Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Hero's Journey: Archetypes: Film Review - Ip Man (2008)

Fig 1

Wilson Yips film “Ip Man” (2008) depicts the life of Wing Chun master Ip Man – the mentor of Bruce Lee. The martial arts feature is flowing with action, plot twists and many important characters. Taking place in Foshan of China, it portrays the lavish life Ip Man, his family and friends live until the Japanese invade, thus everyone is over powered by them, loses their houses and their peaceful life. 

The hero of this film is Ip Man himself – he fights against the aggressive Northern martial artist who challenges the martial art club masters, and defeats them (before the Japanese invade), and also battles head on with the Japanese general who is pulling the strings. Ip Man is shown to be a quiet and conservative man, however as the film progresses, the audience can see the sheer skill in his Kung Fu. He is also forced right out of his comfort zone after the introduction of the Japanese, and must fend for himself and his family, taking whatever work he can. 

Fig 2

The herald is Chow Ching-chuen– a businessman plus close and elder friend of Ip Man. Early in the film, he advises Ip Man about how money needs to be made and that he shouldn’t relax too much. He also warns the protagonist of the Northern martial artists that are causing havoc in the town, and is later attacked by the Japanese and left helpless, as Ip Man watches on. Chow Ching-chuen can also be regarded as the mentor to Ip Man, yet Ip Man is also a mentor in his own right, as people often come to him wanted to learn martial arts from him, and his gives advice to his friends. 

Fig 3

The Shadow is initially the Northern tribe members who arrive in the town and cause havoc and beat the martial arts masters – however the shadow then turns darker as the Japanese invade and ration the towns food, supplies, and makes them poor. General Miura and his henchman are shown to be terribly intimidating and hold nothing back to punish the townspeople. Miura holds fights in a warehouse so that the Chinese can fight for just a bag of rice, and when Ip Man arrives, he is angered to learn two of his friends (Master Liu and were beaten and shot to death in the matches.  

The trickster of this story is police inspector Li Chui – an acquaintance of Ip Man. He becomes a translator for Miura and arrives in the town to recruit people to fight, and he does not tell Ip Man of Master Liu and Master Lam’s deaths. 

Fig 4

The allies are all of Ip Mans friends and family as well as the townspeople who respect him. In the first part of the film, his life is in a very good place; he spends time with his wife and son, socialises with his friends and is respected by the townspeople. 

The is no dominant father figure, other than Ip Man himself as he has a son, and the mother is his wife, and the child is their son. The son is also Chow Kong-yiu, the son of businessman Chow Ching-chuen, as well as Yuan, the second son of a restaurant owner who makes a recurring appearance.
The maiden of the story is Ip man’s wife, shown as a pure and regal person.

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