Writer: Low Yuen Yim
Overall: 4.5 Out of 5
Cast: 4.0 Out of 5
Plot: 4.0 Out of 5
Effects: 3.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 4.0 Out of 5
Watch this if you liked: “Ip Man”, “Fearless”
In Chinese, the character meaning "martial arts" is the combination of two characters - "stop" and "war". The spirit of Chinese martial arts (wushu) is to stop the war, not to fight. Boy does this come into play as Donnie Yen reprises his now iconic role as Ip Man and this sequel continues where the first movie left off.
Master Ip Man is a well-mannered martial arts teacher who wishes to pass on his knowledge of Wing Chun to the younger generation so that it will not be forgotten. In the beginning, he had difficulty finding students as the art was not well known in Hong Kong at that time. Darren Shahlavi (stuntman-turned-actor, previously bodyguard to Hollywood stars) plays Twister, a boxer with anger management issues who battles Ip in a boxing ring. Master Hung (Sammo Hung) plays a martial arts master in charge of a fish market who has to placate the police so that the rest of the martial arts schools in Hong Kong can operate without any worries.
If the fighting scenes in the first film sent you over the moon, Sammo delivers new action in this instalment. Being the choreographer for the first film, he would have known the audience would be hard to please. His fight scenes portray more variety of the traditional wushu plus Ip Man's legendary high-speed, precise punches. During production, Sammo underwent heart surgery and he expressed dissatisfaction over some fight scenes as he was only recovering - but you won't feel short-changed! Besides that, the multiple camera angles gave us more punches and kicks executed from different point of views - just in case we didn't catch it the first time around!
If you liked the extended feather duster scene from the first movie, then this sequel's highlight would be a prolonged tabletop showdown between Donnie and Sammo. Struggling for balance as they try to knock each other off the table, it is a scene like this that makes us cherish Sammo's awesome choreography over the special effects that are overused in martial arts movies these days.
Donnie Yen's portrayal of Ip Man has definitely shaped our perception of the legendary master and his now well-known Wing Chun, just like how Jet Li had made himself synonymous with Wong Fei Hung.
Just a note though - after much hype about the introduction of Bruce Lee into the story and how 10-year-old Jiang Daiyan was chosen after an extensive talent search, his appearance was brief. However, as he rubs his nose we all know who he'll grow up to be and perhaps we can cross our fingers, in hopes of a third instalment.
Cinema Online, 23 April 2010