One of my favorite martial arts films still to this day is Ip Man. It has all the fun of crazy action sequences and intense fighting scenes while still maintaing a mature feeling. The characters are really fleshed out and their development throughout the film is very well paced. Overall, Ip Man appeals to fans of martial arts films as well as dramas.
Ip man begins the movie at the peak of his life living in the city of Wing Chun during the twentieth century. He has a great family, a beautiful house, and the respect of the townspeople. He is also the greatest martial arts master in the city and even defeats a thug who beats all the other masters without even breaking a sweat. However, the peace and prosperity doesn't last long as Japan begins to occupy China in 1937 as part of the Sino-Japan War. People are evacuated out of their homes and forced into hard labor. Ip man also finds himself in this situation and needs to adapt a new kind of lifestyle he had never experienced before. Through many hardships and lost lives, Ip man must fight through everything in order to survive. In the end, Ip man must make the toughest decision of all; weather or not maintaing his honor is worth sacrificing his life.
There is a very uplifting first twenty minutes that really sets a false feeling for what you would think the rest of the movie would be like. I first saw this movie without knowing anything about the movie and I initially thought it was just about Ip man beating up bad guys. It suddenly takes on a slow and morbid feeling once the war begins and Ip man is forced out of his home. Other than the intense story, the fighting scenes are some of the coolest and well choreographed I have ever seen. The fighting seems very realistic and it gets very brutal and graphic in some scenes. My favorite scene is when Ip man fights ten black belts at once and just destroys everyone. There is very good build up to the final fight and the ending feels very satisfying.
All in all, Ip Man is a film that blends action, drama, and history into a very entertaining story.