Starring: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Ziyi Zhang, Jin Zhang
Directed by: Kar Wai Wong
Written By: Kar Wai Wong, Jingzhi Zou
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 10 min
I was expecting a story following the life of the legendary Kung Fu master, Ip man (pronounced Yip Mun). But there are several stories playing out here. The second main plot line involves Gong Er (Ziyi Zhang) as she fights to claim back her fathers legacy. A third would be about a contest between the Chinese northern and southern masters. To be honest it was all a bit confusing to me. We’re introduced to one master after another. Each time it seemed important to remember, but I just started losing track of who was who and what they meant to each other. I was also expecting this to be a martial arts movie. While it is, sort of, and while I can see the cast are extremely talented the action is followed too closely and edited too much. Thankfully there isn’t an overuse of wire work here, and on occasions you can enjoy some beautifully choreographed set pieces. The photography and art direction are the real stars of this film though. It’s gorgeous to look at.
Knowing what I know now, I would go into this ready to focus on its two lead characters, and their stories and not worry about anything else. The movie plays along like a beautifully photographed dream. Just sit back, and enjoy the visuals. If you’re a martial arts action fan, this isn’t the Ip Man movie for you.
Best viewing format:
It’s a gorgeous film to watch. I suggest you catch a nice digital matinee showing while you can. Later, a HD showing at home is a must.
Best element for me:
The art direction from beginning to end is stunning.