Ip Man 3CultureCinemaMovie reviews
After the acclaim received by Ip Man and Ip Man 2, Wilson Yip’s Ip Man 3 doesn’t disappoint. It is a thrilling festival of fighting, full of punches, kicks and people whacking each other with poles, that doesn’t sacrifice character or narrative in the slightest.
Although it may sound like the most boring superhero movie ever, Ip Man 3 is the last of a series of movies celebrating the kung fu master, Ip Man (the guy who trained Bruce Lee). This is not quite a true story, unless Ip Man (played by Donnie Yen) really did have an epic battle against Mike Tyson in the 50s.
Yes, Mike Tyson plays the villain for some bizarre, inexplicable reason. But his lines are limited, a good thing given his attempts to speak Cantonese, and his fight scene is actually pretty damn good. The showdown between boxing and kung fu strangely works. However, that’s not so surprising given the choreographer, Yuen Woo-Ping (the real hero of the movie), is the mind behind the movement in The Matrix, Kill Bill and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Three stories run throughout, four if you include Bruce Lee convincing Ip Man to accept him as an apprentice, despite it only lasting about two minutes of the film. Ip Man must save a local school from being taken over by Mike Tyson and his gang of thugs, Cheung Tin-chi (Jin Zhang) rises to martial arts master and challenges him, and his wife (Lynn Hung) falls ill. Three very simple narratives that are woven together well. Cheung Tin-chi, the highlight, is a wonderfully flawed character who goes from good to bad and vice versa in a thoroughly human way.
The acting is superb. Mike Tyson may be a little jarring but he works, and Jin Zhang and Donnie Yen are incredible. Lynn Hung brings some much-needed emotion, making the movie more than just a bunch of fighting.
Few martial arts films these days really make the grade, but The Raid franchise and now the entire Ip Man series, rounded off with this fantastic finale, can be added to that short list. The fight scenes are absolutely stunning without being too ridiculous. Ip Man 3 is a great ending to a trilogy that will no doubt become a classic in the eyes of martial arts fans everywhere.
Ip Man 3 is released nationwide on 15th January 2016.
Watch the trailer for Ip Man 3 here: