10:13 - 25th July 2016, by NEO Staff

Ip Man 3

The latest and perhaps last entry in the iconic series, Ip Man 3 sees Donnie Yen’s eponymous Wing Chun master settled into a life of relative tranquillity in 1950s Hong Kong, only to be dragged into battle when a ruthless property tycoon (Mike Tyson) tries to close a local school.

If that all sounds more low-key than expected, well, that’s because it is. Compared to the stirring patriotism and high-stakes sparring of the first two instalments, the narrow scale of Ip’s struggles here makes it feel strangely unworthy of him by comparison.

Tyson’s endless supply of ne’er-do-wells provides plenty of easy fodder for Ip and his band of merry men, whose effortless takedowns of hordes of attackers are nonetheless still entertaining. What makes Ip Man 3 feel fresh, however, is the way it brings Ip’s personal life into greater focus. Torn between his love for his long-suffering wife, played beautifully by Lynn Hung, and his responsibilities to his students and his community, his character is finally shown as a man, and not just a legend. It’s a refreshing change from the idolatry plaguing his earlier incarnations.

Emotions aside, it’s Yen’s showdown with Tyson that really demands to be seen. Tyson’s intimidating physicality is in stark contrast to Yen’s slight frame and in the clash of boxing power and Wing Chun speed, the chips suddenly don’t seem stacked in our hero’s favour. It’s nail-biting stuff.

While it lacks the heart-racing snap and crackle of its predecessors, Ip Man 3 is still an enjoyable final bow.
SCORE: 3.5/5
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