Sunday, August 08, 2010

[DVD] Ip Man 2 (葉問2 : 宗師傳奇 / Yip Man 2: Chung Si Chuen Kei) (2010)

Contemplating The Next Film

My initial feel was that Ip Man 2 at best equalled the first film and not surpass it, and while my sentiments remain the same after watching it on DVD, I'd just have to say that the Cantonese version again excelled over the Mandarin one, just because I'm a stickler for things original, and a voice dubber, with all due respect to the occupation, just cannot replicate the original intended emotions and feelings verbally expressed by the actors themselves.

You can read my review of Ip Man 2 here, and of course my review of the first film and the DVD edition of the first film. You can also watch proceedings from the Hong Kong FilmART Press Conference here.

The 2-Disc Special Edition by Universe Digital Entertainment Limited comes Region Free, and I cannot stress enough how pristine the anamorphic widescreen transfer of the feature film is. For audio, you have the choice of either Cantonese DTS-ES 6.1 or the Dolby Digital EX 6.1, or the Mandarin Dolby Digital EX 6.1. The choice to watch this film in is naturally clear, because watching this in the cinemas here in the Mandarin track just doesn't cut it. For subtitles, you can choose between Traditional Chinese or English, and scene selection is available over 15 chapters.

The first disc is not without Special Features, which are all subtitled and presented in letterbox format. Of course with the second disc of features, the ones here are but a teaser of what's waiting for fans curious about the production process and behind the scenes look. There's a slew of trailers here, starting with Ip Man Trailer for the first film (1:16), Ip Man 2 Trailer (2:41) and the Ip Man 2 Teaser (0:52, misspelled as "Teasar" on the menu).

Two video logs are included, which is the Shooting Diary (3:06) for that quick behind the scenes look, and the Gala Premiere (3:01) which serves more like a montage for the Gala's photo call. Rounding off the extras in Disc One is a Photo Gallery consisting of 18 film stills.

Can You Handle This?

Disc Two is the dedicated Special Features Disc, presented in letterbox format with English and Traditional Chinese subtitles for all segments. Spoilers are abound in this disc, so watch the film proper first before embarking on the special features.

The Making of (17:38) contains the usual behind the scenes look at the making of the film, although the approach may be subtly unique in placing the more important elements of the film first, such as the focus on Ip Man's livelihood and family relations, before cast and crew get interviewed about things like the fight choreography. Most of the interviews here are obtained in the next section, which contains extensive interviews with the cast and crew.

Interviews with Director and Cast, like the DVD of the first film, features Wilson Yip (18:49) talking about the inspiration for making the film and his take on individual characters in the sequel, Sammo Hung (6:02) discussing his dual role in the film as action choreographer and actor as Master Hung, and the rest with Donnie Yen (3:40, and at the 3:17 mark is probably where some quarters took offense with Yen when taking his remarks out of context), Huang Xiao Ming (8:00), Xiong Dai Lin (3:13), Simon Yam (3:22), Fan Siu Wong (3:01), Kent Cheng (5:15), To Yue Hong (5:54) who had a bit part in the first film, and played Ip Man in The Legend is Born, Ashton Chen (3:17), Pierre Ngo (3:04), and Darren Shahlavi (3:14) as Twister, all talking about their experience in making Ip Man 2, their characters and that of working with their various co-stars. It's talking heads unfortunately, so you don't get to see any behind the scenes clips.

There are only three Deleted Scenes (9:07) included in this section. The first is SC29A which shows in one continuous take, the Kwun Chung Fish Market operations at night with Sammo's Master Hung collecting dues from stallholders, then flowing directly into his family abode which is within the market, leading to his family dinner scene in the film. SC36 shows Ip Man visiting Quan (Simon Yam) with a takeaway BBQ goose meal, and the conversation between two friends, despite the latter being delirious. And finally, the longest of the deleted scenes belong to SC43 which shows an arena fight between Twister and another Caucasian boxer BuBoBluster, before Master Hung's disciples demonstrating their moves in the same arena ring.

4 Big Scenes deals with the distinct art direction of four (or more) major sets to recreate the look and feel of 50s Hong Kong. The art director explains his inspiration and motivation against a backdrop of behind-the-scenes look at the respective locales, such as The Community (2:55) which consists of the Wushu Institute at a Rooftop, the Small Community around it, and Ip Man's Home, Kwun Chung Fish Market (2:20) which in the script was originally a fruit market, and being created in Shanghai, the Chinese Restaurant for Joss Stick Combat (2:27) which played host to one of the best fight scenes in the film where Donnie Yen's Ip Man and Sammo Hung's Master Hung first duke it out, and the Big and Small Arena (2:19) which looks at the arena created for the fights between the Chinese Grandmasters and Twister.

I'm not sure whether there'll be another Ip Man film, since Donnie Yen has categorically stated he won't be reprising the character, and that director Wilson Yip has mentioned that these two films back to back closes his Ip Man vision. Hopefully, the box office success may translate into another film being made, but in the meantime we'll probably just have to wait out for Wong Kar-wai's version to be released.

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