Ip Man: The Awakening review by Bobby Blakey
While the Donnie Yen led Ip Man franchise are no doubt the best and most popular, there have been numerous films focusing on the iconic martial artist. The latest from Well Go USA, Ip Man: The Awakening stars rising wing chun martial arts master Miu Tse aka Mia Xia assuming the legendary title role alongside cast members including Chen Guan Ying, Zhao Yu Xuan, and Hao Yan Fei from co-directors by Li Xi Jie and Zhang Zhu Lin. Could this new Ip Man story do the legendary man justice or will it fail to find the right technique?
Ip Man: The Awakening follows a young Master Ip who intervenes in a kidnapping attempt, unintentionally igniting a turf war with a ruthless human trafficking ring while visiting Hong Kong. In retaliation, the gang kidnaps one of Ip Man’s close friends, leaving him with no choice but to challenge the group’s notoriously brutal boxing champion head-on.
Anytime they do a film focusing on Ip Man it is impossible to not compare it to the Donnie Yen series and that is just not fair. At the same time it sets a standard and films like The Grandmaster were able to do it justice, but sadly most struggle to live up to it. I headed into this new one with an open mind and while it is a decent martial arts flick it fails to really capture that same magic of the man himself.
The whole film looks and feels more like a soap opera than a feature film which is the first issue. Intentionally or not it takes away from the darker under tone of the struggle they are dealing with and instead makes it silly at times. Thankfully there were plenty of fights here to help it out of being a total mess, but even there they struggled with how they wanted to shoot them at times.
There are plenty of fights and unlike the long form story of his life from the Yen
series this one is more of a straight up action flick. It works when the action element is in effect more often than not. The fights are well choreographed and reminded me of the old Shaw Bros films, but there are a couple of them that were shot a too close with too many cuts to fully enjoy. Thankfully they aren’t all that way and offer up some great moments on the action front.
In the end the film is ok, but fails to really stand out from being anything more than generic. Martial arts fans will no doubt find something to enjoy here in the action, but decide for yourself and check out Ip Man: The Awakening available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Well Go USA.