March 3, 2021 (NYC)– A Look at Ip Man: Kung Fu Master (2021). Ip Man: Kung Fu Master (2021), the latest film in a series of stories about the life and legacy of Bruce Lee’s legendary Wing Chu Master, Ip Man, hits the US market this week. Here is a synopsis and review of this Magnolia Pictures, Magnet Release.
IP MAN: KUNG FU MASTER harks back to Ip’s early days before the Communist Revolution in 1949. Ip, portrayed by Dennis To for the third time as the martial artist who famously tutored Bruce Lee, was then a police captain who was framed for the murder of a ruthless but honorable mobster, and targeted for vengeance by his dangerous daughter. Forced to quit the force, Ip soon also has to contend with the arrival of the Japanese army in Guangzhou.
To be clear this is not part of the highly successful four part, Donnie Yen, series about the Chinese, Wing Chun legend. However, it is based upon the same character.
It seems Ip Man has become one of the 21st Century’s great Chinese, global exports and the world can not get enough of these action packed, loosely based bio-pics.
This film is a prequel of sorts to the Wilson Yip, Donnie Yen blockbusters. It takes place prior to the original Yen film, in the years that Ip Man was a police officer in Foshan Province. Ip Man goes on a personal mission to avenge an unjust death and to stand up to the invasive presence of the Japanese military.
For those looking for more of Donnie Yen and the triumphant filmmaking of the four (4) unrelated films, you may be disappointed. However, for those looking to revisit this beloved character in a fun, action packed movie that is cinematically pleasing, this film is a winner. It is engaging from the opening action packed fight scene to the final battle, which is a sort of homage’ to the end of Yen’s first Ip Man foray.
While Dennis To is not Donnie Yen, neither is any other living martial arts action star. Dennis To manages to do a good job of carrying the film. He resembles Yen in his persona and in his fighting. Early on I wasn’t sure if he was doing a Yen impression, or they both simply, had similar demeanors and movements, but I quickly became engrossed enough that I stopped caring. His acting works. His martial arts is high level. To’s claim to fame is that he was an actual student of Ip Chun, Ip Man’s son. Chun, who worked with Yen on his Ip Man film, was actually Dennis To’s teacher and Grandmaster. This accounts for his adept martial arts skills.
This film surprised me and I think it will surprise martial arts film fans, whether you have seen other Ip Man films or not.
I recommend it highly.
Ip Man: Kung Fu Master will be available on Blu-ray and DVD for the suggested retail price of $29.98 and $26.98. The film will also be available On Demand via Apple TV, Prime Video, Google Play, FandangoNOW, DirecTV, and more on March 9.
The film contains English subtitles.
YUAN LI RUOXIN
DIRECTOR: LI LIMING
PRODUCED BY: BAILE MEDIA
PRODUCED BY: XU HUIDAN, SUI XIAONAN, WANG NAN, ZHOU LILI
SCREENWRITERS: LI LIMING, SHI CHINGSHUI
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: GUO LEI
EDITOR: HUANG RONGJUN
ART DIRECTOR: WANG NAN ACTION
DIRECTOR: SUN FEI
STYLIST: YANG JIE
To hear Marc Zirogiannis’ review on our weekly podcast:
6 thoughts on “A Look at Ip Man: Kung Fu Master (2021)”
An Ip Man and Bruce fan and martial artist practioner since 1986. During all those years, different schools, styles, masters, etc., it doesn’t matter as long as yu are a martial arts practitioner.
Bows and Respects 🙌