The Legend Is Born: Ip Man

June 24, 2010 0 By Fans
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It is about around Yip Man's resistance against invading foreigners, along with his romantic relations while under the tutelage of three Wing Chun masters.

Release Year: 2010

Rating: 6.8/10 (3,740 voted)

Herman Yau

Stars: Yu-Hang To, Siu-Wong Fan, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo

It is about around Yip Man's resistance against invading foreigners, along with his romantic relations while under the tutelage of three Wing Chun masters.

Writers: Erica Lee, Sean Whitley


Yu-Hang To

Ip man

Siu-Wong Fan

Ip Tin Chi

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo

Chan Wah-shun

Huang Yi

Cheung Wing-shing

Rose Chan

Lee Mei-wai

Rose Chan

Li Mei Wai

Ip Chun

Leung Bik

Hins Cheung


Chen Zhi Hui

Suet Lam

Cheung Ho-tin

Sire Ma

Cheung Wing Wah

Kenya Sawada

Kitao Yukio

(as Kenya)

Andy Taylor

Foreign Challenger at Hockey

Biao Yuen

Ng Chung-sok


Official Website:
Official site [Japan] |

Release Date: 24 June 2010

Technical Specs


User Review

A Nutshell Review: The Legend is Born: Ip Man

Rating: 7/10

With cult Hong Kong director Herman Yau at the helm, The Legend is Born
predates the Ip Man films we've seen thus far, seizing the window of
opportunity in exploring Ip Man's life as a teenager before he became
the master we're all familiar with Donnie Yen's portrayal. While it's
less flashy than the two earlier films, Yau will pique your curiosity
with the shrewd casting of veterans such as Sammo Hung in a different
role this time as Ip Man's master Chan Wah- shun, Yuen Biao as the next
generation leader Chung Sok, and even getting Fan Siu Wong back as Ip
Man's foster brother Ip Tin-chi, making him the only actor to feature
in all three Ip Man films thus far. Credibility for the film is even
enhanced with the presence of Ip Man's real son Ip Chun as the elderly
but sprightly Leung Bik who teaches Ip Man (played by Dennis To) a
thing or two about his brand of Wing Chun.

That scene alone opposite To is one of the action highlights of the
film. And action is something this film has no lack of, ranging from
friendly and playful exchanges, to fending off petty street thugs and
the Japanese – yes, again, but I suppose it's set in the era before the
Sino-Japanese war that this in the narrative is somehow unavoidable.
While the earlier film versions had tried to stay rooted in reality
with the fight scenes, for this version there's the inevitable and
obvious wirework being used from time to time, which takes you into the
realm of fantasy unfortunately.

But almost everyone here has a fight crafted for them, and some of the
better ones include the mouth-watering duel between Sammo Hung and Yuen
Biao executing Wing Chun moves while blindfolded, imparting a key
philosophy about pre-emption, Fan Siu Wong's battle against Japanese
exponents in the Jing Wu premises, Dennis To against Yuen Biao when the
former returned from Hong Kong, and of course the brawl involving
Dennis To against many ninjas, which we now associate Ip Man with
(fighting against impossible odds in headcount). Various martial arts
like Judo and Karate also get thrown in even if they're used
fleetingly, and there's also glimpses of the variation of Wing Chun
involving weapons like the 6 inch pole (well, we know the damage what
Ip Man can do with a humongous one from the first film), and the
staples like the wooden dummy practices and the rapid fire punches. If
there's any fight scene which is a let down, it'll be the final one
which was short, and the opponent never really threatening our hero at

Dennis To, the current Hong Kong martial arts champion, probably has
his close physical features resemble Donnie Yen to thank for in winning
the title role of Ip Man, since audiences all over are currently
associating the Master with Donnie's portrayal. Incidentally To had a
role in Ip Man 2 as Sammo Hung's disciple, so how's that for having
everyone associated with the earlier films, to chip in for this one?
The pressure is on for To, but granted he cannot hold a candle to
Donnie Yen's charisma yet, and because Ip Man the character here is in
his early days, he gets whupped a bit more here as expected since he's
nowhere near the grandmaster status. Credit to To for trying, though
his acting is a lot more wooden, and his fighting moves executed for
the film also having a raw feel than the fluidity we've come to know
the Ip Man for.

On the other hand, I thought this was more of a Fan Siu Wong
breakthrough role, where he'd make you sit up and take notice of his
gentlemanly portrayal of Ip Tin-chi. In Ip Man 1 he's the ruffian from
the North, and shows that he's quite the chameleon in changing his
outwardly appearance for a different character here. His character also
seemed to be more fleshed out (for a reason of course), and action-wise
given the opportunity to shine a lot more with the various styles
utilized, as well as those which Ip Man had picked up from Leung Bik,
putting them two on almost equal terms.

Erica Lee's screenplay transports us back to the life and times of a
young Ip Man and his life in the Wing Chun martial arts school, as well
as his education in Hong Kong. Unfortunately it also meant having to
put in a clunky romantic web weaved between the characters, though it
didn't go beyond the surface and had plenty of "jealous fits" coming
from Rose Chan's fellow martial arts student with whom Ip Tin-chi is
interested in, but for her to prefer Ip Man, who in turn is in love
with Huang Yi's rich girl character to probably align this to the Ip
Man films.

The story also contain shades from the earlier ones, such as those
involving corrupted officials, arrogant foreigners who have to be put
in their place, a jail term (this makes it 3 in a row that Ip Man gets
thrown into one), and having enough twists in the story to include a
short murder mystery, espionage, and a turn that will make Infernal
Affairs proud as well.

It's a prequel done by another production team, so don't expect the
narrative to gel so nicely into Mandarin Films' Ip Man universe since
there are elements here that obviously clashes with what we treat as
canon. But what you can expect, as a martial arts action film, is
plenty of rapid fire, hard hitting action, and of course more of Ip
Man's character being portrayed on the big screen. You'd still feel
compelled to applaud when Ip Man comes to the rescue, but soon realize
that it doesn't exude the same emotional intensity, but makes up for it
in its variety of fights showcasing the lesser seen Wing Chun moves.