Welcome to Ip Man Week: Day 3. Today, I review Ip Man 3, which is the most recent film in the Ip Man franchise, but he also shows up in a few more movies, two of which, I will be reviewing Thursday and Friday. This time, however, is marked with the third and planned final film in the series…that being said, there is news of a fourth film coming as well, so we’ll see about that. We’ll see how well a planned series finale works with Mike Tyson as one of the main villains.
The year is 1959, where Ip Man lives in Hong Kong with his wife and his younger son. Trouble arises when a corrupt property developer and his thugs terrorize the school where Ip Man’s son goes to. Ip Man and his disciples have to help the police guard the school day and night. On the other hand, Ip Man has to deal with his wife’s terminal sickness, and at the same time faces a challenge from another Wing Chun fighter who ambitiously seeks to claim the Wing Chun Grandmaster title. – IMDb
While I do consider Ip Man 3 to be wildly better than the second film, I do think it got a little over ambitious. One plotline is good, a plot and a subplot is usually best. Three plots is overstaying its welcome. To be fair, they gave every story adequate screen time to develop and flourish, which I am thankful for, but no amount of flourishing can save it from the fact that there is ultimately 3 stories going on at once…almost 4, depending on how you look at it. Sure, Mike Tyson is a mob boss that controls the gang that’s evident in most of the first half, but you see, it goes from the gang to Mike Tyson, to Ip Man’s wife’s troubles, to another Wing Chun master that wants fame…suddenly, it feels like a bit too much is going on at once.
The fact that they gave each story adequate time doesn’t fix anything, but it does help the film’s comprehension, and the fighting, in general, was much better than the second film as well, so that usually helps in general as well. At least for me. So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and break Ip Man 3 down.
PEOPLE SCORE – 10/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 2|Casting – 2|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 2
Alright, so how was the people category this time? I’m pretty positive that the focus on the acting has gone up each and every time, because this was probably the best actual acting I’ve seen out of the series, and the fighting just helps that. Again, the characters are all pretty memorable. I can’t always remember their names, but I do recognize them by just watching it. No one else could have played these characters. No, not even Mike Tyson – this is one of the best roles I’ve seen him in…honestly. As far as I could tell, everyone seemed to have an important role to play in the direction of the film, and everyone worked well together, especially Ip Man and his wife.
WRITING SCORE – 8/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 1|Story – 1|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2
The writing score was also pretty decent. Like I said, there were slightly too many storylines going on at once, so it wasn’t super balanced. There isn’t too much to the story this time, as the beginning had him protecting children, which was perfect, but the last half was mostly just…fights. There’s more to it than that, but no much. The dialogue was good, even if it was hilarious to hear Mike Tyson speak Chinese. I do consider this one original since I feel like they added just enough new elements to make it original, and as always, it is interesting.
BTS SCORE – 10/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 2|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 2|Music – 2
Behind-the-scenes got a perfect score, as well. This is one of the most visually stunning films in the franchise; I guess they got enough money. The directing and editing are both really well done, as usual in this series. The advertisement was exactly as advertised, and I feel like the choices for the score were better than the second film…maybe not as good as the first movie, but it’s close.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 7/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 1|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 1|Falling Action – 1
The narrative arc score could’ve been a little better. The reason I say that is because the inciting incident isn’t as clear as it should’ve been. I would say when the gang shows up at the school, but the gang keeps showing up throughout the movie and never once is it really a “never going back” moment for Ip Man. The introduction reminded us once again how we got to this point and what’s going on in Ip Man’s life. The obstacles were ultimately the different fights. The climax was a couple of different things, so it wasn’t as effective as it maybe should have been, and the falling action was just okay.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 7/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 1|Impusle/Talk – 0|Sucks Audience IN – 2
Okay, so how entertaining was it? I’d say it was decently entertaining. I’d definitely rewatch it, I had a great time watching it and I definitely got engrossed while watching, but this time, I’m not sure I’d buy it. I wouldn’t mind owning it, but It’d have to be cheap for me to buy it, and I really don’t have a single urge in my body to talk about it, which means it wasn’t as mind-blowing as the first one.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 50/50
Sequel – 10|Martial Arts – 10|Donnie Yen – 10|Mike Tyson – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
As for the specialty questions that I wrote before seeing the film, how does this work as a sequel? Perfectly. It feels like it fits in the universe, they added something new, it all works for me. How was the fighting in this? Very eye candy-ish. These were some of the best-looking fight sequences I’ve ever seen. How was Donnie Yen? In four words, he did it again. The real thing I was wondering about was…does Mike Tyson even fit in this franchise? I was really worried about this character. Ultimately, he’s a kingpin and he does play the role rather well. I initially thought Ip Man vs. Mike Tyson sounds as bad as Mel Gibson vs. Jet Li, but Tyson pulls through, I’m impressed. Finally, is it halfway decent? It is indeed.
TOTAL – 92/100