Ip Man 2 is inferior to the first film but there’s enough martial arts action to make it worth seeking out.
The first Ip Man became an instant classic and although this is a fine sequel it isn’t quite as impressive. The fight scenes are mostly breathtaking and the Asian cast are all superb in their respective roles. But it’s let down by some seriously dodgy performances from the English speaking cast.
Donnie Yen once again proves not only what an amazing martial artist he is. But what a great actor he can be too. He has such a calm and peaceful face, even when he’s fighting. He radiates warmth and likability, but when he is forced to fight, rarely will you see someone so impressive. And he moves faster than nearly anyone I’ve ever seen, especially when he does the multiple punches; my face hurts just watching it.
Darren Shahlavi plays one of the most hateful bad guys I’ve ever seen named “Twister” and you will literally be throwing things at the screen although as I said the rest of the English cast are very wooden. I remember speaking to Darren about this and he said people don’t seem to understand how hard it can be when you are working on a non-English language film.
Sammo Hung is one of the best developed characters as you’re not sure what kind of a man he is until the second half of the film. He proves to be an honourable and truly great warrior who wants Chinese martial arts to get the respect it deserves.
Ip Man 2 is incredibly well paced with almost constant action, but it still has heart and a strong story. How the Westerners treated the Chinese was disgusting and although they are shown more as pantomime villains you still hate them.
The music is stunning and tuneful with sweeping orchestral cues that really help take you back to a frankly more honourable age.
The set design and attention to period detail are as always first rate with authentic costumes from the era.
We also get a brief introduction to Bruce Lee at the end which brought a huge smile to my face.
Overall, Ip Man 2 is inferior to the first film but there’s enough martial arts action to make it worth seeking out.
Rating: R (for violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Drama, Sports & Fitness
Directed By: Wilson Yip, Yip Wai-Shun
Written By: Edmond Wong
In Theaters: Jan 28, 2011 Wide
On Disc/Streaming: Apr 19, 2011
Box Office: $100,000
Runtime: 108 minutes
Studio: Variance Films
What are the Critics saying about “Ip Man 2”?
V.A. Musetto (New York Post)
“Ip Man 2” has eye candy to spare. But it is lacking in formalities such as character development and plot coherence, and the stereotyped Brits are straight out of central casting.
Manohla Dargis (New York Times)
Director Wilson Yip keeps the movie moving as fast as the whiplash action.
Mark Olsen (Los Angeles Times)
The film’s fight choreography is again handled by the legendary Sammo Hung – he also now has a supporting role and incredibly shot his own fight scenes while recuperating from heart surgery – and that alone makes the film worth checking out.
Maggie Lee (Hollywood Reporter)
A smashing martial arts extravaganza dented by crude nationalism.