Young Ip Man: Crisis Time

少年叶问之危机时刻 | Young Ip Man
 •  , ,  •   • Dir.

Reviewed by   |  Jun 20, 2023

Director Li Liming and action co-ordinator Sun Fei reteam for another round of Ip-sploitation with this fast and furious cash in on the ever-popular hero come movie franchise star.

Following their ‘Ip Man: Kung Fu Master’, ‘Crisis Time’ looks at the younger life of Ip (Zhao Wenhao), freshly arrived in Hong Kong and attending college. No sooner has he and his classmates arrived at the college for their English-Speaking Competition (!), than the school is taken hostage by an evil and recently escaped from prison gang leader (Mu Feng-bin), and his squad of goons. Realizing early on the leader is his old mentor, Ip Man takes a stand against his old teacher and vows to take the school back and save his colleagues.

While there are a few twists along the way and various members of the criminal gang reconsider their allegiance to their evil leader, that is pretty much ‘Crisis Time’ in a nutshell: young Ip Man takes out a squad of terrorists who have taken over his school. This is by no means a biographical look or deep dive into the young Ip’s life but another action quickie cash in off the back of the success of the Donnie Yen/Wilson Yip blockbuster ‘Ip Man’ franchise. Scraping to the 80-minute mark, proceedings propel along slickly (despite the low budget) bouncing between scenes of melodrama and furious fight action, with rarely a break for character development.

Fortunately, proceedings veer more towards the fight action side of things, meaning ‘Crisis Time’ is stuffed with a surfeit of satisfying fight set-pieces. From the opening (and impressive) prison break to the various scuffles Ip finds himself in, the makers pack in as much crunchy and punchy choreography as they can. The action is not always the most finessed but certainly decent and Zhao Wenhao impresses in his multiple fight scenes. He doesn’t always carry the drama so well but thankfully spends most of his time fighting bad dudes with various weapons (crossbows, swirling chain with a knife attached, and even some retro gunplay – cool!). Mu Feng-bin is good value as the once good but now over-the-top villain (complete with ridiculous bad guy hair and a cliched love of classical music!), adding to the B-movie exploitation silliness.

Nothing more than another quick ‘Ip Man’ cash in made for streaming, ‘Crisis Time’ is thankfully a little more coherent and features better fight action than the aforementioned ‘Kung Fu Master’ and if you’re in the need of a quick fight action or ‘Ip Man’ related hit, then this breezy B-movie fits the bill.

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