Young Ip Man is a clever play on the myth of Ip Man and Die Hard all set in a boarding school. New to Blu-Ray from Well Go USA.
At this point in my life, I’ve watched at least two dozen movies about Ip Man. There isn’t a comp in the US of just how important Ip Man is to Chinese Culture. Like any good historical figure and their respective legends, filmmakers love to test the elasticity of it to see how far they can go. Director Li Liming has contorted, twisted, and bent Ip Man’s legend about as far as you can go before breaking it. Young Ip Man sets the High School Age yet-a-master against his own Sifu (e.g. Teacher for those not in the know) who was locked away for years in a Die Hard-esque race against time.
On the day of the English Language Competition at a prestigious Hong Kong School an escaped Criminal Brother Long (Mu Fengbin) and his crew have taken over the school where his former student Ip Man (Zhao Wenhao) is a student. Long indulges Ip Man in a game giving him 30 minutes to get out of the school alive in exchange for all of the students’ lives. Though Long has other motives that are larger than any – save for one – student. Will Ip Man’s skills and heart be enough to save the day? Or is there more at stake here…
Director Li’s film running at a brisk 80 minutes wastes no time and cuts a lean narrative drive that is always to the point. Beyond the normal contrived plot mechanics, there is a surprising amount of moral complexity. Beyond the fists and crackling action sequences there is an emotional throughline that gives the antagonist more than the boring “money for hostages” motivation. In fact, it’s the right lesson that the film has learned from Die Hard beyond leaning heavily on the “Die Hard in a _____” plot device.
Young Ip Man in its brevity and directness makes for an elevated piece of martial art historical fiction that’s better than you’ll initially think.
Well Go USA was provided with a superb transfer for this Blu-Ray release. The image beautifully represents the movie without any defects or artifacting.
None were included in the release.
The Final Thought
Young Ip Man will surprise action fans with its fast pace and a shrewd play on the Die Hard plot conventions.