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Ip Man (Well Go USA) 
Written by: on July 26th, 2010

Theatrical Release Date: China, 2008
Director: Wilson Yip
Writer: Edmond Wong
Cast: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Siu-Wong Fan, Ka Tung Lam, Yu Xing, You-Nam Wong, Chen Zhi Hui, Lynn Hung, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Yu-Hang To

DVD released: July 27, 2010
Approximate running time: 106 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: R
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Cantonese, Dolby Digital 5.1 Mandarin, Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98

The plot for Ip Man is loosely based on the life of Yip Man, one of the first martial artists to openly teach Wing Chun. The time period this film covers is the 1930’s and 1940’s. The bulk of the film revolves around the Japanese occupation of China and Ip Man’s refusal to teach Japanese soldiers, Wing Chun.

Bio films often walk a fine line as many of them take liberties when translating real life into something more cinematic. This is what appears to have happened with Ip Man, as the bulk of what occurs in the film actually never happened. Despite these embellishes, the end result is a moving story that never diminishes the legacy of Yip Man, whose life the film is loosely based on. If anything the film elevates its subject matter in a way that doing a completely faithfully bio film would have had difficulty doing so.

Casting for bio films can also pose many obstacles and thankfully for Ip Man, Donnie Yen the actor chosen to do this difficult task is up to the challenge as he totally immerses himself in the character. Not only does he excel during the film’s action set pieces, he also delivers during the film’s more dramatic moments. The standout moment in the film and a scene that you are not likely to forget anytime soon, is a scene where Ip Man becomes enraged after a friend of his who had been fighting in a martial arts exhibition with the Japanese, is shot in the head by one of the soldiers. Up to this point Ip Man has not lost control. Angered, he demands to fight 10 Japanese all at the same time. His systematic demolition of the Japanese fighters is symbolic of the brutality that the Chinese have suffered via the Japanese occupiers in the film. Besides Donnie Yen Tour De Force performance as Ip Man, the rest of the cast are all exceptional in the respective roles. Ultimately Ip Man is an extraordinary martial arts film that perfectly balances action and drama.

The DVD:

Well Go USA presents Ip Man in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Unlike the Cine Asia UK DVD release which was a NTSC to PAL conversion. This transfer is NTSC sourced and not a standard conversion like the aforementioned UK DVD release. When compared to the UK DVD release this new release from Well Go USA that boasts more natural looking flesh tones, colors look more accurate, black levels look very good and the amount of detail in very frame is greatly improved. The image remains stable throughout and there are no problems with compression.

This release comes with three audio options, Dolby Digital 5.1 Cantonese, Dolby Digital 5.1 Mandarin and Dolby Digital 5.1 English. Also included with this release are English subtitles that are easy to follow. A quick comparison to the subtitles used for the UK DVD release and the subtitles for this release appear to be identical. All three audio mixes sound clear and balanced throughout. With the actions sequences benefiting most from these audio mixes. Range wise the Cantonese and Mandarin audio tracks sound slightly fuller than the English dubbed audio mix.

Extras for this release are spread over two DVD’s. Disc one includes the film’s original trailer (2 minutes 19 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Cantonese with English subtitles),  a English language trailer for the film (1 minute 47 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), three deleted scenes “Chun’s Visit” (57 seconds), “Northern Accent” (1 minute 34 seconds) and “Get the Traitor” (48 seconds). The main extra included on disc one is a ‘Making of’ featurette (18 minutes 33 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), which included cast and crew comments about the film in between behind the scenes footage. Also included on disc one are trailers for other film’s are so to be released or  available on DVD from Well Go USA.

Extras on disc two include a segment titled “Shooting Dairy” (5 minutes 27 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), three behind the scenes segments, “Cotton Mill” (2 minutes 23 seconds), “Streets of Fo Shan” (2 minutes) and “Mo Goon Street, Ip Man’s Home” (2 minutes 3 seconds) and interviews with director Wilson Yip (23 minutes 11 seconds), actors Donnie Yen (22 minutes 8 seconds), Gordon Lam (8 minutes 55 seconds), Hiroyuki Ikeuchi (7 minutes 44 seconds), Louis Fan (4 minutes 49 seconds), Simon Yam (2 minutes 53 seconds), actress Lynn Xiong (7 minutes 48 seconds), action director Sammo Hung (8 minutes and 2 seconds) and a interview Ip Chun (Ip Man’s son) which also includes comments from other cast and crew members. The two most interesting interviews are with Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen who discuss their previous collaborations, Bruce Lee, Wing Chun, Ip Man, how they got involved in this project and their thoughts on the other cast members. The other interviews mostly focus on each of the participants experiences working on this film. All of the behind the scenes segments and interviews are in Chinese with English subtitles. Overall Ip Man gets a strong  DVD release from Well Go USA.


Cine Asia DVD

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