Ip Man: Kung Fu Master review – stylish martial arts potboiler

Ip Man: Kung Fu Master review – stylish martial arts potboiler

The Guardian

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Li Liming’s film takes itself a bit too seriously, but fight fans will enjoy the nifty and inventive combat scenes

For those not up to date with the martial arts film canon, Ip Man was a real historical figure: a master of Wing Chun, a type of southern Chinese kung fu, who until relatively recently was best known for having trained the great Bruce Lee. The real Ip died just before Lee in 1972, but his colourful life has since served as a basis for a series of films that have taken varying amounts of liberty with the facts, starting with the Donnie Yen vehicle Ip Man from 2008.

In these films, Ip is more than just a historical figure: he’s a legendary character, a fighter for justice against rogue criminals and sinister foreigners, especially in the films that focus on his years as a policeman in Foshan after the second world war, before the communists came to power and Ip and his family left for Hong Kong. Conversely, in Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster, Ip serves as a vehicle for a languorous contemplation of martial arts philosophy.

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