The tremendous success of Ip Man
gave birth to a lucrative kung fu franchise. In the first half of 2010, the highly anticipated sequel Ip Man 2
was released back to back with The Legend is Born: Ip Man
, a compelling new chapter that deals with the younger-day exploits of the Wing Chun grandmaster. Versatile Hong Kong director Herman Yau takes the helm of the prequel while some of the original cast members come back in new roles. The legendary Sammo Hung returns along with action star Fan Siu Wong and To Yue Hong, the youngest martial arts world champion Hong Kong has ever produced. Playing minor parts in the original films, To is asked to take over as the young Ip Man here. Yuen Biao, Huang Yi, Bernice Liu, Rose Chan, Xu Jiao, and Lam Suet are among the new cast members, but the film's most surprising performance probably belongs to the 86-year-old screen novice Ip Chun, the real-life Ip Man's son who curiously plays the master of his father!
In his childhood, Ip Man was initiated into Wing Chun under the tutelage of Master Chan Wah Shun (Sammo Hung). After Chan's death, Ip Man follows senior schoolmate Ng Chung So (Yuen Biao) as his new mentor alongside his brother Ip Tin Chi (Fan Siu Wong) and good friend Lee Mei Wai (Rose Chan). Later, the teenage Ip Man (To Yue Hong) opts to leave Foshan to pursue education in Hong Kong, where he meets his third teacher Leung Bik (Ip Chun), a master of an unorthodox school of Wing Chun. When he comes back to Foshan, Ip Man falls in love with the mayor's daughter, his future wife Cheung Wing Shing (Huang Yi). Meanwhile, Ip Man is confronted by Ng Chung So and faced with the dilemma of whether to follow through with his training under Leung Bik. And, unbeknownst to everyone, Tin Chi seems to harbor a secret that threatens to put the whole nation in jeopardy...