Thursday, February 4, 2016

Movie Review: Ip Man 3 (2015)

Waiting to See Ip Man 3
I just returned from seeing Ip Man 3. I had prepared for this movie by seeing the two previous films, reviewed here and here. In several ways this movie was very different from the earlier editions, so I have mixed feelings about it.

I need to include some spoilers in order to explain my feelings about the film. You may want to see the movie before reading any further!

Donnie Yen was awesome, as usual. He showed more acting range, due to some very heavy material in the storyline. These poignant scenes were some of my favorite aspects of the movie. I was really impressed by the fighting he was able to perform at age 51. He is an inspiration to those of us over 40.

"Ip Man 3" continued the trend of cross-style fighting, with combat between Wing Chun and a "Thai fighter," a western boxer (guess who), and a top Wing Chun artist! These three fights were my favorites in the film. I particularly enjoyed the staging and context for the Thai fight.

The movie also included more of the martial arts vs family tension seen in previous films, except it took an added dimension in this edition. I very much enjoyed expanding upon these elements of the Ip Man family. I also liked Master Ip's evolving relationship with Cheung Tin-chi.

On the down side, the movie included several mass combat scenes which did not appeal to me. I wish the editors had cut the entire sequence which put Master Ip's son in physical danger. That was over the top in my opinion and seemed out of character with the series.

Along with the mass fights, it was clear that Sammo Hung was no longer the fight choreographer.  Yuen Woo-ping's work was bright in some areas, but not as inspired in others.

Finally, I expected to see more of Bruce Lee! He basically had a cameo at the beginning, and nothing more.

Overall, I might place the first and second movies in a virtual tie, with the third movie coming in second. What did you think of Ip Man 3?

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