Ip Man 3 the movie is going to set records all over the world as a very watchable movie. Movie making has taken a paradigm shift, from the funny slapstick cartoon like fighting sequences of the past to more stylish and gravity defying stunt done at great speed, and appearing very realistic. The choreography of fighting scenes is like watching fighting men moving with the grace of dancers. This generation of movie making has made the movies of the past looked so amaturish. They are really very enjoyable to watch.
The themes and plots are fairly standard and familiar. But fans of kungfu movies did not pay just for the plots, though they made the movies more watchable. They went for the actions. Many also went to see Ip Man and his brand of fighting skills against his opponents, seeing the triumph of a skilled kungfu exponent taking on fearsome opponents and won. Good for the adrenaline and comforting for the soul.
There is another important aspect that many missed, the big picture. Ip Man’s movies were scripted in a period when
was the Sick Man of Asia
and Hongkong 1959 was a British colony. The island was ruled by foreigners and
the local elites were shameless, powerless, greedy and selfish individuals that
only cared for their own good. They did not mind the foreigners taking over the
govt, taking over the businesses and industries, bullying the helpless and poor
country men, kicking them around, as long as they, the elite, could lead a good
The foreigners were everywhere and calling the shot. Jobs were few for the locals and getting a job from the foreigners was a big thing, even being discriminated, being bullied and underpaid, and having to please the foreigners and enduring their abuses. The masses were poor, hungry and angry, but could not do a thing. They could not depend on the local elites that were in cahoot with the foreigners to exploit them. They could only hope for an Ip Man to stand up and fight for them. And they screamed for their hero. But the victory was empty. The system, with the foreigners in charge and calling the shot, and the locals as the disenfranchised people, with little rights, with no help coming from the elites, was the order of the day.
They did not know the island was lost. They were conquered and ruled by foreigners and depending on the mercy and charity of the foreigners. The parasitic local elites were more interested in enriching themselves, country or no country never mind. Life was good for them and their families. The masses could be left to be bullied by the foreigners, beaten by the foreigners, the elites would turn a blind eye. The elites were also fearful of the foreigners as the foreigners were in control, in charge of the country.
The historical context of the Ip Man movies was a lost people, lost country, a people with no dignity, no will to fight for themselves, no pride, no money, no jobs, but waiting helplessly for things to happen, waiting for more Ip Mans to stand up to fight for them.
When a country turned into a Sick Man of Asia, that would be the fate of the people. They lost everything, their country, their jobs, their self respect, their dignity, their right to live as normal citizens of a country. They did not know how to fight back, to regain their rights in their country, to retake their country from the foreigners and the corrupt elites. The elites were were the real enemies of the people, not the leaders of the country.
Ip Man was just a flash of hope but would not change anything. The people need to rise together, to throw out the corrupt elites and the foreigners. It took several revolutions, millions of death, and a lot of pain and suffering, to retake
from the corrupt regimes
and the foreigners and later the return of Hongkong. China
Look beyond Ip Man in the movie. There is a very important lesson in nation building to be learnt. It is not the fighting skills of
It is not one man to
change the world. It is the helplessness of a people that had lost their
country to foreigners. Ip Man.