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Ip Man 3 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 12, 2016 by  



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“Ip Man 3” features drama and action but is less about Ip Man taking on challenges alone, but also learning in life of what is important and what in life is worth fighting for. If you enjoyed the first two films, “Ip Man 3” is worth checking out!

Images courtesy of © 2015 Pegasus Motion Pictures. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Ip Man 3

FILM RELEASE: 2015

DURATION: 105 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Cantonese, English, Spanish and French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English subtitles

COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment

RATED: PG-13

Release Date: April 19, 2016


Directed by Wilson Yip

Written by Tai-Li Chan, Lai-yin Leung, Edmond Wong

Produced by Zheng Xu

Cinematography by Xiofei Song

Costume Design by Cho Ting Chung


Starring:

Donnie Yen as Ip Man

Lynn Hung as Cheung Wing-sing

Jin Zhang as Cheung Tin-chi

Mike Tyson as Frank

Patrick Tam as Ma King-Sang

Karena Ng as Miss Wong

Kai-Chung Cheung as Chui Lek

Kent Cheng as Fatso

Ka-Yan Leung as Master Tin

Kwok-Kwan Chan as Bruc Lee

Xiao Long Li as Ching

Sung Man Ban as David

Wang Yan Shi as Ip Ching


Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2) ignites the screen in a return to the role that made him an icon – as Ip Man, the real-life Wing Chun grandmaster who mentored Bruce Lee. In this explosive third installment of the blockbuster martial arts series, when a band of brutal gangsters led by a crooked property developer (Mike Tyson) make a play to take over the city, Master Ip is forced to take a stand. Fists will fly as some of the most incredible fight scenes ever filmed play out on the big screen.


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With the enormous success of the previous two “Ip Man” films starring Donnie Yen, the third film features a return to the drama of the first film and the action of the second.

Director Wilson Yip returns to direct the third film, Donnie Yen (“Hero”, “Blade II”, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, “Shanghai Knights”) reprises his role as Ip Man and Lynn Hung (“My Sassy Girl 2”, “All’s well, Ends Well 2010”) reprises her role as Ip Man’s wife, Cheung Wing-sing.  The film also stars Jin Zhang (“Kill Zone 2”, “The Grandmaster”, “The Bounty”), boxing legend Mike Tyson (“The Hangover”, “The Hangover Part II”), Patrick Tam (“Zu Warriors”, “Port of Call”, “The Merger”), Karena Ng (“Magic to Win”, “Hotel Deluxe”, “All’s Well, Ends Well 2012”), Kent Cheung (“Crime Story”, “Once Upon a Time in China”, “Ip Man 2”) and Kwok-Kwan Chan (“Shaolin Soccer”, “Kung Fu Hustle”, “The Legend of Bruce Lee”).

The film is set in 1959 and Ip Man is a popular Wing Chun teacher and living with his wife Cheung Wing-sing.  His eldest son Ip Chun has went to Foshan to study, while his youngest Ip Ching lives with them.

The film begins with a young Bruce Lee (portrayed by Kwok-Kwan Chan) asking Ip Man to become one of his students and demonstrate how quick he is.  Ip Man tells the young man to come back.

Meanwhile at school, young Ip Ching is fighting with his classmate Cheung Fung.  Both are disciplined but as Ip Man is late to pick up his son, he tells the school that he will take both boys and Cheung Fung can pick his son up at his home.

Cheung Fung is surprised to see that Ip Ching’s father also has a wooden dummy to practice his Wing Chun martial arts.  When Ip Man asks Cheung Fung who his mentor is, he mentions his father, Cheung Tin-chi (portrayed by Jin Zhang), who works as a rickshaw operator.

Cheung Tin-chi learned from another master taught by Ip Man’s master, but both have different perspectives on how to utilize their Wing Chun.  Cheung Tin-chi who wants to build his own school as the true Wing Chun school one day.

Cheung Tin-chi helps pay the bills by also participating in a black market boxing match and so far, he is undefeated.  The organizer is a local triad leader named Ma King-sang (portrayed by Patrick Tam), who works for American property developer and boxer, Frank (portrayed by Mike Tyson).

Frank wants a piece of land occupied by the local school which both Ip Ching and Cheung Fung attend.  When Ma King-sang and his gang try to assault the school headmaster, he is saved by Ip Man who quickly beats the men.

The men try to show their power towards the school the following day by trying to lock up the school but once the school breaks the locks, Ma King-sang sends many of his men to kidnap the headmaster and immediately, Ip Man and his class fend off the gang, with the help of Cheung Tin-chi.

Meanwhile as Ip Man tries to defend the school from thugs, he is unaware that his wife Cheung Wing-sing wishes he is home more often. But also that she is very ill.

Ip Man must prepare for upcoming challenges that lie ahead.


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VIDEO:

“Ip Man 3” is presented in 1080p High Definition and shot in 2:35:1.  It’s important to note that the film was originally shown in theaters in 3D but for the most part, close-ups on facial features and clothing show amazing detail.  The film looks natural with a cooler setting with no issues of artifacts or banding.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Ip Man 3” is presented in Cantonese, English, French and Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and features a lossless soundtrack that has crystal clear dialogue, music and offers a good amount of surround sound for crowd ambiance and action scenes. Also, good use for the surround channels during the action sequences.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Ip Man 3” comes with the following special features:

  • Making Of – Featuring two short making of featurettes: Story (2:29) and Action (2:52)
  • Interviews – Featuring interviews with Donnie Yen (6:04), Mike Tyson (7:27), Donnie Yen and Mike Tyson for the “Ip Man Press Day” (5:27) and Director Wilson Yip (9:05)
  • Behind-the-Scenes – (2:19) Short behind-the-scenes from “Ip Man 3”.
  • Trailers –  Teaser, Theatrical trailer and International Trailer for “Ip Man 3”.

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After watching the first “Ip Man” film, I immediately realized that the film was one of my favorite martial arts films I have seen probably in the last decade, possibly within the last 15 years.

The film was loosely based on Yip Kai-Man, a Chinese martial arts master who taught Wing Chun and one of his famous students who became a teacher was legendary martial arts film actor Bruce Lee.

The first film showcased Ip Man’s (played by Donnie Yen) Wing Chun style of martial arts which was well-revered in his hometown of Foshan.

Married and living a good life teaching Wing Chun, life changed miserably after the Japanese occupied the area during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Chinese spirits were demoralized as Chinese were killed by Japanese, homes and possessions were lost and Chinese were forced to live in poverty without any food. This includes the well-respected Ip Man and his family.

In the first film, many Chinese martial artists were pit against a Japanese military leader or Japanese soldiers in fighting competitions to show which country had the best martial arts.

For many Chinese martial artists, not only was it to defend their country but it was their way of getting food to bring home to their family but while some were able to bring food home, many were killed for no reason.

Having seen enough of the injustice, Ip Man has no choice but to fight against Miura in a final battle.

The film ends with Ip Man and his family being rescued by his friend, businessman Zhou Qing Quan (played by Simon Yam) who will try to escape with Ip Man to Hung Kong.

“Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster” begins with flashbacks from the first film and showing us that their friend Zhou Qing Quan was shot in the head by a Japanese soldier.

The film then focuses on Ip Man as he tries to gain the respect of the local martial arts masters of Hung Kong, especially Master Hung who leads the group that allows martial artists to have their own school.

Ip Man must now take on the other martial artists and Master Hung in competition but with hostilities between Ip Man’s students and Hung’s students at an all time high, will the two become friends or enemies?

Also, unbeknown to the local Hung Kong martial artists, an arrogant British champion boxer named Taylor “The Twister” Milos (played by Darren Shahlavi) is wanting to test Western Boxing againstChinese martial arts.

But the local martial artists quickly realized that Twister is a savage beast in the boxing ring and is insulting to the Chinese
people and Chinese martial arts.

I criticized the second film for straying away from what made the first film so magnificent and also straying away from the family dynamic between Ip Man and his wife.

The third film is a mashup of both.  The drama featuring a wife who wants her husband to pay more attention to her and the family rather than his school and his duty but Ip Man learning not martial arts, but what is more important to him.

Of course, “Ip Man” films are always action-driven and this film features plenty of action choreography as Ip Man takes on many thugs, a fight with Frank, portrayed by Iron Mike Tyson.  But a battle of the two Wing Chun masters on who’s Wing Chun is the best.

The first “Ip Man” film was magnificent because it was slightly based on true events and also the time period between China vs. Japan, while the second film featured the battle between two martial arts film legends, Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung.  But it strayed too far from the first film’s concept, was more popcorn action and was average at best.

The third film tries its best to balance drama and action and while the drama was the film’s most endearing moments, the action in this film was good but lacked substance when compared to the first film.  And it’s tough because that first film raised the bar for quality storytelling and action.  Action with substance and their was true meaning.

For me, “Ip Man 3” tries very hard to appeal to people of all ages and where the first film was able to taking things far in terms of story and action but also a strong feeling of dread, these last two films felt diluted.  In “Ip Man 3”,  if thugs had kidnapped Ip Man’s son, I don’t think they would have failed with hundreds of people fighting Ip Man to make a statement or make him feel desperate enough to save his son.

Every action scene felt too safe for its own good. And while the film is action-packed, the first “Ip Man” film still blows it out of the water in terms of storytelling, action and characters.  The first film made us root for Ip Man to defeat the antagonist, for the third film, the antagonists never really posed too much of a threat to Ip Man.

While Mike Tyson is a big antagonist in terms of character, he’s only a small part of the film and that is a good thing.

The true battle of “Ip Man 3” is between Donnie Yen’s Ip Man and Jin Zhang’s Cheung Tin-chi and unfortunately, the film’s build-up doesn’t make us care too much about his character, which is fine, but it doesn’t make us vilify or hate him.  Perhaps if he was a true antagonist, we can root for Ip Man but unlike the first film where the antagonist was of true evil, Cheung Tin-chi is a man that is just full of ego and because it’s an “Ip Man” film, we know how the film will end.

But the true story of “Ip Man 3” is the relationship between Ip Man and his wife, Cheung Wing-sing who is severely ill.  We watched this couple take on challenges in the first two films but this is a challenge that many of us who have lost a love one to cancer, unfortunately knows too well (especially before technological advances) on how this will end.

Donnie Yen does a great job of playing the well-disciplined Ip Man, but it was great to see director Wilson Yipp give actress Lynn Hung a much juicier role in which she is able to showcase her emotions with true efficacy.

The Blu-ray release is very good, as the film shows great detail in HD.  The lossless soundtrack also utilizes the action sequences and ambiance very well and you get a few (short) special features as well.

Overall, “Ip Man 3” features drama and action but is less about Ip Man taking on challenges alone, but also learning in life of what is important and what in life is worth fighting for. If you enjoyed the first two films, “Ip Man 3” is worth checking out!






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