Starring Donnie Yen, Zhang Jin, Lynn Hung, Patrick Tam, Kent Cheng, Mike Tyson. Directed by Wilson Yip. (2015, 105 min). WELL GO USA
During the past few years of reviewing various Asian action films released by Well Go USA, I've become quite a fan of Donnie Yen (late in the game, I know). Not only is he a tremendous martial artist, he's one of the few in the genre who's also a pretty damned good actor. Both talents are on display in abundance in Ip Man 3, which is likely the last chapter in this internationally popular franchise.
Yen returns as Ip Man (the real life martial artist who trained Bruce Lee), this time compelled to come to the rescue of the small school where his son attends, which is being terrorized by local gangsters at the behest of American real estate tyrant, Frank (Mike Tyson, who isn't actually in the film all that much). Helping out is Cheung, a down-on-his-luck single father who ultimately aspires to be an even greater master than Ip Man in the art of Wing Chun, but forced to participate in fights to earn enough money to start his own martial arts school (and tempted with quick cash by siding with the gangsters). Meanwhile, Ip's wife, Cheung (Lynn Hung), discovers she has stomach cancer, eventually forcing him to re-evaluate what's really important in life.
These three plotlines gel pretty well together, making Ip Man 3 more than your usual chop-fest. While the action is plentiful and masterfully choreographed, the film is also amusing, character-driven and even bittersweet at times (with a couple of truly tear-jerking moments). I was also quite captivated by the look of the film. Taking place in 1959, there are times when it nearly resembles a Hong Kong version of West Side Story. As for Tyson...he's never gonna bring home an Oscar, but he doesn't embarrass himself either. And yes, he and Yen battle each other at one point, each using his own formative fighting skills. However, it's not the epic showdown you might expect (that comes later, and it's a doozy).
While Donnie Yen’s action scenes alone are worth the price of admission, he provides more-than-enough gravitas to make us emotionally invested in the character. If this is truly the last film of the franchise, then it’s ending on a high note. Ip Man 3 is an exciting, fun and ultimately poignant final chapter.
- Interviews with Donnie Yen, Mike Tyson and director Wilson Yip
- Press tour interview with Yen & Tyson
- Making of and Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes
- Original Trailer