It's a highly entertaining, big-budget, kick-butt kung fu movie, the best of its kind since Jet Li's "Fearless" in 2006.
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The action is enthralling even if the storyline doesn't always have the ring of truth about it.
Everything from the direction of actors to the dialogue signifies the work of a filmmaker who favors easy audience-baiting reactions over dramatic momentum. Doesn't the man who would later teach Bruce Lee how to kee-yah deserve better than a chopsocky Punch-and-Judy show?
Ip Man will be manna for those who like their kung fu straight and wireless, their villains Japanese and their heroes unconflicted Chinese patriots.
The highlights, of course, are the competitions and duels, choreographed by Sammo Hung.
Over all, the film is a prime exhibit in the relentless and regrettable shift away from a natural, allusive, romantic Hong Kong style and toward a mainland studio aesthetic that is stagebound, literal, overstuffed and sentimental - like the big-budget Hollywood weepies of the '60s or the '80s.
As a slice of history, Ip Man is disappointingly simplistic. Yip, Wong, and Yen never develop any real tension between Ip's true story and the exaggerated myth-making of a martial-arts movie. But as an exaggerated, myth-making martial-arts movie, Ip Man is often thrilling.
If you're looking for great action scenes, you've found them. But if you desire more than eye candy, such as character and plot development and historical accuracy, you'll have to look elsewhere.