Donnie Yen reprises his role as Ip Man in the third installment of the martial arts series. This time we find the famous Wing Chun grandmaster settling down in 1959 Hong Kong with his wife and son. An evil, and very well dressed, real estate dealer named Frank (Mike Tyson) wants the land where Ip Man’s son school is located. After Ip interferes with Frank’s henchmen’s plans to harass the schools headmaster, Frank and Ip are destined for a final showdown.
Ip Man 3 has the weakest plot of the trilogy. The plot does its best to interject something besides fight scenes to keep the story balanced, but none of it works so you’re patiently waiting for the next time someone gets kicked through a glass window. Or cracked in the face with a bamboo stick. Or kicked off their feet and sent flying into a wall. Or kicked in the face as Ip Man gracefully skips down the stairs.
What Ip Man delivers is what everyone watches the films for – balls-to-the-wall action. There so many scenes where Ip Man calmly beats the life out of a group of people without putting a wrinkle in his tunic. To be honest, each fight scene is as formulaic as the next, yet they never get old.
It’s not just the bone crushing action that makes the action scenes incredible. A lot of credit goes to the film’s director Wilson Yip. He shot some beautifully choreographed sequences that give the film a style and elegance that doesn’t exists in most martial arts films. I never thought I’d see someone get their collarbone broken with such artistry before.
The fight between Frank and Ip Man is like something out of a video game. I mean that in the best way possible.
Ip Man 3 is for fans of martial arts. There are no real stakes in the film. Even with top notch fight scenes, the film really suffers whenever the story diverts away from the action. The movie is explosive when its explosive, and when it’s not, its really not. The evil real estate mogul angle is a waste of time. The entire scenario is a plot device so Ip Man can throat punch as many people as possible in 105 minutes – I’m kind of ok with that. If you’re a fan of Donnie Yen and always wondered what Mike Tyson fake fighting a martial artist would look like, this movie is right up your alley.