I am consistently fascinated with the legacy Grandmaster Ip Man left behind. Any martial arts master who is worthy enough to warrant three films about his/her life is certainly worthy of my interest. And Ip Man certainly fits this criteria. Many action fans are probably not familiar with him, although they owe him a debt of gratitude. Ip Man was responsible for ushering in some of the greatest names in kung fu cinema, including the legendary Bruce Lee.
As such, I find it only fitting that a modern-day master portray him on film. Donnie Yen, who has played the titular role in two films prior to this one, reprises his role as the iconic Ip Man, and he once again does so with expert ease. IP MAN 3 is an excellent conclusion to this epic trilogy, and it is an excellent film even as a stand-alone.
If you are not familiar with IP MAN 3, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Well Go USA:
Igniting the screen in the role that made him an icon, Donnie Yen (IP MAN 1 & 2, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON 2) returns to the blockbuster martial arts series as Ip Man, the real-life Wing Chun grandmaster who mentored Bruce Lee.
When a ruthless real estate developer (Mike Tyson) and his team of brutal gangsters make a play to take over the city, Master Ip is forced to take a stand against the crooks, thugs, gunmen, and another rival Wing Chun master (Jin Zhang) to protect his students, his city, and his own family.
Fists will fly as some of the most incredible fight scenes ever filmed, choreographed by the legendary Yuen Woo Ping (THE MATRIX, KILL BILL), come to life in this genre classic.
I love everything about this film, and I don’t say that very much when it comes to martial arts movies. Some films have great action but boring plots; some boast interesting concepts but wooden characters; and, still some have cruddy fight scenes but nice scenery. IP MAN 3 has a little bit of everything, including drama, humor, and most importantly, insane martial arts action.
IP MAN 3 is shot well and looks great onscreen. The production value appears high, and the sets and locales are top notch. I had no problem believing I was in 1950s China.
The acting in IP MAN 3 is excellent. As mentioned, Yen gives a powerhouse of a performance as Ip Man. But there’s much more to Yen’s character than fighting. In this film, Ip Man discovers his wife has cancer, and he devotes much of his time to her instead of fighting. We get to see a tender, emotional side to Ip Man, and Yen offers this up with skill and expertise. I was touched at how well Yen delved into the emotional aspect of the role.
But the fighting is sensational as well, thanks in part to Yuen Woo Ping, the mastermind action genius who deserves a biographical film of his own. IP MAN 3 gives the viewer some of the best kung fu action around. One fight scene in particular takes place in an elevator, where Ip Man must battle a Muy Thai fighter, while at the same time protecting his wife. I love the intensity in this scene, and the hardcore action is heart-stopping.
IP MAN 3 is a huge win for me, and I highly recommend it. This tremendous conclusion to the trilogy is a welcome addition, and I cannot wait to see what Yen does next. The film hits store shelves on Tuesday, the 19th, so make a note.