The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Mandarin Films - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 108 minutes
Genre: Martial Arts/Action/Drama
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English/Cantonese/Mandarin DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Cantonese/Mandarin Stereo
Starring: Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung, Huang Xiao Ming, Xiong Dai-Lin, Kent Cheng, Darren Shahlavi, Fan Sui-Wong, Simon Yam
Directed by: Wilson Yip
Music by: Kenji Kawai
Written by: Edmond Wong
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 19, 2011
"I would run for my life, but not from my honor"
Ip Man 2 takes up where its predecessor left off, with Ip Man escaping the Japanese occupation of his hometown and arriving in Hong Kong, where he opens a martial arts academy to teach his unique Wing Chun style. But Ip must first prove himself to the corrupt cabal of Hong Kong martial arts masters— which he does, in one of the most amazing fight sequences ever committed to film, showcasing a dazzling variety of martial arts styles.
Donnie Yen reprises his iconic role as the real-life kung fu Grandmaster Ip Man, widely known as the man who brought Wing Chun to the world with the help of his star pupil, Bruce Lee. Master Ip, a new arrival in British-occupied Hong Kong, wants to open a martial arts academy to teach his unique Wing Chun style. A corrupt group of martial arts masters, led by Master Hung (Sammo Hung) refuses to allow him to teach in peace until he proves himself as a kung fu master. Ip’s troubles continues when he is forced to enter a brutal King of the Ring boxing match against Twister, a Western-style boxer who insults the Chinese locals, in a East versus West knock-down, drag-out fight to the finish.
Ip Man 2 Legend of the Grandmaster continues where Ip Man left off and finds Master Ip is Hong Kong after the war. The story follows him as he opens his martial arts school, runs into conflict with the area’s senior kung fu master, Master Hung, and his eventual acceptance after proving himself worthy to teach after a spectacular display of his Wing Chun skills before the master’s council. Despite their contentious beginnings Master Ip and Master Hung come to develop a mutual respect. To this point in the film I found the story to be every bit as involving as Ip Man. The two primary action sets pieces, the one at the fish market and later at the master’s council were superb and the development of the characters and their integration in the lightly dramatic elements of the narrative worked well. Thing began to get shaky when British boxer Taylor “Twister” Milos arrives in Hong Kong for an exhibition and insults Chinese Kung Fu which leads a clash of cultures that must be rectified. The story then descends into a Rocky IV style fight drama with Master Ip entering the ring against a seemingly indestructible foreign foe as an entire nation cheers him on in defense of their honor. You can figure out how it turns out. I felt that the clichéd third act took away from the earlier parts of the film which was disappointing. That isn’t to suggest that I didn’t enjoy watching Donnie Yen at work in the finale but the camp factor ran a little too high. I thought that in addition to Yen, who owns this character, Sammo Hung and Huang Xiao Ming were standouts among a solid ensemble cast. I think that as a companion to the first film Ip Man 2 (at least the first two acts) is very good thanks in part to another excellent portrayal by Donnie Yen in the lead role. Wilson Yip does a fine job in the director’s chair and the action choreography (by Sammo Hung) features two incredibly well executed and thrilling fight sequences that by themselves make this film worth the price of admission.
The rating is for action/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 2 Legend of the Grand Master comes to Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.7 Mbps.
This film has a stylized visual design that utilizes a muted chromatic scheme that works aesthetically well for the film’s theme and setting. The color range is limited to shades of gray, black and sepia with splashes of crimson and pale secondary hues. Warm golden accents are used here and there to break up the film’s monochromatic essence. Fleshtones hold up nicely and don’t appear unnatural. Uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is noticeably boosted which overemphasizes whites with minimal effects on detail and the reproduction of gray tones. Resolution is discerning as the video is cleanly rendered with appreciable refinement and delineation that enhances depth as it reveals fine detail in objects, clothing, and physical features. Blacks aren’t inky but appear punchy when onscreen with mixed light/dark elements. There is a fine veneer of film grain that provides texture without emphasizing the low level digital noise that crops up from time to time. The end result is a satisfying high definition video presentation.
The available audio options on this release are English (dubbed), Mandarin, and Cantonese DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio with their stereo counterparts. The default option is the Cantonese track which is I used during my evaluation. The lossless mix delivers the soundtrack’s elements with aplomb. Dynamic range is extended which renders the film’s action based sequences with definitive impact and energy. Dialogue is presented with clear intonation and average 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 integrates 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. 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 audible detail and room energizing dynamics make for a entertaining home theater experience.
* CIH users should note that the subtitles appear within the picture area.*
Disc 1: (Blu-ray)
- (HD) International, Theatrical, and Teaser trailers
- Making of documentary (1080i boxed in center of screen) – 17 minutes
Disc 2: Bonus features DVD:
- Behind the sets
- The community
- Fish market
- Chinese restaurant
- Big and small arena
- Shooting diary
- Deleted scenes
- Cast/crew interviews – 11 segments
In Ip Man 2 Legend of the Grand Master Donnie Yen reprises his iconic role as the real-life kung fu Grandmaster Ip Man. It’s a decent sequel that starts stronger than it finishes but makes for a good companion to the original film thanks to another strong performance by Yen, a solid supporting cast, and rousing martial arts choreography. As with Ip Man it is readily apparent that this film is a labor of love for the filmmakers and cast. This Collector’s Edition debuts on Blu-ray Disc in a technically strong offering that features excellent 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 Blu-ray release from Well Go USA is a must have for your collection. Enjoy!
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