Enjoy the martial arts mastery in Ip Man 3, the action-packed closer of this franchise devoted to the real-life Wing Chun grandmaster.
But don’t expect too much from the barely there, sort-of autobiographical story, although we do get to watch Mike Tyson mangle a few scenes as bad apple American Frank, who “speaks” some dubbed Cantonese.
Set in 1959 Hong Kong, Donnie Yen returns as Ip, the most laid-back of lethal weapons. A devoted family man and dedicated teacher, he’s content to be both, even if his status makes him irresistible to those anxious to test his fighting superiority.
Early on, Ip schools one of them, who says he’s finally ready to be the Grandmaster’s pupil. Future superstar Bruce Lee (Danny Chan Kwok-kwan in a nice bit of casting) engages in a bullet-time Matrix-inspired display involving an arc of spilled water and a pack of unfiltered cigarettes.
Ip agrees to help protect his son’s school from evil developers, getting aid from an unexpected source when rickshaw driver Cheung Tin-chi (Zang Jhin) turns out to be a skilled Wing Chun teacher, too. They’ll have something to settle later.
But first there are plenty of fight scenes, ably choreographed by Yuen Woo-ping, with notable matchups including battles in an elevator and at an umbrella stand. They’re balanced with Ip’s care for his ailing wife Wing-sing (Lynn Hung).
Acting is of the overdone variety and the dialogue is lousy, making Yen’s restrained and quietly powerful performance stand out. Speak softly and pack a one-inch punch.