Cover Art and Menus: 9/10
What a great cover! I really think that this is an exceptional cover, in muted tones, featuring Donnie Yen in a martial arts pose. The cover is almost colored to be a sepia shot, which matches some of the scenes in he movie, which are at times full of tans and browns. There is a muted quality to much of the movie, and it is similar to the cover. The menu is also in the same hues, and features a static background with shots from the movie intermixed. A great little presentation.
- Making Of – There is a standard making of feature that runs just short of 20 minutes. It is a decent extra, and shows the actors talking about the movie experience.
- Behind the Sets – We get to see three of the sets that are created for Ip Man. We gets glimpses of the Cotton Mill, Ip Man’s beautiful home, and the streets of Fo Shan. Short little bits, but nicely presented as some of the actors talk us through the different settings for the movie. The Behind the Sets is not in HD.
- Deleted Scenes – There are several scenes of low quality that did not make it into the movie. They run about 6 minutes in length total, and are just average scenes that are not needed in the movie.
- Shooting Diary – The shooting diary is a great behind the scenes set of shots that feature a booming soundtrack over the top. It is an interesting, quick look at the making of the movie, without any interviews or dialogue. The extra clocks in at around 5 minutes and is not presented in HD.
- Interviews – We get numerous interviews with the cast and crew of Ip Man. The interviews include everyone from star Donnie Yen, to legendary Sammo Hung, who is the movie’s action director. (Hung is a childhood friend of Jackie Chan, and has made a name for himself as an actor and action choreographer.) The interviews are nice and run for about 80 minutes total. The interviews are on the first disk, which is a DVD and therefore not in HD.
- Trailers – We get to see several other movies that Well-Go, the company behind IP Man, has worked on. They look pretty good actually, and while I still don’t think that trailers are really extras, in this case I was into Whitewall, and I might actually go rent it. The same with the Russian 9th Company
- English Language – The movie is actually presented in English, Mandarin, and the original Cantonese.
The Movie: 7/10
Ip Man is a movie that takes place at the time right before, and during, the Japanese occupation of China. We start off being introduced to the Chinese city of Fo Shan, which during the 1930s and 1940s was well known for its marital arts legacy. Schools popped up all over, and people came from miles around to train with some of the masters in Fo Shan. We are introduced to Master Ip, who is by far the most accomplished teacher in Fo Shan. Played by action star Donnie Yen, Ip Man is a force to be reckoned with. His affluence and skill at Kung Fu and running his business is apparent by his home and riches. He is well liked by all those around him, and we get to see him as a person with high moral values and as a loyal and patriotic individual. His life,as those fellow Chinese, is dramatically changed with the invasion of the Japanese. The invasion sees Ip man lose his house and livelihood, and he is forced to work hard labor just to make ends meet.
The Japanese General in Fo Shan decides that he wants to see some of the martial arts of the area, and in going so he decides that he also wants to learn the ways of the Chinese martial arts style. It emerges that Ip Man is the best in the area, and therefore the General ends up challenging him to a dual. Ip Man refuses to teach the barbaric Japanese the style of Wing Chun that he practices, and therefore the duel ends up being more than just a regular sparring match, as it pits country versus country.
Ip Man is a large story with a good cast, and the legend of Ip is a great backdrop for this movie. Ip man was a driving force in China outlasting the occupation that proved so difficult for the people of China. Ip went on to settle in Hong Kong, and taught numerous students, including the famous Bruce Lee. The movie itself is very well done, and for Kung Fu fans, this is a great Epic movie, based more in reality than movies like Hero, which is a nice change from the wire work action movies. Overall Ip Man (and I was kind of expecting a computer nerd movie) is a solid little martial arts movie, with good acting, a good story, and great action sequences, which after all, is all you need, right?
Audio & Video: 7/10
The video for this movie is presented in 1080p, 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the presentation is at times very sharp, and other times somewhat fuzzy. I discussed before the look of the movie, which is muted and at time almost looks like it has been run through a sepia effect. The colors are just muted at times, for a older feel. The effect works well, but the video overall is just average.
The sound on these dubbed movies is difficult to evaluate. The soundtrack is heavy and solid, and the dialogue at times is very well presented, even in the English dub. You have to love how the sound effects for he fighting sequences is bumped in these martial arts movies, and the surround sound is great.
This is a nice presentation for a good kung fu movie. If you are at all a fan of the Hong Kong movies, this is a good example of just how far the production values have come with the movies themselves. A good story and good fighting combine on this Blu-ray. The overall effect is a good one, and if you like these type of movies, this is a great one to have or see. This is not for everyone, but for those who enjoy these movies, this is a fun one.