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Can the most currently popular martial arts series survive without Donnie Yen, the most popular action star in Asia? Absolutely.
After Yen decided to leave the series after the first two films about the real-life master Ip Man (1893-1972), who popularized the Wing Chun style of martial arts and famously taught Bruce Lee, producers rebooted to give us the early years.
"Ip Man: The Legend Is Born" stars a young, charismatic Yen look-alike (Yu-Hang To), features a great cameo by the real Ip Man's 86-year-old son, Ip Chun (he's Ip Man's teacher after-hours during his Western-style Hong Kong schooling) and a fetching heroine (Huang Yi).
It's a solid, old-school martial arts film that's irresistibly entertaining.— G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Gate
Sun January 29, 2012, 7:00 only, Muenzinger Auditorium
Hong Kong, 100 min, 35mm, 2010, in Cantonese, 2.35:1, Color, Not Rated • official site