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Ip Man 2(2010)
Centering on Ip Man's migration to Hong Kong in 1949 as he attempts to propagate his discipline of Wing Chun martial arts.
For more about Ip Man 2 and the Ip Man 2 Blu-ray release, see the Ip Man 2 Blu-ray Review
Starring: Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung, Fan Siu-Wong, Xiong Dailin, Darren Shahlavi, Lynn Hung
Director: Wilson Yip
» See full cast & crew
Ip Man 2 Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, September 6, 2010
Wilson Yip's "Ip Man 2" (2010) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Universe Laser & Video Co. The supplemental features on the disc include making of featurette; cast and crew interviews; photo gallery; deleted scenes; behind the scenes featurette; footage from the film's gala premiere; trailers; and more. In Cantonese, with optional English and Traditional Chinese subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
The end of the Sino-Japanese War. After being seriously wounded during a political protest, Ip Man (Donnie Yen, Bodyguards and Assassins) manages to escape Foshan with the assistance of Zhou Qing Quan (Simon Yam, Bad Blood), who is shot in the head by a Japanese soldier. Ip Man settles in Hong Kong, where he decides to open a martial arts school and teach Wing Chun for a living.
Ip Man's first student, Wong Leung (Huang Xiaoming, The Sniper), gets in trouble with a group of students attending respected master Hung Quan's (Sammo Hung, S.P.L.: Kill Zone) martial arts school. When Ip Man attempts to help him out, he is challenged by Hung Quan to prove that he is worthy of being addressed as master. During an official ceremony, Ip Man is tested by some of Hong Kong's best masters. He defeats all but Hung Quan - their fight ends in a draw, which immediately attracts the attention of the media in Hong Kong.
Ip Man is granted the right to run his own martial arts school, but tensions between his students and Hung Quan's remain high. Hung Quan also gets irritated by Ip Man's decision not to contribute to a fund that is supposedly established to assist masters in Hong Kong during difficult times.
Meanwhile, a tough British boxer, Twister (Darren Shahlavi, Hostile Environment), backed by various British officials in Hong Kong, challenges the masters to prove that they can be as deadly on the boxing ring as he is. Shortly after, a high-profile boxing match is staged in which Twister defeats Hung Quan. After the boxing match, Twister delivers an insulting speech, which inspires Ip Man to step up and defend Hung Quan's honor as well as the image of Chinese martial arts.
There is plenty of style but very little substance in Wilson Yip's Ip Man 2, the follow-up to his hugely successful Ip Man. Instead of going against the Japanese oppressors, this time around the legendary Wing Chun master faces Hong Kong's British colonizers, while trying to set up a small martial arts school and live a decent life. Unfortunately, aside from an impressive dose of kicks and punches, as well as some fancy camerawork, Ip Man 2 does not offer anything else worthy of one's attention.
Edmond Wong's script is surprisingly weak. Anyone looking for some insight on Ip Man's teachings would be better off sticking with Ip Man, where there were at least some partial attempts to highlight important events from the master's fascinating life. In Ip Man 2, the focus of attention is almost exclusively on Ip Man's clash with two fighters – one played by the legendary Sammo Hung, the other by veteran action star Darren Shahlavi.
Ip Man 2 is also marred by a myriad of familiar clichés, which touch on political subjects that feel completely out of sync with the film's agenda. Unsurprisingly, occasionally Ip Man 2 feels more like a badly scripted Chinese propaganda piece than a biographical film about a legendary martial arts master.
Still, the action is sizzling. The fights, directed by Samo Hung, will surely impress hardcore action fans - most of them are very intense and terrifically choreographed. Pooh Hang-Sang's (Blood: The Last Vampire) lensing is also pleasing, though the endless fast camera cuts and zooms eventually tire the eyes.
Ip Man 2 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Wilson Yip's Ip Man 2 arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Universe Laser & Video Co.
This is a solid high-definition transfer. Fine object detail is terrific, clarity very pleasing and contrast levels consistent throughout the entire film. The color-scheme does not disappoint either - yellows, greens, blues, reds, grays and blacks look rich and well saturated. Edge-enhancement is not an issue of concern; neither is macroblocking. I also did not spot any traces of noise reduction - generally speaking, the fine film grain gives the film a notably healthy, fresh look. There are no serious stability issues to report in this review either. Finally, while watching the film, I did not see any annoying flecks, scratches, stains, or debris. To sum it all up, this is an excellent high-definition transfer that should meet the quality expectations of even the most demanding film enthusiasts. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Ip Man 2 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are five audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Cantonese LPCM 7.1, Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 and Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 EX. For the record, Universe Laser & Video Co. and have provided optional English and Traditional Chinese subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they split the image frame and the black bar below it.
The Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is outstanding. The bass is potent and punchy, the rear channels very effective, and the high-frequencies not overdone. Many of the action scenes, and especially Ip Man's testing by the masters, should impress audiophiles - the intensity of the sound is indeed quite remarkable. The dialog is crisp, clean and easy to follow. There are no balance issues with Kenji Kawai's music score either. Lastly, while viewing the film I did not hear any pops, cracks, or hissings to report in this review.
A tested a couple of different scenes with the Cantonese LPCM 7.1 track and the Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track. The dynamic amplitudes of these tracks are indeed identical to the dynamic amplitude of the Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. The dialog also sounds equally crisp and clear on all three audio tracks.
Note: I noticed quite a few grammatical errors with the English translation. Most of them occur during the second half of the film.
Ip Man 2 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Interviews - cast and crew members discuss the production history of the film, the key characters in it, the message of the film, how the majority of the fights were shot, etc. In English, Cantonese and Mandarin, with optional English and Traditional Chinese subtitles.
-- Wilson Yip (19 min, 480/60i).
-- Sammo Hung (7 min, 480/60i).
-- Donnie Yen (4 min, 480/60i).
-- Huang Xiao Ming (8 min, 480/60i).
-- Xiong Dai Lin (4 min, 480/60i).
-- Simon Yam (4 min, 480/60i).
-- Louis Fan (3 min, 480/60i).
-- Kent Cheng (6 min, 480/60i).
-- To Ye Hong (6 min, 480/60i).
-- Ashton Chen (4 min, 480/60i).
-- Pierre Ngo (4 min, 480/60i).
-- Darren Shahlavi (4 min, 480/60i).
Making of - a standard featurette with additional comments from different cast and crew members discussing the production history of the film, key scenes, the narrative, etc. The featurette contains raw footage from the shooting of the film. In Cantonese and Mandarin, with optional Traditional Chinese and English subtitles. (18 min, 480/60i).
4 Big Scenes - a look at the shooting of the following scenes:
-- The Community (3 min, 480/60i).
-- Kwun Chung Fish Market (3 min, 480/60i).
-- Chinese Restaurant for Joss Stick Combat (3 min, 480/60i).
-- Big and Small Arena (3 min, 480/60i).
Photo Gallery - a collection of stills from the film. (1080p).
Shooting Diary - raw footage from the shooting of the film. Without dialog. (4 min, 480/60i).
Deleted Scenes - a gallery of deleted scenes. In Cantonese and English, with optional Traditional Chinese and English subtitles. (10 min, 480/60i).
Gala Premiere - footage from the film's premiere in Hong Kong. In Cantonese, with optional Traditional Chinese and English subtitles. (3 min, 480/60i).
Ip Man trailer - In Cantonese, with embedded English subtitles. (2 min, 480/60i).
Ip Man 2 trailer - In Cantonese, with optional Traditional Chinese and English subtitles. (3 min, 1080p).
Ip Man 2 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Stylish but lacking substance, Wilson Yip's Ip Man 2 should appeal primarily to hardcore fans of Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung. Everyone else will most likely be underwhelmed by it. The Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Universe Laser & Video Co., looks and sounds fantastic. It also contains an enormous amount of supplemental features, all of which are English-friendly. The disc, however, is Region-A "locked". RECOMMENDED.
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