on Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:45 AM
Ip Man was an actual real-life figure who trained many in the martial arts of Wing Chun, including Bruce Lee.
Donnie Yen plays Ip Man in this fantastical take on the his life, a film that utilizes a few of the details from Ip Man’s biography, but then goes crazy. Early in the movie, Ip Man is visited by a young dude looking to serve as his disciple, and the meeting doesn’t go so well. It turns out the man is Bruce Lee, and his character will appear briefly later in the film in what amounts to a fun cameo in a wacky movie.
The film is set in 1959 Hong Kong where Ip Man finds himself trying to protect a school from thugs. It’s just a premise to bounce a bunch of fights off of, including a matchup of Ip Man and Mike Tyson (!) playing a crime boss.
Yes, Iron Mike goes to battle with Iron Monkey, and the results are surprisingly exciting, even if Tyson’s arsenal doesn’t have much to do with martial arts (He just punches things).
The movie is a strange mix of goofiness and sentimentality (there’s a subplot involving Ip Man’s wife’s cancer), but fans of the genre will like it for the fights, of which there are many. Also, seeing Mike Tyson in something like this is a real trip.