Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 4-May-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-International Trailer
Featurette-Making Of
Trailer-x 3 for other films
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 108:07
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Wilson Yip
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Donnie Yen
Sammo Hung
Xiong Dai-lin
Huang Xiao-ming
Simon Yam
Kent Cheng
Darren Shahlavi
Fan Sui-wong

Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Kenji Kawai


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
Cantonese DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0
Mandarin DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Hong Kong 1950: Wing Chun master Ip Man (Donnie Yen), his pregnant wife Cheung (Xiong Dai-lin) and young son are poor, barely scraping enough money together to pay for food. Ip wants to teach to make money but pupils are scarce until young man Wong Leung (Huang Xiao-ming) turns up, bringing some friends with him. But the teaching of martial arts in Hong Kong is controlled by Hung Kuen style Master Hung Chun Nam (Sammo Hung) who, with Fatso (Kent Cheng), runs a protection racket with the police. To be allowed to teach, Ip must duel and defeat a number of other masters, but even when he does he refuses to pay protection money so his school is harassed by Hung’s students. Things only change when the Chinese in Hong Kong, and Chinese martial arts in general, are belittled by the British boxer called “The Twister” (Darren Shahlavi), supported by the corrupt police. After a tragic death, it is up to Ip Man to defeat The Twister in a match to restore Chinese dignity.

     Ip Man 2 (also known as Ip Man 2: The Legend of the Grandmaster) reunites director Yip Wai-shun (aka Wilson Yip) with Donnie Yen, Simon Yam and Sammo Hung, who this time around is not only action director but cast member as well. As a sequel Ip Man 2 has its moments; it has more humour than Ip Man and features some breathtaking action sequences, but the film as a whole is much more standard martial arts fare and Ip Man’s relationship with his wife, which grounded the first film, is pretty perfunctory. As well, the appearance of a couple of the characters from the first film, Quan (Simon Yam) and Jin (Fan Sui-wong), seems to be there for the sake of it rather than adding anything dramatically to the story. Ip Man 2 is also very jingoistic, even more so than the first film, with many comments about the dignity of Chinese martial arts. This is certainly a film to make a Chinese audience feel good about being Chinese.

     Yet where Ip Man 2 shines is in the quality of the action set pieces. Ip Man 2, like the first film, won best action choreography awards at both the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan for the great Sammo Hung. A mass attack on Ip in the fish market is exhilarating and the climax is bone crunching, but the highlight is a number of one-against-one duels between Ip and various masters on an unstable circular table top, culminating in a duel between Donnie and Sammo that is fabulous. Sammo is a big man, and at the time was 58 years old, but he is wonderful to watch and moves like a man half his age. May he never grow old!! Donnie Yen remains as good as ever, although he was not required to deliver quite the acting goods as in Ip Man. Nevertheless his charisma and martial arts abilities continue to bring the character of Ip Man to life.

     Ip Man 2 has its supporters. It is an excellent martial arts film with some exhilarating action sequences and Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung in good form, but for me it lacked the human touch of the first film and the story was not as interesting.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Ip Man 2 is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The detail of the sets, both interior and exterior, is impressive and close-ups are sharp. The colours are close to natural although, like Ip Man, the print has been colour manipulated and has a yellow / brown sheen which affects most scenes and some skin tones. Blacks and shadow detail are however fine and except for a bit of aliasing artefacts are absent.

     American English subtitles are in a clear white font. They were error free.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Feature audio options available are English, Cantonese and Mandarin, all Dolby True-HD 5.1, and the same three languages are also available in Dolby Digital 2.0.

     I listened to the Cantonese 5.1 track, and sampled the English dub. In both the dialogue was clear and the surrounds and rears were dynamic with music, ambient effects and, during the fight sequences, crowd noise, impacts, the whoosh of kicks and whatever else comes to hand, such as pallets during the fish market fight. The sub-woofer added depth to impacts as well as the music. The English dub was OK for those who hate subtitles, but lacked the intensity of the Cantonese.

     The score by Kenji Kawai was more generic than the music he delivered for Ip Man, with less traditional instruments and more loud orchestral sections.

     There were minor lip synchronisation issues during the Cantonese dub, but nothing distracting. The lip synchronisation in the English dub is indifferent, as one might expect.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Start-up Trailers

    Trailers for The Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (2:18), The Man From Nowhere (1:46) and Ip Man (1:46) play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

Film Trailers

    Included are:

Making Of (17:37)

     A Chinese featurette with film and on-set footage and interviews in Chinese (subtitled). One drawback is that the speakers are identified only by Chinese characters on the screen; they did however include the director Wilson Yip (Yip Wai-shun), cast member and fight choreographer Sammo Hung, cast members Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Xiong Dai-lin, Fan Sui-wong, Kent Cheng and Huang Xiao-ming. Items covered include the differences between this and the first film, the fights, fight choreography and the director. Well worth a look.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Just like our release of Ip Man, our Region B Blu-ray of Ip Man 2 is identical to the Well Go USA region free Blu-ray feature disc, right down to the FBI piracy warning and Well Go logo. However, again like Ip Man, the US release adds a Region 1 DVD in the package which includes interviews with the director and cast (approx. 70 min), deleted scenes (9:07), a shooting diary (3:05) and four behind the set items (approx. 10 minutes).

Summary

     Ip Man was such a critical and commercial success that of course there had to be a sequel. Ip Man 2 does suffer from the sequel syndrome as it lacks the human touch of the first film and the story was not as interesting but it is still a good martial arts film, with some exhilarating action sequences and Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung in fine form.

     The video is manipulated, the audio good, the extras worthwhile.

     Ip Man 2 has been released before in this country by another distributor (which I own) but it seems no longer to be available. The video of that release is similar, if a touch less yellowish, the audio is only Cantonese DTS-HD MA 5.1 and Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0, it has English and Mandarin subtitles and the teaser trailer, original trailer and image gallery as extras. While the making of on the Madman release is worthwhile, if you own the pervious release an update would only really be worthwhile if you dislike subtitles. However, if you do not own the film and you are a fan of Donnie Yen or Sammo Hung, or enjoy impressive action, this Blu-ray package is worth a look.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, June 17, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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