By Calum Marsh
By Michelle Orange
By Michael Atkinson
By Simon Abrams
By Zachary Wigon
By Aaron Hillis
By Casey Burchby
By Stephanie Zacharek
The famed titular Wing Chun martial arts master returns to protect Chinese honor in Ip Man 2, a redundant if nonetheless occasionally thrilling follow-up bolstered by star Donnie Yens precision combat skills. Having relocated to Hong Kong in the early 1950s, Ip establishes a new school but finds himself confronting old dilemmas: scant money to support his family, impulsive students, and competitors who scoff at his unimposing modesty. Director Wilson Yips tale holds nothing back, with its initial hand-to-hand clashes proving to be its finest, from Ip taking on a marketplaces worth of blade-wielding baddies to him squaring off against kung fu masters atop a small table surrounded by upturned chairs. Its during this latter battle that Yen spars with the legendary Sammo Hung (who also serves as fight choreographer), a meeting of two martial arts maestros that serves as the actions apex. From there, alas, sequelitis sets in, with Ip again forced to set a shining nationalist example by defeating a xenophobic foreign enemy (in this case, an English boxer). Still, at least derivation corresponds with the films overriding theme, as Ips stated goal of proving that East and West are equal is covertly expressed by this Chinese blockbusters naked second-half aping of Rocky IV.
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