Monday, July 11, 2011

Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster

Perhaps it's cheating having Netflix and some time to myself because I was able to watch the second movie, Ip Man 2. If you enjoy boxing movies, this one is right up your alley. See, while the first one cast those vile Japanese as the ultimate villains, when they are overcome and Ip Man has moved to Hong Kong, who's the foreign devil now? Why, the British of course!

In terms of casting a nemesis, there are a few ways to do it. Some of the most common involve creating someone who is equal to the character, built along similar lines as the character. For Ip Man, this often means fighting martial artist who are masters of their trade and craft. They may dress similar, may have similar builds and may have their own outlooks and attitudes that aren't that different from the main character.

In others, they go the exact opposite. For example, Superman, the alien, the man from tomorrow, the individual with incredible innate powers, has a normal human as his main enemy; Lex Luthor. While its obviously more complicated then that, as Lex uses high tech equipment and henchmen and other bits to make himself Superman's physical equal, the idea, that the native born, Earth first, Lex Luthor, could ever stand up to someone like Superman, is where the contrast comes in.

In a similar manner, when Twister, the world champion British Boxer is introduced here, he is an excellent study in contrast. The actor sports a massive build, impressive height, and a wild mane of hair. His outfit, that of the traditional boxer, showcases this musculature, while Ip Man and other martial artist, often wear lose fitting garb. There might also be an age difference going on here, but it's difficult for me to say. I mention this because Ip Man mentions his age as a factor in the decline of martial abilities.

In making foes for the characters, try to keep the differences, as well as the potential similarities in mind. The drow against the elves, the derro against the dwarves, the tielflings and the devas. The lists go on and on.

Another thing that struck me, was the quick use of rivals turned allies here. The first master to perhaps be able to challenge Ip Man, Hung Chun-nam, uses a different style but the two come together when they realize that their own differences are petty when compared to the threat against all Chinese Martial Arts from the British.

Does that sound familiar? How about Rocky IV? How about most of the heroes of Dragonball Z, who originally started off as enemies of Goku ranging from Vegeta to Piccolo to Yamcha to Tien Shinhan.

In role playing games though, this can be a difficult feat not because its not something to look into, but rather, because unless you're playing something like a martial arts tournament, or something like a Super Hero setting, most fantasy combats don't stop until the death of one character or the other. This is another problem when trying to have recurring characters that are meant to challenge the players outside of the realm of politics and the social arena.

Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster is well worth a viewing for those who enjoy the fight scenes.