Tag Archives: Donnie Yen

Film Review: Ip Man 4: The Finale

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ip Man 4: The Finale

Ip Man (Donnie Yen) is having troubles with his moody son Ching (He Ye). He doesn’t want to do anything his father tells him and gets into fights at school. Ip decides to travel to San Francisco, to see about getting his son into a school there. Time is of the essence, as he has just been diagnosed with cancer. A former student, Bruce Lee (Danny Kwok-Kwan Chan) invites Ip to witness a martial arts demonstration when he is there.  In order to get his son into the school, Ip needs a letter of recommendation from the Chinese Benevolent Assocation, located in Chinatown. However, the head of the association, Wan Zong Hua (Yue Wu) is dismissive of Bruce Lee’s desire to teach Chinese martial arts to other people, and refuses to give Ip the letter.

Ip receives a letter from another source and takes it to the school, but he is told he still needs the letter

from the CBA. While there, he witnesses a Chinese girl being bullied by a jealous classmate, and leaps to her defense. She turns out to be the daughter of Mr. Wan. However, when Ip returns Yonah (Vanda Margraf) to her home, her father is still not impressed. To complicate matters, Yonah’s bully is the daughter of a racist Marine who advocates karate and has no use for kung fu or Chinese people. He is determined to close down the CBA and teach the Chinese their place. Something  has to give!


Sorry to say this is the last film in the series, and we have to say good-bye to Mr. Ip, but this film does not disappoint. The racist sergeant will make your blood boil, and I am angry that his bully daughter never faces any real consequences. The actor playing Bruce Lee did a good job, and all the fight scenes are well choreographed and very interesting. Although this is the last Ip Man, I plan to watch more Donnie Yen films. I’ll give this film 4.5 Stars.

Film Review: Ip Man 3

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ip Man 3

In 1959 British Hong Kong, Ip Man (Donnie Yen) lives a quiet life with his wife Cheung Wing-sing (Lynn Xiong) and his younger son Ah Ching (Xiao Long Li). Ah Ching gets into trouble with another boy in his class and both parents are called to the school. There Ip Man meets Cheung Tin-Chi (Jin Zhang), who also practices the Wing Chun style of kung Fu. He is struggling as a single parent, and makes a living pulling a rickshaw, but his dream is to have his own martial arts school. However, he can’t afford the rent. The boys reconcile and the fathers become friends.

Trouble comes in the form of a rich businessman, Frank (Mike Tyson) who desires to own the property the

school sits on and is willing to do whatever he can to get it, including the use of force. He uses his thugs to terrorize the school, forcing Ip Man and his students to step in. While his wife understands what he is doing, she wishes he were at home more. And she hasn’t told him, but she isn’t feeling well, and fears something may be wrong.

Complicating matters, a jealous Tin-Chi has decided to make a name for himself by battling the other kung fu masters. He then challenges Ip Man to a fight… for the title of Grandmaster of Wing Chun. When Ip Man does not show up for the scheduled match, Tin-Chi declares himself Grandmaster. Meanwhile, matters at the school escalate, and some children are kidnapped in order to force a showdown with Ip Man

The third installment of the Ip Man series is just as good as the others. He and his family don’t live the opulent lifestyle they once did before the Japanese invasion, but they have a good life. Ip Man is well known and respected in the community. The film deals with respect, and family, and standing up for right is right. Tin-Chi is not a bad man, and he means well, and has to make choices between getting ahead and doing the right thing. I have to say that I found the addition of Mike Tyson jarring. First, he is no actor, and he speaks mostly in English with a few Mandarin phrases thrown in for good measure, but his slight lisp doesn’t help with the Mandarin. Secondly, he’s a boxer and his movements are powerful and seem rough when seen in juxtaposition with the graceful moves of Ip Man. The fight between Ip Man and Frank is inevitable, as is the outcome. Side note: Donnie Yen broke Tyson’s finger in that scene. The best fight in the film, among many good fights, is between Ip Man and Tin-chi. Also, there is a scene in an elevator between Ip Man and a Thai fighter  with poor Mrs IP trapped in the corner that is pretty good.

There is one more film in the series and I look forward to that. Also, there is another one with Tin-Chi called Master Z, and I’ll watch that too. I’ll give this film 4.5 Stars.

Film Review: Ip Man 2

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ip Man 2

Having fled the village of Fo Shan, Ip Man (Donnie Yen) and his family end up in British Hong Kong, where the master plans to open a school to train students. He gets a good deal on a rooftop studio and sets up shop. But no one is coming, and he is finding it hard to make ends meet. To complicate matters, his wife Wing-sing (Lynn Xiong) is pregnant with their second child. Just when things seem bleak indeed, Ip Man begins to acquire students, although they aren’t always able to pay the school fees. But at least it’s a start.

Trouble soon arrives in the form of the other martial arts masters in Hong Kong, led by Master Hung (Sammo Kam-Bo Hung). They summon Ip Man and lay down their rules. First, he needs to prove himself to them through battle. He has to stand on a table and fight all comers until the incense burns down or until he loses. He accepts the challenge and proves himself.

At this time, the Chinese are very much under the thumb of their imperial masters, the British. Some of

them are less than respectful… or honorable. A British boxer known as the Twister (Darren Shahlavi) comes to town to participate in an exhibition of Western-style boxing. But the cocky fighter wants to show the Chinese how superior he is to them, and interrupts the display of the various schools to challenge them. It’s on! But can the Chinese win, with the odds stacked against them, and the crooked police supporting the British masters?

The second film in the series sees Ip Man and his family relocated to Hong Kong and in much more desperate conditions than the first film. Still, he is determined to provide for his family, at the same time maintaining his principles. There is a casualty from the first film, Ip Man’s friend Quan, who was shot in the head by the Japanese and is not the same man. I liked this one as much as the first, great fight scenes, and I love Ip Man’s wife, who doesn’t want to disturb his focus on this very important match just to let him know she has gone into labor. Look at the end for a small cameo by a little guy who will become the real Ip Man’s most famous student! Looking forward to the next film. I’ll give this one 4.5 Stars.

Film Review: Ip Man

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ip Man

Fo Shan is a Chinese city renowed for its kung fu masters and their schools. The strongest kung fu master is Ip Man (Donnie Yen), who leads a quiet life with his wife and son and is much respected by the city. Possessing a strong sense of honor, he isn’t one to stand aside when some punks from up north come to town intent on starting their own school and beating up the other kung fu masters. Ip Man quickly teaches the bullies a lesson.


But the peace of Fo Shan is destroyed when the Japanese occupy the city, and much of the city’s population is decimated. Those who are left struggle to survive, including Ip Man, whose beautiful home has been confiscated. Having a family to feed, Ip Man goes to work shoveling coal. One day the Japanese arrive with a proposal, their interpreter being Ip Man’s friend Li (Ka-Tung Lam). Those who are willing to fight the Japanese in bouts of kung fu will receive a bag of rice if they win. These fights are for the Japanese general, Miua (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi), whose second-in-command, Colonel Sato (Tenma Shibuya) is a sadistic, bloodthirsty man with no regard for human life. When one of Ip Man’s friends, Lin (Xing Yu) suddenly disappears, Ip Man realizes he has been killed by the Japanese. He requests to fight ten men. But when he wins, he doesn’t take the rice, as that was never the reason for him to fight.


General Miura wishes Ip Man to fight again, but he is nowhere to be found. And Li says he doesn’t 

know where he is, no matter how much they hurt him. But things come to a head, when Ip Man realizes he has to take a stand. He begins by teaching the factory workers at his friend Quan’s (Simon Yam) cotton mill how to defend themselves. And then he agrees to fight General Miura, although Li warns him that if he should win, Sato will kill him.

This film was recommended to me by a co-worker and I loved it! Everything about the film is good, from acting to story to direction to cinematography. I love the fight scenes! Ip Man is loosely based on an actual kung fu master, one of whose disciples was actor Bruce Lee. There are three more films in this series and I intend to watch and review them all. Ip Man is a great character. I love the scenes with his family, showing that he isn’t necessarily perfect and has room to improve, which of course he does. I highly recommend this film and give it 4.5 Stars.