very well with the historical bits they felt they needed to keep.
I might have liked this if I were Chinese and had that cultural background to really get into the Japanese being sinister and evil. I mean, I know the terrible things the Japanese did to the Chinese, but we don't get that drilled into us in America enough to make them our archetype for evil. I'm guessing the they're to the Chinese as the Nazis are to Americans: you can stick them in a film as the enemy, and no matter how ridiculous their evil plan is, the audience will enjoy hating them.
Based on the succes of the earlier two IP man movies they had to make a third one. Perhaps they should not have. The story is ok, it seems historically correct. But it overlaps the first two movies in parts. This is more how IP man came to be before he moved to Hong Kong. And we get to see he was already a great fighter, already had fought 10 men at the same time. The only thing nice is to see the great fights (again impressive stuff), and who were the teachers of IP man. Worth seeing only if you have seen the other two before.
I didn't like it as much as the first Ip Man but that was kind of expected. The fighting was still good but not great - there were some fights which just felt kind of forced and some dumb stuff went on.
Also - this might sound like a stupid argument - the story wasn't really that good. It was a pretty weak prequel and could have done a lot better building from the first movie.
Still it's a fun movie to watch.
Catch-Up Review #15
Note - You maybe wondering, how far does the catch-up reviews go? The farthest they will ever go is 2010, so I'm mainly focusing on modern cinema. Anything can be the focus here, from world cinema to animation. So don't expect a catch-up review of Harold and Maude anytime soon. Anything released before 2010, I'll just write a regular review for.
Oh joy! Another Ip Man movie! This one is #4,992 of #8,372. Seriously though, the amount movies based on this man's life is getting a bit ridiculous now. I've already seen the poor recut of The Grandmaster, no thanks to the Weinsteins. So here is another review, this is The Legend is Born: Ip Man.
Ip Man's early years. Great action scenes and storyline.
Needed a more solid approach but still not a bad effort...
The fight scene with Ip Man's real son is gold stuff..
The origin story of Yip Man...
Not having Donnie Yen was huge mistake as Dennis To is competent in the martial art scenes but lacks Yens charisma and isn't a good actor at all. The plot is also way too melodramatic getting into soap opera territory. Even the fight scenes are a letdown as there are way too many with none of them really standing out.
Make or Break Scene: All the double crossing scenes broke it for me as it made the movie confusing and boring.
MVT: Not much here. Still the fights.
Score: 4/ 10
This movie actually isn't part of the Ip Man series of movies directed by Wilson Yip, but it still tells one albeit heavily romanticized and fictionalized tale about Yip Man. It is even not so much martial arts movie as a romantic story about his relationships and early life. It wasn't bad, but wasn't very engaging movie either. The story rolled quite slowly and occasionally seemed too unbelievable for a semi-biographical movie.
It's a highly entertaining yarn. Something like the 1000th film it feels like I've seen about Ip Man.
WHISPERS AND MOANS (2007)
II. (in alphabetical order)
EBOLA SYNDROME (1996)
THE UNTOLD STORY (1993)