By: Matthew J.R. Kohler
Over the last few weeks, we have been shown footage from the latest and final movie in the Ip Man series starring Donnie Yen. As someone who was a non-believer of the first one until seeing it, I feel that the newest one forgets what made the original so awesome. A good rule in action movies is to never do a sequel that is very similar to the first one, because lightning does not strike twice in the same place. Just look at the sequels for Die Hard, Rambo, Taken, and Police Story. None of those movies broke new ground in the franchise. The Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, and Terminator 2 did; that’s why they are such memorable sequels. While Ip Man 2 was a good film, it changed nothing about the franchise. Ip man still is amazing at fighting, everyone is still out to get him, and he must again engage in the one fight that will change the world. I will admit that the final fight in the second one is better in terms of quality, but its context didn’t have the same impact as the first one due to lack of character development for the main villain.
What about the latest one? In many ways it is the most star-studded with Donnie Yen, Mike Tyson, Yuen Woo Pien directing it, and the character Bruce Lee being in the film. At first, I was stoked about what the film could have to offer; then, I watched the trailers. Nothing makes sense. For some reason, Ip Man looks to be fighting a bunch of people at once, for the third time. All this tells me is that the filmmakers are once again trying to recapture the magic of the amazing ten-on-one fight scene in the first one. The second one suffered from weaker choreography, largely because of the overuse of CGI. Judging from a certain clip that I’ll get to momentarily, the overuse of CGI looks to be a problem with Ip Man 3 as well. I have the impression that the movie doesn’t have the realistic punch it needs to make an impact. Donnie Yen is an amazing martial artist and a great actor, so why use special effects?
In the latest clip, Ip Man finally meets Bruce Lee! When the first movie came out, I was excited to see a portrayal of my idol as a youngster receiving his formative training. Boy, did this clip kill all of my excitement. Not only does the person who is playing teenage Bruce Lee look like a grown man, but he also mimics all of Lee’s mannerisms. If you’ve seen Big Boss or Green Hornet, you would know that Lee didn’t develop a lot of his famous mannerisms until his later films. To me, it doesn’t seem like an accurate depiction, but instead just a tribute to him. And, the aforementioned cringeworthy CGI of him kicking water and cigarettes has also greatly lowered my expectations. With Sammo Hung not returning from the first two to choreograph the fights for this third film, let’s hope that what we’ve heard and seen is the worst.