Ip Man 3 - Review

PG-13  |  105 min  |  Action, Biography, Drama
Review - Matt Mungle

**In theaters January 22nd 2016**

SynopsisWhen a band of brutal gangsters led by a crooked property developer make a play to take over the city, Master Ip is forced to take a stand.

Review: The first time you see Donnie Yen in the role of Ip Man, whether in this film or the prior releases in the franchise, you are instantly captivated by his quiet persona and expert martial arts skills. If ever a real person seemed tapped in to the force of our universe it would be Ip Man. The most fascinating part is that you do not have to enjoy the genre to be riveted to the character. 

Ip Man was a real instructor in Hong Kong during the 1950's and later taught Bruce Lee in the 70's. His life is an example of what it means to be dedicated to a craft as well as the people around you. We are used to seeing flamboyant, outspoken characters in the world of on-screen martial arts. Yen is neither. He speaks only when necessary and no movement is every wasted. Even when fighting his moves are subtle, powerful, and focused. It is like watching a painting or piece of art in motion. Stunning is the first word that comes to mind. 

In this installment we find Ip Man fighting foes on a personal level more than the physical. When the school his young son attends faces a hostile takeover by a local mobster (Mike Tyson) Ip Man must step in and defend it. This causes a strain with his wife who would like a bit of his time. His decisions show a side of the Master that is tender and touching. We see a man who loves his wife and family and his actions solidify the morals and structure we have seen him instill in his students. He has to practice what he has always preached. 

No way does this mean that the film is void of the Wing Chun action that we are used to seeing. Like the other Ip Man movies this one has several mind blowing fighting sequences. And like the ones in the past they are mesmerizing to watch. Ip Man was the true Master of Wing Chun and Donnie Yen captures that brilliantly. We even get to see him go toe to toe with Mike Tyson in a powerful brawl. Again it isn't the skills alone that are enrapturing but the essence of the on-screen character as a whole.

Hong Kong in the 1950's adds to the depth of story. There is corruption in local government and the community is so devoted and dependent on its Martial Arts Masters. We see Ip Man getting little aid from law enforcement. The people of Hong Kong are not wealthy and pride themselves on respect, morality, and community. So when anything apposes that people rally together in one common spirit. 

IP MAN 3 is rated PG-13 for sequences of martial arts violence and brief strong language. There is very little in the Ip Man franchise that is disrespectful or offensive. The violence is like a well choreographed dance. It is refreshing to see it play out on screen. Also the character of Ip Man is one to be admired and emulated. Fans of the genre are familiar with Ip and will enjoy this one. I was instantly attracted to Yen when seeing him in the first film and it was a joy to watch him return to this iconic figure. I give it 3.75 out of 5 Grand Masters. I perfect addition to the already popular franchise. 

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