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Donnie Yen set for 'Ip Man' sequel

Martial arts film to be released April 29 in Hong Kong, China

HONG KONG -- Donnie Yen fights Western powers in "Ip Man 2," the sequel to the 200 million yuan ($29.3 million) grossing 2008 Chinese hit, the films' producer Raymond Wong told The Hollywood Reporter.

Scheduled for release April 29 in Hong Kong and China, the $10 million sequel on the martial arts master will hold a press conference Monday at Filmart.

"Ip Man 2" marks the last film Wong will produce for Mandarin Films, the company he founded in 1991. He resigned from the position of chairman in 2009 and remains as a director and shareholder.

The next films he produces will be under Pegasus Motion Pictures, the production outfit he set up with son Edmond. Upcoming will be an untitled action drama starring Louis Koo, who has signed with Pegasus, a HK$60 million seven-picture deal including the recent comedy "All's Well Ends Well Too 2010," and a project with longtime collaborator Donnie Yen.

"Ip Man 2," helmed by the original's director Wilson Yip, written by Edmond Wong and featured action choreography by Sammo Hung, follows the story of the original blockbuster biopic and details the renowned Wing Chun expert's life after he relocated to Hong Kong from Southern China and his struggle to survive in the then-British colony by teaching martial arts.

"The film deals with how Hong Kong people were treated under British colonial rule, and Western attitudes concerning Chinese kung fu," Wong said. "In the first 'Ip Man,' Donnie Yen fought Japanese invaders; in this installment, he fights boxing Westerners with Wing Chun."

Wong intended for the premise to appeal to the audience in China, where nationalistic sentiments run high.

 

"The Chinese audience responded enthusiastically to the depiction of the traditional culture of martial arts in the original, and they appreciated the fact that the film was more than just a kung fu actioner, but also a drama with a nationalistic undertone, as in the portrayal of the Chinese resistance against Japanese invasion," Wong said. The title character also fights opposite Sammo Hung, who plays a grand master of Hung Kuen, a traditional discipline of martial arts.

But before the series turns into the "Rocky" of China, where the title character faced opponents of different nationalities in consecutive installments, producer Wong said they would give him a rest, especially in light of the competing Ip Man projects, such as Wong Kar-wai's "The Grand Master" under his own Jet Tone and China's Sil-Metropole, and the Herman Yau-directed prequel "Young Ip Man" for National Arts Entertainment.