Monday, July 18, 2016

Film Review: Ip Man 3 (2015)

Ip Man 3 (Review)
China/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"If you're simply looking for more Donnie Yen/Ip Man action, you'll love this."

Ip Man (Donnie Yen), his wife, and his youngest son continue to live a peaceful life in Hong Kong until a foreigner arrives with a few plans and some violent methods.

Ip Man 3 is more of the same from the series. So, of course, the film follows Ip Man. His son's school runs into trouble when a foreigner, Frank (Mike Tyson), tries to take over the property. The principal refuses to sell the school, so Frank commands his underlings to take it by any means necessary. Being the neighborhood hero he is, Ip Man decides to lend a helping hand. The story also follows Cheung Tin-chi (Zhang Jin), a rickshaw puller looking to start his own martial arts school. Since it essentially tries to balance two stories, the plot can be a bit underwhelming. There are some things that are very effective, then there are those elements that feel sloppy. It leads to a great final fight, though, and a good ending.

Like I said, though, Ip Man 3 is more of the same. The plot still has the overwhelming 'all foreigners are evil and corrupt' and the 'Chinese people are only corrupted by foreigners' vibe. It's not the biggest flaw in the film, but it is rather blatant. Due to balancing two stories in about 100 minutes, the plot also feels a bit underwhelming. The climax to Frank's story is great and all, but it just doesn't feel like it was actually complete. The same goes for Cheung's story. Again, the flaws don't spoil the film, but they're there. Otherwise, Ip Man works incredibly well as an action film. It has variety in the fighting styles, it has suspense, and it has consistency. Sure, I wish the stories were more honed, but the action never failed to entertain. On top of that, there was a stronger emotional element to the film, especially towards the end. In turn, the drama helped amplify the action and vice versa.

Again, Donnie Yen is great as Ip Man. His calm demeanor is effective, his delivery is good, and his martial arts skills are exemplary. He was born for the role. Lynn Hung, who plays Ip Man's wife, is also great. Mike Tyson's delivery isn't spectacular, but he does well-enough for his scenes. Besides, he's only in a few scenes. (I wish we could have seen a few more fights with him.) The cinematography is great and the music matches the tone of the film. The film is written by Edmong Wong, Chai Tai-lee, and Jil Leung, and directed by Wilson Yip. The writing could have used some work, especially in terms of character and balance. It feels like this would have been a more thorough experience if it were longer. It can often feels slapdash and hurried. Wilson Yip knows how to craft fast, exciting, and suspenseful action scenes. He can also create great drama. I look forward to seeing more from him.

Overall, Ip Man 3 is a great film. I loved parts of the plot, I had mixed feelings about certain scenes, and I often found myself wishing for more details. In the action department, however, the film never fails to entertain. If you're simply looking for more Donnie Yen/Ip Man action, you'll love this. If you were hoping for a grand epic for the finale of the trilogy, you might leave slightly disappointed – only slightly, though. Definitely worth watching, but make sure you watch the first two if you haven't already.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

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