While it may seem miles away in quality from the first film, Ip Man 2 is still a great movie. Where it seems to lose its steam is the drawn out feud with the Western Boxer, Twister. While Yip’s confrontation is not overly done, Twister’s challenge and beating of Master Hueng and bullying of people takes away from what was a great semi-biopic. I don’t oppose the characters inclusion, I just think he had too much focus in the second half of the film and should have been more abbreviated while still keeping the overall content.
While that may sound like a gripe, it is minor and really does not hurt the overall quality of the film. In the original film the enemies or antagonists are very under developed letting the film focus and progress on the Ip Family. While this film gave a significant time to develop a back-story for the foreigners organizing a boxing match in town, yet leaving much of their set up unresolved in the end.
Now in defense of the writer’s direction, further developing the family in the direction it was going was so far from the Yip Family’s reality, developing a “bad guy” kept from making the story a work of complete fiction around so real individuals.
While neither Ip1 or Ip2 actually do much in the way of biopic, they are truly great tales of a legend. Much similar to Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Ip Man is much like a campfire story that grows bigger than the legend to live up to their legacy.
Aside from the inaccuracy, the drawn out villain and the difficulty of living up to its predicesor, Ip Man 2 is a great film on its own merits. When compared hand in hand with the first film there is no question which story is superior, but what you do have is a great sequel, something that most film makers can not achieve. And not to be overshadowed or left out, as said in the review for Ip Man, Donnie Yen was born to play Ip Man. His greatest acting role to date.
The high points of the movie are the returning supports in Quan and his nephew now in dire straits and Master Jin who has had a change of heart. Jin’s character provided, in my opinion, the most entertainment of the cast. His contrasting role really provided not only humor, but skill in Siu-Wong Fan’s ability as an actor.
The one true point in the film is the inclusion of Master Leung as Yip’s senior student. While the story may not have progressed as depicted, Leung was and still is considered the prodigy of Master Ip .
Rating 4 stars out of 5