Ip Man 3 (2015) marks the third collaboration between director Wilson Yip and actor Donnie Yen. The latter reprises the titular role which cemented his position in Chinese martial-arts cinema.
The Plot: Ip Man and his students must face off against gangsters trying to close down a school, in order to seize the property, by any means necessary.
The Good: Usually, a sequel; especially a third part, is inferior to its earlier entries. But Ip Man 3 differs in this aspect by being superior to its predecessors.
Yen gives the paramount performance of his career to end his depiction on a high note. Lynn Hung plays his wife and she does equally mesmerizing work. Mike Tyson’s special appearance is a welcome addition and it adds even more awesomeness in the running time as promised in the trailer. Zhang Jin was another new cast-member who played Ip Man’s rival.
The adrenaline-pumping scenes are the best I’ve seen from Chinese features of this genre. The kung fu sequences look beyond authentic. What surprised me even more was that fighting parts occurred in diverse locations: A shipping yard, an elevator, an office, etc. 1959’s Hong Kong looked picturesque and by adding such impeccable choreography we get a perfect picture. Every battle was unforgettable and it’s just sad to watch this flick end because you just can’t get enough of the action.
What I loved most about Ip Man 3 was the handling of the sub-plots. The overall storyline is semi-predictable yet the short stories within the larger narrative were expertly maneuvered to release a product where quality over quantity was undoubtedly the primary objective of the filmmaker.
Another impressive aspect was the pacing. Even though the emotional parts slow it down at times. The complete duration is swift from start to finish. And no scene looked rushed or added just to fill in time gaps. There is drama but it’s loaded with such romantic realism that the relationship between Yen’s character and his wife is simply beautiful to watch.
The Bad: As mentioned earlier, the venture is a bit foreseeable. But the screenplay makes up for it, by allowing every mini-tale to be fun, and letting time fly in a positive direction.
The Verdict: Ip Man 3 succeeds both Ip Man (2008) and Ip Man 2 (2010) comprehensively. This masterpiece took five years in the making. Yet, the wait was eventually worth it. It’s surely the best martial-arts movie since 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.