In the very first fight sequence in Wilson Yip’s Ip Man (2008), the titular hero (played perfectly by Donnie Yen) faces off against a rival. Making the most minimal of gestures, the Wing Chun master Ip Man stands perfectly straight, his spine stiff and unbending, even during the spectacular drubbing he gives his opponent.
In the Ip Man series, Donnie Yen embodies (dare I say it?) Oriental discipline, and I use that term with all the East Asian cultural baggage it implies. He’s the very picture of studied equanimity, and with his hair cropped closely to his skull, and his somber black robes, he’s actually far more reminiscent of a monk — not a Shaolin monk, but you know, the other kind.