Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2018

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS)


College of Arts and Sciences


Asia Pacific Studies


This paper explores how foreign antagonists are portrayed and positioned within the Ip Man trilogy directed by Wilson Yip. Typically, protagonists such as Ip Man are the focal point of research, but this paper will examine the historical and contextual use of foreign antagonists such as the invading Japanese, the corrupt and condescending British, and the rapacious American in the Ip Man trilogy and how their portrayals are transmitted transnationally. The examination of these foreign antagonists in relation to the protagonist Ip Man expose themes such as nationalism, national identity, and victimhood to a Chinese diaspora. They also expose a non- western spotlight to be transmitted to audiences who may be accustomed to western centered films and culture.

A film analysis and qualitative discourse when examining the foreign antagonists in the Ip Man trilogy deepens the understanding and exploration into the Hong Kong martial arts film genre that so heavily focuses on protagonists. Examining other Hong Kong martial arts films such as the martial arts films that Bruce Lee had pioneered, and the Once Upon a Time in China quadrilogy directed by Tsui Hark, gives greater context relative to the examination of the Ip Man trilogy. The focus on foreign antagonists in these films allows for the transmission of this genre on a transnational level to be relatable by similarly oppressed or victimized audiences and creates a sense of empowerment within them.