As Ip Man 2 is wrapping up soon, the press was finally granted visit to the set in Songjiang Studio, Shanghai on October 28, when the gripping duel between two of the best martial arts stars Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen was being filmed.
Sammo Hung’s Professionalism
Sammo Hung declines interview and Wilson Yip speaks on his behalf. He says that when production just began, Sammo Hung just underwent a heart surgery. He would often hold his chest tight, as he was in pain. This went on for at least a month.
Wilson Yip continues, “So, taking his health into account, we tried to shoot drama scenes first. In addition, we’d shoot action scenes in which he worked behind the camera first, pushing any action scenes involving him as an actor to the back. However, being both the martial arts choreographer and the actor, Sammo Hung’s workload was still very heavy. Over the two, three months of filming, you cannot help but admire Sammo Hung’s attitude and perseverance. He’s always so full of zest when filming.”
More Family Life
“Family drama is taking the centre stage in Ip Man 2, lending a more artistic touch.” elaborates Wilson Yip. “For instance, Ip Man’s wife would quarrel with him over how much to charge his disciples for their lessons, or such caring aspect as Ip Man massaging his conceived wife’s feet. I hope the audience will pay attention to not just the action, but the drama too.”
Donnie Yen says that these little incidents remind him of the affections of his family. At home, it’s his wife who rules the roost. He adds that he is focusing more on the drama that he is spends time fathoming the best approach, “I believe everyone won’t have any doubts about the martial arts scenes, our martial arts director big brother Sammo Hung’s choreography is a guarantee.”
Wilson Yip also adds that Huang Xiao Ming will surprise everyone, “Huang Xiao Ming may not be a martial artist, but he specially ordered a wooden dummy, and trained daily at home. In the end, he is doing the action scenes better than Hiroyuki Ikeuchi in the first film. He is looking especially cool now after I told him not to strut and pose before the camera.”
When Would Bruce Lee Show Up?
However, Wilson Yip is less certain about Bruce Lee scenes, “When filming the first instalment, I was already being asked about Bruce Lee, though eventually, we didn’t have him. In this sequel, we looked for a suitable candidate, and have completed his scenes. However, in the current 2.5 hours cut, I still have little inkling of which part of the film to put his scenes, and for how long.”
Donnie Yen Not Keen on Ip Man 3
While there is an intention to shoot the third instalment as a conclusion to the film saga, Donnie Yen is having his misgivings, “Because Ip Man 2 will incontrovertibly become a classic, bettering the first. I believe it’s best to end something when it’s at perfection, and leave behind a good memory.
“A successful film is a successful commercial product, once it has reached a certain position, I’d rather let it be a classic forever, as opposed to taking the risk to attempt outdoing it yet again. It would be very difficult to do the third instalment. Perhaps, after a few years, when the director finds a new angle, we could talk about it later.”
Still Donnie Yen doesn’t dismiss the idea of teaming up with Wilson Yip again, but it could be something else, rather than Ip Man 3.
Donnie Yen also denies that he’s retiring anytime soon, he is doing Legend of Chen Zhen in mid November and has 2 more films in works next year, while 14 Blades 2 and Ip Man 3 are also being planned, “Every film I do is an actioner, so after doing it, I feel extremely worn out, and at that time, I would often think of having an early retirement. But, after a bit of rest, I’d be raring to receive the next challenge, so, I would still be around for a while.”
The Ultimate Duel
No longer able to put up with Sammo Hung’s well-decorated Hung Gar master Hung Jan Nam who has been riding roughshod over them, Donnie Yen’s Ip Man storms Hung Jan Nam’s Society of National Martial Arts to do let his hands do the talking. Ip Man accuses Hung Jan Nam of working for the British colonial government, and taking their money.
Hung Jan Nam argues that it’s he who has been facilitating communications with the British, and helps safeguard the interests of the various martial arts clubs in Hong Kong. And thus, the most anticipated battle between Hung Gar and Wing Chun commences. However, Hung Jan Nam is not totally irredeemable, and Ip Man will eventually have to face the British and their (hired?) fighter(s).
Wilson Yip introduces, “For the sake of this scene, Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen have been planning it for a very long time, I believe it will become a classic, surpassing the first Ip Man film as well as SPL. As the duel takes place on such a small area (a round table), there will be an emphasis on the adroitness, and will be very thrilling.
Donnie Yen explains that his battle with Sammo Hung is not limited to just this scene. For example, in one scene, the other martial arts masters lay a condition stating that Ip Man has to defeat everyone before the joss stick burns out. While Donnie Yen describes this as “merely acting according to the script”, genre fans will no doubt be in for a treat.
Ip Man 2 is set for release next summer. Sina, Beijing Star Daily