Ip Man Goes to Hollywood

Donnie Yen as Ip Man

Grandmaster Ip Man—the man who ushered Wing Chun kung fu out of obscurity, and presided over the instruction of a young Bruce Lee—is the subject of a exciting new Hong Kong biopic. Action star Donnie Yen portrays the petite but powerful Ip in early adulthood, as wealthy playboy and martial arts fanatic.

Thanks to the influence of Ip Man and his disciples, Wing Chun is one of the world’s most widely practiced Chinese martial arts today. Its sparse representation in kung fu cinema might be attributed to its preference for short, straight, and simple movements. The obscure but photogenic style of “drunken boxing”, by contrast, can be found in dozens of movies, comic books and video games.

Yip Man (played by Donnie Yen) accepts a friendly challenge match

My current list of Wing Chun movies worth watching:

  • Ip Man (2008, Donnie Yen)
  • The Prodigal Son (1982, Yuen Biao)
  • Warriors Two (1978, Sammo Hung)

Rumors state that quality footage of the real-life Ip Man still exists, in the private collection of Wing Tsun instructor Leung Ting. He declines to share it.

Update: The USA edition of Ip Man has been officially released to DVD. Ip Man 2 is also currently available on all-region DVD from YesAsia.


  1. If bruce lee was still alive it would have been awsome to see him play his old teacher.

  2. Cobra-Kai,
    Considering all his talk about “classical nonsense” and “organized despair”, do you think Bruce Lee would have been willing to portray Yip Man?

  3. Proberly not but he must have had some respect for his first teacher it is possible that if he were alive today he would play him.

  4. I’ve been waiting for this one to be released for a while now. Donnie Yen always does a great job IMO. This one here looks like it’ll be great too.


  5. For those who like spoilers, here are all the major fight scenes from the movie…

    Northern Fist vs. second-string sifus

    Wing Chun vs. Northern Fist

    Fighting for food

    Ip Man vs. half the Karate dojo

    Bandits attack the cotton factory

    Finale: Ip Man fights the Japanese general

  6. To US theaters? Maybe never. You can already order the DVD from overseas though.

  7. Jag, the current DVD release is all-region. You needn’t wait the standard 6-12 months, for some reprint with English text on the back cover.

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