Don't watch this! Watch The Grandmasters instead!
Overall: 3. His helpful manner and masterful kung fu skills gives him a chance to earn a living by teaching a bunch of young workers his martial arts at the rooftop of a building with the help of Leung Sheung Timmy Hung , the president of the labour union.
Already in his forties, Ip Man gains fame among the locals after he becomes involved in an unpleasant battle with the apprentices of his rival, played by Eric Tsang, on the street.
When Ip Man almost falls apart after the death of his wife Wing Seng Anita Yuen in Foshan, a female performer appears and quickly takes up the responsibility of caring for the master she loves.
In his last days, he encounters one of the most challenging occasions of his life as he faces the Kowloon Walled City criminal kingpin Dragon Hung Yan Yan in order to save his apprentice from an illegal underground kung fu tournament.
This is the first factor that contradicts to the real Ip Man.
Despite his height, casting him as Ip Man is questionable to the audience due to his infrequent appearances in the action genre, especially in kung fu related pieces.
However, while listening to Ip Chun's narration of his father's tough experience in Hong Kong, Wong's emphasis on Ip Man's well-known peaceful mindset on dealing with the unstable conditions and events like the labour demonstrations, how the police officers enforce the law under the British administration around the community during the early days, and of course his relaxed but focused performance on punches and kicks against the villains are surprisingly impressive enough to persuade us in believing that the two-time Hong Kong Film Award Best Actor is the right person to handle such figure.
Those who missed "Endless Love" star Anita Yuen's screen presence will surely complain about her brief appearance as Ip Man's soft-hearted wife in the film.
However, her disappearance in the story leads us to the master's interesting hidden bittersweet relationship with an uneducated female singer who takes care of the lonely man, a crucial sentimental part which you have never seen in Wilson Yip and Wong Kar-wai's films.
The film also reflects how the old Ip Man treats his beloved son Ip Chun, who initially has no idea about Wing Chun and the moment when the latter witnesses and records the valuable video footage of his father demonstrating the roots of the martial arts techniques which are eventually utilized by Bruce Lee in promoting Chinese kung fu around the world.
Cinema Online, 28 March