If you think you're a big fan of Bruce Lee, I can say you're not until you learn more about Ip Man. I mean a real Bruce Lee's fan should know who Ip Man is and if you don't then be prepared Bruce Lee's ghost will hunt you and choke you to death.
Ip Man (may also spelled as "Yip Man" in Romanized Chinese) is a Chinese martial art (kung fu) movie and the title of the movie itself is after the name of the main role, a wealthy-yet-humble man named Ip Man, the most celebrated grandmaster of wing chun kung fu style in modern time.
As a fellow martial artist who have respect in Bruce Lee, I've always interested in knowing who is the person Bruce Lee learned his kung fu skills from. It seems like Ip Man is a forgotten legend because the first time I heard his name is around 15 years ago. Internet was still in its infancy on that time, and so does Google and Wikipedia so I was left in ignorance until year 2000 where me and a few of my friends in martial art class involved in a project to study the cause of Bruce Lee's death. Then I heard about a biographical movie "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" starring Jason Scott Lee and watched it (that's 7 years after the movie was released). Although the movie did not portray Ip Man as the man who trained Bruce Lee, the movie did remind me to look for him again. Lucky me the internet was already there and my search begins.
In the last 10 years, I was wondering why hasn't anybody make a biography movie about Ip Man? I keep wondering and finally in 2008 somebody is generous enough to make a movie about it at the right time everybody is still has the hots for martial art movies. A sequel titled "Ip Man 2" followed in 2010.
The movie has an awesome martial art features and not just focusing on wing chun. For example in the first movie we can see Ip Man fighting the Japanese soldiers whose practicing karate while in the second movie, we can see Ip Man having a head to head fight with a Western boxing champion. What amuses me the most is how well wing chun is depicted in the movie, thanks to Ip Man's own sons, Ip Chun and Ip Ching who act as advisors. Due to this I was able to see wing chun is quite similar to two martial art syles I've learned before, namely Silat Cekak Ust. Hanafi and Lian Padukan. Even the training is almost similar, except that I never have a touch on the wooden stacks.
For those who think this movie is really based on Ip Man's real life, take note that you're wrong. Apart from the names, fighting styles and the young Bruce Lee introduced at the end of the second movie, almost everything in the movie are fictional. However the movements in the movie aren't fakes. They are well choreographed by the trained wing chun pros, so in that sense this movie will not disappoint. And since wing chun incorporates almost no jumps, jumping is almost nowhere in the movie, which also means that wire works is almost non existent too (I didn't say there aren't any though).
So what's about this movie is great? I personally think it's a good introductory movie for those who are interested to know and learn martial art. Alright, I said 'introductory' so please don't rely on this movie to practice wing chun yourself. I do admit though many of the kung fu moves you see in the movie are effective but you should never learn martial art solely from any movies. If you want to learn some, go look for a real master. Although wing chun is relatively easy to learn, it doesn't mean it's easy to master without somebody to guide you.
Although this move did moved me to focus more in martial art training, it does not really moved me to learn wing chun myself. Besides since I found wing chun is quite similar to the styles I've learned before, I think it would be best for me to master what I already know rather than going for something new for now. Well, even if I wanted to chances are it would be very hard since real (full time) wing chun practitioners here is almost as rare as chicken's teeth.
(11/24 westerners think all kung fu are the same and think any Chinese-looking people knows how to kick someone's ass artistically)