Coming to theatres and On Demand from writer/director Liming Li and Magnet Releasing is the next part of the journey of the person we have come to know as IP MAN: Kung fu Master.
Ip Man (Dennis To) has settled into his life in 1949, Foshan, China as a police officer sworn to uphold the law. Knowing full well that not all policemen believe the same, Ip decides to go after mobster Third Father (Michael Wong) who is responsible for the death of his police captain. While in custody he is killed and daughter Quingchuan (Yuan Li Ruoxin) holds Ip personally responsible and as the new leader of The Axe Gang, wants blood.
Once the attack comes to Ip’s home where wife Cheung (Chang Qinyuan) and their new baby are, it becomes clear they need to leave to be safe and Ip leaves the force. Uncle is keeping a wine-drinking-eye on the situation as well. As if he does not have enough problems, the Japanese army is coming to Guangzhou to take the small port town away from the centuries worth of businesses.
When a challenge is set before him to fight in the ring, Ip knows that he must use the techniques he has learned to win. He finds himself in the company of the people he least expects to help and knows that when the time comes, they will take up the mantle of freedom in Foshan.
To as Ip Man is a character on screen that is as mild mannered as they come. Even in the face of bringing water during the birth of his child in the middle of a fight is nothing short of a stroll through the kung fu park. To gives Ip Man an honorable air about him that does not judge anyone but at the same time will protect those same ‘anyone’s’ from harm.
Ruoxin as Quingchuan begins her screen time with only one goal – to kill the policeman who is responsible for allowing the death of her father and that would be Ip. Trust me when I saw she has mad skills of her own and the fight feels evenly matched but there is one thing that prevents her from beating anyone – her rage. Calm wins over rage every time. Ruoxin gives us a villain/heroine blurring the line between them.
Wong as Third Father begins the film challenging Ip leading to an amazing martial art fighting sequence and, like Ip, is very calm. During the fight and after, he does not lose control but instead keeps his word making him an honorable mobster I suppose.
Qinyuan as Cheung who is not happy about the constant fighting that Ip does. Even during the birth of their child, she knows what is happening right outside the door. Leaving is the only way she can be sure that their child can be safe from those ready to use Ip’s family for their vengeance.
Magnet Releasing is a part of Magnolia Pictures that specializes in films from the vanguard of horror, action, comedy and Asian cinema. It is also the home of classics like Tomas Alfredson’s LET THE RIGHT ON IN, Ti West’s THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, Andre Ovredal’s TROLLHUNTER, Neil Marshall’s sword and sandals bloodbath CENTURION and Tony Jaa’s ONG BAK trilogy. Recent released include the terrifying anthologies V/H/S and V/H/S/2, Xan Cassavettes’ stylish vampire film KISS OF THE DAMNED, and the sci-fi thriller THE LAST DAYS ON MARS. Upcoming films include Ti West’s THE SACRAMENT and to find out more of what is to come please visit www.magnetreleasingfilms.com.
The IP MAN films with To began in THE LEGEND IS BORN: Ip Man in 2010 and KUNG FU LEAGUE in 2018. I was introduced to the IP stories by a friend who suggested I dive right into the stories that To is telling for the third time. Since then I have spent time getting to know and appreciate martial art films and the story each tells about the most interesting people such as Ip Man and other like Bruce Lee.
Is IP MAN: Kung Fu Master perfect, no, but it is perfection in the fact that there is so much more of this story that can be told. In this story, he continues to be a protector for those who need it the most and this time it is his own family. Knowing that there are those who want to be better civil servants, the lines between who that is gets blurred and the results are painful.
If you are a fan of the IP MAN franchise, then nothing anyone says will stop you from seeing the next installment coming in at eighty-four minutes. It is fast paced, fast fisted and keeps the viewer on their toes but all the while knowing that Ip is the only man that can be relied on!
In the end – he will protect those who truly need it!