Let's face it, many of us knew about Ip Man because of Donnie Yen. While there have been many other "Ip Man" movies produced by other film companies, other teams and directors, Peagasus Motion Pictures have declared that these have no relations to Donnie Yen's Ip Man trilogy. The other Ip Man movies have been mediocre at best, in terms of both critical and commercial success.
The truth is the Ip Man trilogy is like the Dark Knight trilogy. While Dark Knight(2008) was so good, people were thinking how Dark Knight Rises(2012) can surpass that, and expectations were Sky-High. Similarly, our expectations of Ip Man 3 is at an all time high, due to the hugely enjoyable Ip Man(2008) and Ip Man 2(2010).
Was the Dark Knight Rises a good movie? Definitely. But when expectations are high, and compared to Dark Knight(2008), people left the cinema disappointed.
This is where the difference comes in, director Wilson Yip and Producer Raymond Wong took a risk. They decided to go for a different direction with Ip Man 3, a stark contrast from Ip Man 1 and 2. Instead of Nationalist Pride, the main focus of Ip Man 3 is human emotion and melodrama. Instead of just realistic fight scenes, Yuen Woo Ping(Iron Monkey, Matrix, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) was brought in to add "beauty" and "detail" into every fight scene? So what is the result? A beautiful film in its own right, which may spark differences in opinion between people who understood the film, and people who don't.
Fans who are not used to Yuen Woo Ping's style will find the action weaker than Ip Man 1 and 2. But fans who look at details, and understanding of Martial Arts will enjoy Yuen's style much more than Sammo Hung, be it water droplets fading upon reaching the ground, glass causing balloon string to snap, "One-inch punch" finish, we are looking at extreme details and incredible beauty of martial arts, which have NEVER been present in Ip Man 1 and 2.
Director Wilson Yip's way of expressing his ideas in Ip Man 3 is that much deeper than previous films. Be it hinting "Be like water", or the first scene of "Butterfly"(a Chinese mythology of a returning spirit of a love one, key hint to subsequent events in the film), there are many details which ordinary viewers might overlook, but observant viewers will fall in love with the film.
Now, refocusing back on Donnie Yen. Many fans will be watching Ip Man 3 simply because Donnie is back as Ip Man, and to many people... "Donnie Yen IS Ip Man", and there have been voices of boycott of other unrelated Yip Mun films starring other actors.
For fans of Donnie Yen, his performance will not disappoint you. His performance as a grounded, highly-skilled martial artist continue to impress, but its his work as a father and as a husband that will stay in our hearts forever. Ip Man is willing to give up his cigarette addiction for his family, and to give up any prestige and reputation for his son(when he was kidnapped) and his wife(to spend more time with her).
Donnie's performance in his movie alone, is capable of leaving audiences in tears in the cinema. His jokes in the films are excellent, while his emotional scenes touch the hearts of every audience.
To sum it all up, Ip Man 3 is the excellent and perhaps perfect ending to the Ip Man trilogy. But one needs to use his/her heart to understand, and use their eyes to observe.. not just the fight scenes, but every emotional scene.
Ip Man 3 has improved dramatically from the previous 2 installments, due to the additional of love stories and humour, besides incredible action by Yuen Woo Ping.
While many is claiming that Ip Man 3 is the best of the trilogy, I will not go so far as that. I personally felt that Ip Man 3 is definitely better than Ip Man 2, and is definitely on par with Ip Man(2008).
Ip Man 3 and its previous 2 installments will definitely become classics, and Ip Man 3 will be a film we still talk about for decades to come, just like the Dark Knight Trilogy.