It’s time to watch all the Ip Man movies
You know what better than to stream a good martial arts movie over the weekend? Diffusion six good martial arts movies over the weekend. There are few pleasures like killing an entire day watching dudes get wrecked with expert choreography and correct enough emotional motivation, things Ip-Man the movies are excellent. Even better? You can stream them all on Netflix right now.
the Ip-Man The films are a quadrilogy of martial arts films by Hong Kong director Wilson Yip starring Donnie Yen as the eponymous Ip Man. They’re basically historical fiction: superhero movies about a real, amazing person doing a bunch of things he never did (and a few things he did). They rock, probably because they are extremely quick and loose with the story.
At first, it didn’t seem like something a franchise would do. The first one Ip-Man the film is a fast-paced, succinct epic that achieves everything it sets out to do. He sets up the thriving martial arts schools in the Chinese city of Foshan in the 1930s, where Ip Man mostly hides in plain sight. He is cultured and wealthy, and having no need of income, does not feel obliged to open a school. Instead, he prefers to privately hone his then obscure and derided Wing Chun fighting style and spend time with his family. He’s quiet about his skills, but for those who are persistent, he’ll compel the occasional duel.
For one hour and 45 minutes, Ip-Man then quickly spans a decade of history. The Second Sino-Japanese War begins and the Japanese army invades Foshan in 1937; Ip Man loses everything and is forced into hard labor; the oppression of the occupiers makes anarchy prosper. Assailed from all sides, Ip Man ends up inspiring his fellow men by training them both in Wing Chun to fight the bandits and also by participating in fights organized by General Miura (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi). Eventually, he challenges Miura himself, inspiring a revolt that allows Ip Man to escape with his family and start over in Hong Kong.
Ip-Man is popcorn cinema at its finest, full of well-choreographed rousing fights and historical drama. But the reason it works so well comes down to Donnie Yen. Yen’s performance portrays Ip Man as Mr. Rogers and Captain America, a friendly neighbor who can destroy your shit but only really gets emotional if there’s a bully who needs checking out. But once he does? watch the man movement is incredible – thanks in large part to the work of renowned choreographer Sammo Hung, who worked on the first two films.
The following three suites testify to Donnie Yen’s performance. They are even less interested in the biography than in the original; mostly they are plots constructed to give Ip Man another reason to fight. But rather than making them repetitive – and they’re obviously stereotypical – they become comforting in their rhythms. Taken together, they say more than any film alone.
While the movies are all named after one man, the stories are always about a community. Following the plan established in the first film, Ip-Man the films always begin with the emerging threat of a colonizing force. In the second film, a British boxer asserts his superiority by killing a Chinese man in the ring, insisting it was the victim’s fault and challenging the others to confront him and prove him wrong. The plot of the third film is instigated by an American real estate developer (played by Mike Tyson) with plans to buy the land on which a school is located. The fourth takes place in San Francisco, as Ip learns about the racism faced by the people of Chinatown.
In the midst of all this conflict, Ip Man is an anchor: always fair, always the best fighter, always kind. In fights he is a marvel, taking down his opponents with blows of blinding speed but also with grace. He rarely draws blood or leaves his enemies paralyzed, where the bad guys are relatively violent. The most effective threats against Ip Man come from men who practice fierce and brutal styles. Colonizers and cowards spill blood, not Chinese masters, unless they have to prove a point. The movies are, in fact, propaganda, much like American action movies.
the Ip-Man movies are political in the way Disney sports play out like Remember the titans are political, flattening the real lives and beliefs of its subjects in favor of soft nationalism and invoking brutal racism against them. Like Steve Rogers, Ip is a man who seems out of time, an idealized version of a bygone era called upon to confront the evils of the modern age. We’re not supposed to focus on the inequalities of this lost age, but rather on this superhero who represents it. And just like in a superhero movie, it’s appealing to see complex evils reduced to evil men we can beat, if we’re patient, diligent, and stubborn enough to pick ourselves up each time we’re knocked down.
A fascinating ride to Ip-ManThe success of is how it effectively turned Ip Man into a popular character, as many other films followed in the wake of Donnie Yen and Wilson Yip’s blockbuster. There’s acclaimed director Wong Kar-wai the grand master, a lyrical and beautiful film that uses Ip Man’s life to mourn the end of an era. another movie, The legend is born — Ip Man is another studio’s attempt to carve out a corner of the Ip Man mythos through an action-packed take on Ip’s debut. Master Z: The Legacy of Ip Man is a direct result of IP Man 3, a crime story about Cheung Tin-Chi, who challenged Ip for the title of Grandmaster of Wing Chun. (Among these, the grand master and Master Z are also on Netflix and well worth watching.)
One of the central tensions of the Ip-Man series is Ip’s desire to be a dedicated family man and also a martial arts master. Usually an outside force compels him to reassert himself as a capable martial artist, and the dream of returning to full-time domestic life is postponed. The best example is in IP Man 3, when challenged for the title of Wing Chun Grandmaster by upstart Cheung Tin-Chi (Zhang Jin). Instead of responding, he chooses to stay home and dance with his sick wife, losing his title. It is this, and not the superb fight scenes, that makes the Ip-Man such endearing movies: there’s a whole world out there that demands your time, your attention, your skills. Tackling this world can be rewarding and gratifying and hard to leave, but it’s also heroic to stay home and dance as long as you can.