"Love Is More Important Than Fame"

Content: -2 Discretion advised for adults.

What You Need To Know:

IP MAN 3 is a fictionalized biographical Chinese movie about the famous martial arts teacher living in Hong Kong in 1959 with his wife and young son. After his son, Ching, or Ip Ching, gets into a fight at school, some thugs come into the private school to force the principal to sell the school’s grounds to them. Ip Man and his students protect the school, but the thugs return and kidnap some of the school’s boy students, including Ip’s son. Meanwhile, Ip’s wife is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he has to deal with a martial arts rival.

Ip is famous for training Bruce Lee and other martial arts celebrities. IP MAN 3 is an entertaining spectacle with some poignant scenes of Ip Man with his terminally ill wife. Ip tells his rival that being with your loved ones is the most important thing in life. The story is fictionalized, however. For example, the actor playing Ip is 14 years younger than the 66-year-old martial arts master in 1959. IP MAN 3 includes some brief foul language and martial arts fighting.


(B, FR, Pa, PC, MM) Light moral worldview stressing taking a stand against evil criminals, family, being with loved ones, and a positive reference to God, with a man visiting and appearing to pray at a Buddhist shrine, but no Buddha statue in sight, some martial arts philosophy and some politically correct references to “foreign devils”; nine obscenities (including one “f” word and one “s” word) and zero profanities; lots of martial arts fighting includes thugs attack private school and school’s principal, but good guys defend it, several martial arts bouts, thugs kidnap children (threatening to sell the children into “slavery”), and two fathers fight to save children, thugs try to grab boy several times during fighting, two men fight with long sticks and then large knives, many strong punches and kicks are thrown, man’s arm deliberately broken during martial arts fighting, fighters hit their heads against walls and on solid floors, men go flying after being punched or kicked hard, policeman brandishing gun stops one fight, thugs set fire to school inside, but fire is quenched off screen, wife slaps husband for endangering their boy, thug threatens to kill boy, and boy in danger of falling off scaffold; no sex; no nudity; implied alcohol in a couple bar scenes where street fights and gambling occur; no smoking or drugs; and, attempted kidnapping of principal, thugs kidnap children and threaten to sell them into slavery, vandalism, corruption, implied gambling, rivalry.

More Detail:

IP MAN 3 is a fictionalized biographical Chinese movie about a famous martial arts teacher living in Hong Kong in 1959 who must deal with some thugs threatening his son’s school, a rival teacher and his wife’s terminal cancer. The main message in IP MAN 3 is that spending time with loved ones is more important than fame, but otherwise the movie has some brief foul language and lots of martial arts fighting where the good guys win.

The movie begins with Ip Man’s young son, Ching, getting into a fight with another boy named Fong. Ip Man befriends Fong’s father, but the father sees Ip Man as a rival for the title of Grandmaster of their martial arts school, Wing Chun.

Trouble occurs when a group of thugs, led by a man named Sang, try to force the principal of the young boys’ private school to sell the property. Ip Man stops them from beating up the principal, but the thugs return to try to burn down the school. Ip Man and his martial arts students defend the school, with help from Fong’s father.

Sang’s former teacher, Tin, is angry with his former pupil and tries to chastise Sang at the docks where Sang works. Tin and Ip Man are in danger of being killed, when a police detective with a gun breaks up the fight. Sang hires Fong’s father to beat up Tin, and Tin ends up at the hospital with a broken arm.

Then, Sang makes the mistake of kidnapping Fong and Ip Man’s son. Will Fong’s father help Ip Man save the two boys, despite his desire to earn money from Sang to start his own martial arts school?

As this drama plays out, Ip Man’s wife discovers she has terminal cancer. Eventually, Ip Man must put aside his martial arts duties to care for her.

IP MAN 3 is a well-made Chinese martial arts thriller. The biography is changed a bit, though. For instance, there are a couple funny scenes featuring Ip Man’s most famous pupil in Hong Kong, Bruce Lee, but Ip Man began training Bruce in 1954 or so, not 1959 as the movie suggests. Also, though he does a good job, the actor playing Ip Man, Donnie Yen, looks much too young for Ip Man in 1959, when the martial arts teacher was about 65 or 66. In reality, Yen was a well-preserved 52 when he filmed IP MAN 3.

That said, the movie has a nice end message when Ip Man tells his rival that the most important thing in life is being with the one you love. Thus, in the end, even the title of Grandmaster was not as important to Ip as being with his wife before she died. IP MAN 3 shows this poignant message in several scenes near the end where Ip and his wife quietly share some private moments in her hospital room and when she returns home to be with her family. She asks her husband to make a family photo of them with their son. The movie shows that photo being made, then shows Ip watching lovingly as the photographer takes a photo of just his wife alone. Another scene shows him dancing joyfully with his wife, who was herself a fan of ballroom dancing.

The movie’s main focus, however, are the various fights with the evil gang members trying to take over the school’s property. At one point, the gang sends a Thai martial arts warrior to kill Ip Man, but he manages to defeat him and send him on his way. There is another fight scene with Sang’s boss, who’s played by Mike Tyson. The boss gives Ip Man three minutes against him. Finally, of course, there is a final match between Ip Man and his rival. It’s at the end of that fight when Ip Man tells his rival that spending time with a loved one is the most important thing in life.

In addition to all the martial arts punching and kicking, IP MAN 3 has some brief foul language, including one “f” word. Also, the movie mentions that the gang attacking the school is, in reality, a tool of “foreign devils.” One of the “foreign devils” happens to be the British police officer who’s the boss of the kind-hearted Chinese detective. Prior to 1997, Hong Kong was a “Crown colony” under Great Britain, which leased the area from China. Though the British ruled Hong Kong, the economy flourished until Britain returned Hong Kong to Communist China. Today, of course, many Hong Kong residents are chafing over China’s increasing political control and erosion of liberty in Hong Kong.

Because of the fighting, foul language and talk about “foreign devils,” which sounds like something out of the Communist Party handbook for China, MOVIEDGUIDE® advises strong caution for IP MAN 3.