This was not the only kung fu film I saw this weekend, but compared to Kung Fu Panda 3, Ip Man 3 was the real heavy hitter when it came to its action loaded sequences that could mesmerize with pinpoint accuracy and choreography that astounds the viewer. Don’t get me wrong, Kung Fu Panda 3 was good too, but there is something special about Wilson Yip (Ip Man trilogy) as director directing Donnie Yen (Hero, Ip Man trilogy) in a role that pretty much attempts to sum up the life of the brilliant martial artist who spearheaded a fighting style that stretched across borders of China throughout his life and bounded a nation together around it at the same time.
Donnie Yen plays Ip Man, the Kung Fu Grandmaster of Wing Chun most credited for popularizing the kung fu fighting style of Wing Chun and being Bruce Lee’s teacher. But Ip Man is not your typically Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Ip Man is your everyday man, your average Joe. There’s nothing that he enjoys more than spending time with his wife and 7-year-old son.
Jin Zhang (The Grandmaster) plays the anti-hero. The master of one of Ip Man’s son’s friends as well as a master of Wing Chun. He brilliantly plays a character who stretches the definition inner and outer conflict and overall creates a nice zen like contrast between hero and villain.
The Ip Man trilogy does its best to tell the story of Ip Man, who had lived in colonial-ruled Hong Kong for much of his life. The breakout performance goes to Mike Tyson (The Hangover, The Hangover II), who appears as the antagonist “foreign devil”. It was intriguing to see an expertly choreographed spar between a heavyweight boxer and a kung fu master, and Ip Man versus a hypothetical physically-peaked Mike Tyson, nothing could pique my intrigue more.
The Ip Man trilogy goes far beyond your regular kung fu antics and Asian-film style. And there’s no doubt that it has made a name for itself among the Netflix audience. It caters itself to the three core genres it has inevitably landed itself in, foreign, fighting, and historical (to the extent of bordering legendary) and all the while it is attracting big names in both Hollywood and in China. There are plenty of cameos to go around, as the movie employs scenes featuring large crowds and multiple participants. Even in the slower scenes that focus on emotion and character depth, the scene just constantly feels filled with substance and excitement.
The fight sequences are going to leave you drooling. And a little bit of a spoiler: American boxing isn’t the only match up against Ip Man’s Wing Chun. Be prepared for a wide array of a fighting styles delivered in large heaps within each scene. Check out the official trailer of Ip Man 3 below and look for it on Netflix sometime later this year. But why wait that long? Find it in a theater near you and see it on the big screen!