Film: IP Man
Release Date: 2008
Original Language: Cantonese
Director: Wilson Yip
Notable Actors: Dennie Yen, Simon Yam, and Lynn Hung
Cultural Activity 1: International Film Review
When we were told that our first cultural activity would be to watch an international film, I instantly knew what film I would be viewing for the 110th time. That film would be IP Man, released in December of 2008 and written by Edmond Wong and directed by Wilson Yip. IP Man is a semi biological film that shows and dramatizes some of the life events of Yip Man who was Bruce Lee’s master in Martial Arts.
The movie is set in Foshan, China back in the 1930’s; in this area of China martial art flourished and was highly respected. There were plenty of schools and they recruited many disciples to compete with the other martial arts schools. By far the most skilled martial artist was Yip Man who was a master at Wing Chun. Yip is a man who keeps to himself and spends his free time with friends and family while also training to master his martial art. IP may not be a professional, but he is the most highly respected martial artist from Foshan, he would privately challenge other masters and they would tell everyone how great IP was! This would all change when the Japanese invaded in 1937; the Chinese people of Foshan were put into poverty and hard labor. IP also lost his wealth and his home, all taken by the Japanese. Growing more and more desperate every day to support his family, IP decides to get a job as miner working at the coal mine. Here the Japanese General Miura who is a master in Karate opens up an arena where any Chinese man can challenge the Japanese troops in a fight. If they win they got a bag of rice and at this time any scarce of food would help them survive tremendously. At first IP declines to participate in this event until he sees his good friend and fellow martial artist Liu get brutally executed for winning a match and picking up the bag of rice. This enrages IP and he demands a challenge with 10 of the Japanese karateka. Here he shows no mercy as they showed no mercy with his friend and brutally takes out all 10 of them. This brings IP great interest from General Miura and he request to learn more about the Wing Chun art that IP used to take out 10 Japanese soldiers with ease. IP then decides to go and visits his friend Chow Ching who owns a Cotton Mill and there he tells IP that a gang has been harassing his workers. Here he helps train the workers in Wing Chun to use as self-defense. While IP takes time to do this, grows impatient and tells IP that you either train my troops in Wing Chun or I will have you killed. IP refuses and challenges Miura to a match, not wanting to dishonor the Japanese he accepts and the fight it made public. At the start of the match the fight looked even, but IP goes onto another level and easily defeats and embarrasses Miura. Here General Miura’s subordinate shoots IP and causing a Chinese uproar. During this chaos he is taken away and survives. Here he escapes to Hong Kong where he opens up a Wing Chun school and ends up being Bruce Lee’s Grandmaster.
In the film IP Man it addresses all types of issues from today and in history. To me the movie revealed what Chinese culture is all about and what the Chinese believe martial arts is. The film is promoting what the old sprit and philosophy of martial art is. Today martial arts have changed. Today a lot of it is used to bring pain and to harm your opponent. It is used to train the military and used in competitions to hurt others. The movie shows that IP Man uses Martial Arts as it is supposed to be used as. The film does show plenty of fighting scenes, but that is to bring and keep interest for the film viewer. IP Man shows the true spirt of Martial Arts. Martial arts are not made to bully or to bring harm unto other. It is made to protect oneself, family and friends. It is also mostly used as an exercise of just not