Movie Reviews

Review: 'Ip Man 3'

By Dave ChuaMovies - 23 December 2015 9:00 AM

Review: 'Ip Man 3'

Our Rating

3/5 Stars

Has ‘Ip Man’ become Hong Kong's version of ‘Rocky’?

The third installment of the franchise continues to mythologize Ip Man, better known as Bruce Lee's master and one of the founders of the Wing Chun martial arts style.

The first movie was decent, the second movie average while the third lurches deeper into an alternative history. Each installment basically rehashes the formula of the first; Ip Man has to face off against a foreign fighter, while going through some personal struggles. 

WATCH: ‘The Ip Men’

In ‘Ip Man 3’, he has to fight former boxer Mike Tyson. Crime boss Frankie (Tyson) wants the property that a school sits on, and he sends his goons to force the principal to sell.

Unable to get any help from the police, Ip Man and his disciples step in to stop the gang. Aiding Ip Man is a rickshaw puller, Cheong Tin-chi (Jin Zhang), who is also skilled in Wing Chun. 

Ip Man eventually takes the fight to Frankie, but in the meantime, Cheong builds his own Wing Chun school and wants to prove he's a better fighter than Ip Man because... well, that's how he rolls. To add complications, Ip Man's wife, Wing-Sing (Lynn Hung), is tussling with cancer.

‘Ip Man 3’ is pulled in different directions, but when it starts off, it keeps throwing up a whole series of fight scenes. While it's great that there isn't an overreliance on CG, the fight scenes gradually become less impressive and hide a lackluster plot.

The supposed headliner, the actual fight between Ip Man and Frankie, is disappointing, and the fighting styles of the two is utterly at odds with one another. 

Frankie gives Ip Man three minutes, and the fight is rather anti-climatic. The film then focuses on the melodramatic storyline about Ip Man's ailing wife, as well as setting up the fight between Ip Man and Cheong. 

There are plenty of unexplored subplots, such as a budding romance between one of Ip Man's disciples and a schoolteacher and the corruption in the Hong Kong police force.  

Also, Bruce Lee makes an appearance once again, but still doesn't become Ip Man's disciple quite yet, resulting in one of the longest teases in cinematic history.

Yen does get to show off his acting ability, which is passable but never convincing. Jin Zhang, who also acted in Wong Kar Wai's Ip Man film ‘The Grandmaster’ and resembles a Chinese Johnny Depp with his goatee and slick hair, almost steals the show from Yen.

Cheong is a far more interesting character than Ip Man, but director Wilson Yip has Cheung picking up villain duties after Tyson is sent away and the character just becomes a stock figure. 

Overall, ‘Ip Man 3’ is a serviceable sequel, saved by some excellent fight scenes. With Bruce Lee's training still unfinished it seems that we'll see yet another movie for this franchise. Will Ip Man battle Putin or an alien xenomorph in the next installment? 

‘Ip Man 3’ opens 24 December 2015

Movie Photos

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Ip Man 3
  • Ip Man 3

  • Rated
    PG13 /
    Action, Martial Arts
  • Language
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