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The Asian ApertureIp Man 2
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, July 2, 2011    Share

Donnie Yen returns as Yip Man, the famous Wing Chun kung fu master, who taught Bruce Lee and several other famous students. Yip is forced to leave Foshan and relocate to Hong Kong. In Hong Kong Yip Man, his young wife, and small son struggled financially through difficult economical times. Yip Man opened up a Wing Chun Martial Arts school, yet had no students. He remained a gentle and caring man, even with the landlady beating on his door and demanding the rent. He helped out by allowing an elderly woman to hang her laundry out.

One day an arrogant young man appeared and challenged Yip Man saying that he would pay the school fees if he could be beaten. Yip Man easily beat him. However, this young man hated to lose and won't give up so he returned with several of his friends to test Wing Chun against multiple opponents. Again, everyone was knocked to the ground. Then after a beating, they all became humble and called Yip Man Sifu or Master and begged on their knees to become his students and promised to pay. The young man was Wong Leung who later trained Bruce Lee.

Fighting broke out between two rival kung fu schools on the mean streets of Hong Kong, and Yip Man was forced to bail out Wong Leung. This led to a meeting with Jin Shanzhao, played by the great Sammo Hung who also choreographed both movies, a master of Hung Gar. Jin tells Yip Man that if he wants to open up a school and teach, that he has to participate in a challenge match. Yip Man appears to all the kung fu masters and he must fight on a table, while an incense stick slowly burns, if he falls off the table, he cannot teach anyone. Yip Man beats several masters and keeps up with Jin, with no real clear winner. He wins the right to teach; however, he refuses to pay a $100 a month fee to Jin and the other martial arts masters. Jin tells him that there will be trouble for Yip Man and his school if he fails to comply. Yip Man tells Jin, he will teach without paying a fee to anyone.

Ip Man 2 really gets going with a young boxer named Twister, claims that Western Boxing can beat any Chinese martial arts. He vocally attacks kung fu and Chinese culture calling the Chinese weak. Jin must defend Chinese martial arts and fights against Twister. The battle rages on as Twister pounds away at Jin's head. Jin cannot let the Chinese people be insulted so he takes the beating by holding onto the rope and refusing to go down until he is killed in the ring.

After Jin's funeral, Twister continues to mock the Chinese. At a press conference, Yip Man challenges Twister. Yip Man must show that the Chinese can be a strong people and that their culture demands to be respected. Yip Man is not just fighting for himself. In fact, throughout both movies, Yip Man only applies enough force to prove his point. He does not set out to injury anyone, even when dealing with people at their worst and insulting. This illustrates that Yip Man is following the ethics of martial arts, which is to talk first to see if the other person will cool down, if a fight does happen, then it is better to hurt then to kill. Even as Twister yells in the boxing ring that the Chinese are weak, Yip Man is at harmony and peace. I won't give away the ending, but I would like to say one thing about a small part just before the credits. At the end, after the fight is long over, a student appears to Yip Man and tells him that he has a young boy who would like to study kung fu. A small 8-year boy enters the school and asks the boy what his name is, then he asks why do you want to study? The boy replies, “To beat up people that I don't like.”
Yip Man tells him to go home and come back when he grows up. That small boy was Bruce Lee and he did train with Yip Man. The movie says that Bruce trained with Yip Man at 16. I'm not sure how accurate that part of the movie is. Consider the facts. When Bruce Lee was 13, he was attacked by a group of students who really didn't like him. He was beaten and he became intensely angry because he couldn't look after himself. He started training with Yip Man at 13. Movies have a way of confusing the facts and I have no problem with it. The spirit and philosophy of Ip Man 2 is so strong and powerful that minor details just don't matter. I was actually choked up at the end.

Final Verdict

5 Stars out of 5 (much better then the first one.)

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2011 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.

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