A crowd pleasing sequel…
Donnie Yen kick ass and instead of the Japanese, this time, we get a bunch of amateur British getting their ass whooped. Although much tougher than the ending Japanese fight on the stage, the film is entertaining, but does not matches the emotional weight of its predecessor. However, the inclusion of veteran Sammo Hung is more than a simple welcoming and the fight between the two is most certainly one of the best scenes of the movie. In a simple twist of truth, Ip Man 2 manages to stay afloat by using all the clichés of the genre as well as unintentional humour caused by Donnie Yen’s impeccable stone faced delivery of Ip Man’s character. Far from a failure and a milestone from being great, Ip Man remains a credible piece of martial arts sequel cinema that is very much worthy of inclusion.
The movie is basically like this: It is set in right after Yen’s first film escape from China to Hong Kong. From there he wants to teach martial arts, but in the process Yen gets into an approval fight with Sammo Hung. From there it becomes a story of the tried cliché of Chinese vs. Westerners. Yes, if you are thinking Fearless, True Legend and countless of other martial arts flick, then you are not in the wrong.
Donnie Yen is Mr. Yen and once again, he is able to deliver a commanding and convincing performance as Master Ip Man. The reason of his successes in this film series is quite simple, he never overacts and in motions that should portray emotions, Director Yip does not allow Yen to cry, but he remains calm with the same stone face that worked so well in the first film. It may seem like an insult, but it really is not. Yen is simply playing to his strength and that is not trying too hard to act at all. It is exactly what makes Ip Man so enjoyable and if Jet Li is Wong Fei Hung, Jackie Chan is Police Story, then Donnie Yen is Ip Man.
Sammo Hung puts in one of his best display of martial arts for the last decade. Despite rapidly aging and with his size ever increasing, Hung is still incredibly fast paced and is wonderful to watch when in full flight. Hung fight with Yen will go down to history as one of those rare cinematic gem, but what impressed me is the way he gone about handling the fight against the odds with the British boxers. Whenever Yen lacks in facial expression, Hung is fully expressive, menacing, convincing without overacting. In fact, I am going on to say that whenever Hung is on screen, he simply chews it, kicks it and eventually steals it.
All in all, Ip Man 2 is by no means a film about originality, but rather providing something entertaining for its eagerly awaiting fans. What really impressed me is the quality of the fight sequences and the creativity that Sammo and Yen placed into it. Creativity is something that is lacking in the new world HK cinema and for that extra marks is earned. Still, there are flaws of being too cliché which in a way hamper the film to be propel to match the dazzling heights of emotional impact delivered by the first film. At the end of the day, Ip Man 2 is a sequel of a film that delivers exactly what the fans wanted. Action, fight, fight and more of Donnie Yen. In a way that is a success in its own right and sometimes, maybe I am just a bit too demanding. A good film…(Neo 2010)
I rate it 7.5/10