This movie is about Grand Master Ip Man’s migration to Hong Kong from Fonshan, China in 1949 to spread Wing Chun, a fast and devastating form of martial arts. Although this is not science fiction or fiction for that matter, this is a brilliant martial arts movie. If you have seen the first Ip Man, this follows Ip Man battling against the British, much like the previous film against the Japanese. This time, however, it’s a boxing champion by the name of Twister, and Ip Man must defend the honor of the Chinese peoples yet again.
Donnie Yen again stars as Ip Man in this sequel. Lynn Hung reprises her role as Ip Man’s wife. Sammo Hung Kam-Bo stars as Ip Man’s rival, Master Hong Zhen Non. Xiaoming Huang stars as Wong Shun Leung, Ip Man’s first student in Hong Kong. Kent Cheung stars as Officer Fatso, the negotiator between the British boxing promoters, the British police and the Chinese kung fu masters. Fan Siu-wong reprises his role as Jin Shanzhao, a martial artist and bandit from the first Ip Man film. Darren Shahlavi plays Taylor “The Twister” Milos, the British boxing champion.
One day, Wong Leung and his friends meet up with Ip Man, and they request to become Ip Man’s first pupils in Hong Kong after their defeat at Ip Man’s hands. Soon, other pupils join in the fray. However, Wong is caught later on putting up promotional posters for Wing Chun, and he is harassed, beaten and taken as hostage by students of Hung Ga. Ip Man comes to rescue him in the fish stalls owned by Master Hung. A large battle ensues as Ip Man battles through tens of attackers. Jin Shanzhao comes to bring both Ip Man and Wong to safety, but they are delayed by Master Hung and Officer Fatso. Hung offers Ip Man a challenge to enter the martial arts society, and Ip Man agrees. Meanwhile, Jin and Wong are arrested but later released.
Master Hung confronts Ip Man in the final round of the challenge after Ip Man defeated the two previous kung fu masters. Hung and Ip Man fight and ultimately come to a draw.
Soon, the British boxing promoter and Twister hold their boxing tournament. Twister insults the Chinese kung fu masters by calling their fighting dancing among other harassing terms. He fights some kung fu pupils in the ring and defeats them handedly with his hard punches. After a scuffle ensues between the Chinese kung fu masters and students and the British boxing personnel, Twister challenges Hung to a fight on the condition that should Hung win, Twister will apologize to the Chinese people for his derogatory insults. Ultimately, the fight proved to be brutal, and Master Hung is literally beaten to death as his head is constantly rattled by devastating punches.
The final battle comes between Twister and Ip Man. Twister’s raw power and speed prove to be too cumbersome initially, but Ip Man’s kicks win him his first knock down after his two knockdowns by Twister’s hard punches. The British referee declares Ip Man’s kicks illegal in the boxing match. This causes an uproar among the Chinese people in attendance and listening to the match on the radio broadcast. Ip Man finally defeats Twister through use of disabling blows to the arms and elbows of Twister. As the microphone comes down upon Ip Man after Twister’s defeat, he declares that this fight is not about the styles or stature of the fighter, but that both the Chinese and British are simply people.
In the final scene of the movie, a young Bruce Lee enters the door and requests to learn Wing Chun. However, Ip Man declines Bruce Lee initially because of his youth and the reason for learning to fight. As the credits roll, we learn that Bruce Lee becomes Ip Man’s pupil when he become 16.
Both Ip Man and Ip Man 2 are surprisingly following the Rocky formula, but instead of Rocky meeting Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago, Ip Man confronts Miura and Twister. Miura, the Japanese general of the first film, was reminiscent of Apollo Creed in that he was the icon of Japanese martial arts. On the other hand, Twister was brutal and unforgiving, much like Ivan Drago was. In fact, the scene where Ip Man remembers what he told Master Hung during his fight with Twister is reminiscent of Rocky IV‘s when Rocky remembers Apollo. Similarly, at the end, Rocky comments how the Russian and Americans should come to a mutual understanding despite their differences, much like Ip Man’s comments in this film at the end of his bout.
The fight scenes were terrific, although most involved using cables for the actors. There were different displays of martial arts styles, particularly during Hung’s challenge, and the inclusion of Western boxing against Chinese kung fu showcased the two opposing martial arts.
Overall, this a brilliant martial arts film, and astonishingly, Ip Man is following Rocky’s boots. It’s a solid 8 out of 10 for me.