The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Mandarin Films - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 107 minutes
Genre: Martial Arts/Action/Drama
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English/Mandarin/Cantonese DTS-HD 5. Master Audio
Starring: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Xiong Dai-Lin, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Lam-Ka Tung
Directed by: Yip Wai-Shun
Music by: Kenji Kawai
Written by: Edmund Wong
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 27, 2010
"In the last great war one man defied an empire.."
Ip Man is the award winning film adaptation about the life story of Ip Man, the grand master of the Wing Chun style of kung fu and sifu (master) of legendary kung fu superstar Bruce Lee. Set in Foshan, China, during the Sino Japanese War, Ip Man vividly brings to life the brutality of the infamous Japanese occupation, where once proud men are forced to fight till their death for a precious bag of rice. Defined by courage and humility, one man rises to the fore, Grandmaster Ip Man (Donnie Yen), whose matchless fighting skills are revered all over China. Upon refusing to teach his beloved fighting art to the invading Japanese soldiers, he is forced to fight for the honor of his country in a series of battles that will culminate in a kill or be killed showdown with General Miura (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi) Japan's greatest fighter.
Ip Man is a martial arts/dramatic film based on the life of Ip (pronounced/sounds like It but with a P) Man (Donnie Yen), the grandmaster of Wing Chun and later teacher and mentor to widely influential and legendary martial artist, Bruce Lee. Ip Man is set in the 1930s in Foshan, a hub of southern Chinese martial arts just as the Second Sino-Japan war breaks out. During the war, China is nearly ripped to pieces by racial hatred, nationalistic strife and warfare. Ip Man rose like a phoenix above these ashes as he defied an empire bringing hope to China.
I had no prior knowledge of Master Ip or his story going into this review but as most of you know I generally find film's based on real people interesting. Watching this film it became readily apparent that Master Ip is a man of reverence among his countryman and the martial arts world. The story opens in Fo Shan in 1935 with Master Ip having attained a position of status/wealth in the community. His mastery of the martial art of Wing Chun is held in high regard among the many martial art masters living and running schools in Fo Shan. He is a man of integrity and honor who emphasizes the values taught through martial arts. On occasion he receives challenges (some friendly some not) in order to test his skill. He has yet to meet a challenger capable of matching his ability.
In 1938 when Japan invaded China Master Ip and his wife and son were forced to leave their compound and live in poverty. Master Ip resorts to manual labor in order to feed his family. The Japanese have begun holding tournaments using the local Chinese martial arts masters to test the prowess of their Japanese Martial Arts. Master Ip refuses to lower himself to their standards of entertainment until a close friend of his is beaten to death at the hands of their most skilled martial artist General Miura, who also happens to be the general in command of the Japanese regiment in Fo Shan. This sets of a series of clashes between Master Ip and the Japanese which culminates in his arrest and ultimate public confrontation with General Miura. With the entire city and country behind him Master Ip faces his most deadly foe. With victory or defeat his life hangs in the balance. One thing is certain, he means to stand up for his people and his honor
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The script/screenplay blends elements of martial arts action and drama with pitch perfect pacing that makes it both engaging and evocative. The martial arts choreography is top notch, perfectly integrated and fun to watch. Donnie Yen committed himself to the portrayal of Master Ip and that definitely came across in his performance. The film was nominated for 12 Hong Kong film awards and won Best Film and Best Action Choreography. Genre fans are sure to appreciate this entertaining and fitting tribute to the Grand Master of Wing Chun (and mentor to Bruce Lee) Master Ip.
The rating is for violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Ip Man comes to Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 Mbps.
This film has an intentionally stylized visual design that utilizes a muted color scheme that works aesthetically well for the film's theme and setting. The color range is limited to shades of gray and black with splashes of crimson and muted sepia tones. Warm accents are used here and there to break up the film's monochromatic essence. Fleshtones hold up nicely against the de-saturated chroma and don't appear unnatural. Uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is spot on which empowers whites and grays without washing away detail. Whites are punchy and grays are multi-staged and deep. I find the quality of the video to be high. It isn't always razor sharp but it's cleanly rendered with plenty of subtle refinement and delineation that enhances depth and reveals fine detail in objects, clothing, and physical features. Blacks are slightly washed out but gradationally revealing which combines with excellent detail in low light and shadowy backgrounds to provide a strong sense of dimension.
I was disappointed to find that the original Mandarin langauge seemed to be out of synch which made it appear dubbed (I assume this is the problem). From what I have read this appears innate to the master and isn't directly related to this encoding. The other audio options were dubbed English, and Cantonese with an option for English subtitles. I just to settled for the English dubbed soundtrack (the voiceovers are pretty bad). The high resolution DTS-HD MA surround mix delivers the soundtrack's elements with aplomb. The higher fidelity inherent in this lossless sound mix was readily apparent. Dynamics range is extended which renders the film's action based sequences with definitive impact and energy. Dialogue is presented with crystal clear intonation, full bodied texture, and deep room penetration. The sounds of breaking objects, hand to hand combat, and Kenji Kawai's beautifully orchestrated music is reproduced with sparkling clarity. Imaging across the front soundstage is excellent as sounds are integrated with precision. This is an involving surround mix that intelligently utilizes the entire system where appropriate. During the fight sequences the listening position is actively engaged by a mixture of spatial and localizable sound effects that place the listener in the heart of the action (listen for the jarring gunshot that comes from the back of the room in the finale). Low frequency detail is clean, well articulated and authoritative as points of contact seem to resonate with palpable impact. This isn't a bombastic or overly aggressive soundtrack but it's blend of intricate detail and room filling dynamics make for a first rate home theater experience.
* CIH users should note that the subtitles appear both within and below the picture area.*
The collector's edition contains bonus supplements on both the blu-ray disc and a separate DVD.
- Blu-ray features:
- (HD/1080i) Making of Ip man - 18 minute featurette
- (HD-1080i> Original theatrical trailers
- 3 Deleted scenes
- DVD features:
- Shooting diary
- Behind the sets - Cotton mill, Streets of Fo Shan, Ip man's home
- Interviews - Director, Action Direction, Members of the cast
Ip Man is a martial arts/dramatic film based on the life of Ip Man, the grandmaster of Wing Chun Kung Fu and later teacher and mentor to widely influential and legendary martial artist, Bruce Lee. I enjoyed the film's engaging and evocative blend of action, drama and slick martial arts choreography which is perfectly integrated and fun to watch. It is apparent while watching Ip man that it is indeed a labor of love for the filmmakers and cast. The Collector's Edition debuts on Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA in a technically strong offering that features top notch audio/video quality, and an above average set of bonus material that looks behind the scenes at the production. If you're a fan this is a must have for your collection. Enjoy!
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