The fanboys and girls won't notice such failings amid the displays of wing chun kung fu--the extras and body doubles do some truly impressive acrobatics--and those with a taste for big historical tearjerkers will be happy as well.
Mike Hale - New York Times
Legend trumps fact in Ip Man, a kickass fictionalized biopic of the titular grandmaster of Wing Chun martial arts and mentor to Bruce Lee.
Nick Schager - Village Voice
If you're looking for great action scenes, you've found them. But if you desire more than eye candy, such as character and plot development and historical accuracy, you'll have to look elsewhere.
V.A. Musetto - New York Post
Wilson Yip has crafted a gripping, rousing, beautifully structured yarn, built around a calm but charismatic star performance by Donnie Yen and magnificent action sequences choreographed by the legendary Sammo Hung.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
A period piece filmed on obvious but eye-pleasing studio sets with wall-to-wall kung fu and a simplistic, philosophical message.
G. Allen Johnson - San Francisco Chronicle
An explosive exercise in bare-knuckled myth-biography.
Joseph Jon Lanthier - Slant Magazine
It remains an inexplicable, contextless bit of kung fu historicosploitation -- albeit a very satisfying one.
Simon Abrams - New York Press
Not only is it one of the most entertaining and exciting movies out of Hong Kong for many years; Ip Man is a bona fide martial arts classic.
Diva Velez - TheDivaReview.com
A dazzling, exhilarating, refreshingly character-driven and thoroughly captivating experience that must be seen on the big screen. It's unlike any martial arts film you've seen before.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
First-rate martial-arts film about Bruce Lee's real-life teacher.
Daniel Eagan - Film Journal International
As an exaggerated, myth-making martial-arts movie, Ip Man is often thrilling.
Noel Murray - AV Club
Yen's handful of duels do delight; it's everything surrounding them that feels tired and trite.
David Fear - Time Out
The astonishing fight scenes are some of the most exciting ever filmed in a martial arts movie that raises the bar for the genre. For any martial arts fan, "Ip Man" is mandatory viewing.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
It's all quite conventional... and nonetheless rousing.
Sean Axmaker - Seanax.com
The movie is clearly hagiographic, but this aspect and its general function as a martial arts movie are supported greatly by Yen.
Jeffrey Chen - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
First and foremost, Ip Man is an excuse for Yen to demonstrate his newfound mastery of the Wing Chun style. On that front, the film succeeds brilliantly.
Jeremy Heilman - MovieMartyr.com
The action is enthralling even if the storyline doesn't always have the ring of truth about it.
Dan Jolin - Empire Magazine
Yip's film benefits from crisp cinematography and an engaging 'Seven Samurai'-style storyline, but it's Sammo Hung's superbly choreographed kick-ass fight scenes that dazzle.
Derek Adams - Time Out
Ip Man is a highly competent, even slick biopic, but by reshaping its protagonist's life story towards cinematic convention, it ends up being just another martial arts movie.
Anton Bitel - Film4
There's a pleasingly old-fashioned air to all the flying drop-kicks and straight-finger jabs, even if it lacks the cinematic agility we have now come to expect from this kind of thing.
The film's hagiographical simplicity makes the Rocky movies look profound, but this is still a spirited tale with excellent martial-arts scenes.
Edward Porter - Sunday Times (UK)
A respectful biopic designed to pay cinematic homage to one of the great kung-fu masters and spread the word about the man.
Rob Daniel - Sky Movies
Man's extraordinary biography makes for an awkward, inauthentic-feeling biopic.
Matt Glasby - Total Film
An enthralling, and at times moving, tale, told by Hong Kong action director Wilson Yip with considerable theatrical flourish.
Keith Stuart - Filmstar Magazine
A terrific true story, clearly elevated to mythical proportions, this film benefits hugely from the lucid fight direction by the master Sammo Hung, which gives the film a remarkable resonance.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall