g Wing Chun to prominence (that’s the style of fighting preferred by Jet Li) and serving as a mentor/teacher to none other than Bruce Lee. Ip died in 1979.
Director Yip Wai-Shun’s loosely based 2008 biopic portrays Ip’s role in the 1930s-era clash between Ip’s beloved China and the tyrannical armies of Japan. Donnie Yen is Ip, tackling the dramatic side of the role as skillfully as the action side. And if you’ve ever seen this guy in action, you know that means very well. (And if you haven’t, what’s wrong with you?)
“Ip Man” falls into the Asian cinema subgenre of historicals, like Li’s “Once Upon a Time in China” trilogy, Jackie Chan’s “Drunken Master” series and Yen’s own (and my favorite) “Iron Monkey,” all of which fictionalize Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-hung. This effort is solid, if the drama occasionally drags, because the fight scenes are well-executed. That’s the key pass-or-fail test applicable to any kung-fu feature.
Fans of fight flicks are used to paying for pricey import discs, but Well Go USA’s American release does “Ip Man” justice: It’s letterboxed and includes audio options of Cantonese, Mandarin and English. A second disc is packed with more behind-the-scenes info than these shores are used to getting. “Rod Lott