AKA: Yip Man 2, The Legend of Ip Man 2, The Legend of Yip Man 2, Ip Man II
Director: Wilson Yip Wai-Shun
Cast: Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung, Lynn Hung, Huang Xiaoming, Darren Shahlavi
Running Time: 109 min.
By Mighty Peking Man
Don’t let the sequel-hating snobs fool you; “Yip Man 2” is one hell of a movie. It may not be as brilliant as the original, but it’s still better than 99% of the standalone bullshit out there.
This time around, Wilson Yip is having a little more fun and it shows. Let’s put it this way: If the original “Ip Man” was “First Blood,” then “Ip Man 2″ is “Rambo: First Blood Part II.” More action, less seriousness – but overall – very entertaining.
As with all follow ups to successful films, I’m sure there was pressure from the studios to pump out another “Ip Man” flick, yet Wilson Yip and his crew were able to pull it off without burying themselves in sequel hell (ie “Matrix Revolutions,” “Exorcist II,” “Speed 2,” “Staying Alive”… you get my point).
Sammo Hung, who worked as martial arts choreographer for both films, now has a major, on-screen role; as well as a handful of beefy action sequences. Thanks to Sammo, the first film is heavily noted for its fresh, crisp fights; with “Ip Man 2,” they may be down a tad or so, but they still hold the standard of the original.
I found it interesting how the final act is essentially “Rocky IV” in CliffsNotes form. I’m not sure if the similarities have been mentioned before, but it’s obvious that a lot of inspiration came from the Sylvester Stallone flick, and I’m talking right down to the Rocky Balboa/Ip Man speech.
One minor gripe I have with “Ip Man 2” is – with the exception of Donnie Yen and Xiong Dai Ling’s roles – the other returning characters have either become lame (Fan Siu-Wong is now a softie) or downright ridiculous (Simon Yam seems to be doing his version of Jacky Cheung’s character in “Bullet in the Head’). My thing is: if you don’t know what to do with returning characters, don’t bring them back.
Without spoiling anything, the last few minutes of the movie was a nice touch. It actually gave me goose bumps. It makes me want to see an “Ip Man 3” right fucking now.
“Ip Man 2” is not exactly a “Godfather Part II” or a “Road Warrior,” but it’s definitely a solid sequel that’s worth seeing.
Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 8/10