Donnie Yen has made a career out of being a kung fu ass-kicker, and never was at his ass-kickiest best than in his two Ip Man movies. Quasi-biographical tales based on the life of the real Ip Man, a kung fu grandmaster who popularized the fighting style of Wing Chun and boasted none other than Bruce Lee as his pupil, Ip Man 1 & 2 had stories that touched on everything from the Sino-Japanese war to the British rule of China, all surrounded by some of the most incredible fights ever put to film. Fights that were always against other martial artists though, not brutishly violent boxers with questionable judgement in tattoos who threaten to eat your children.
THR is reporting that former heavyweight boxing champ, ear connoisseur, pigeon racer and cartoon star “Iron” Mike Tyson has signed on to appear as the main antagonist opposite Yen in Ip Man 3. Tyson is set to play a ruthless property developer who just so happens to also be a vicious street fighter (no relation to Balrog from Street Fighter). What’s most interesting is how this whole thing came about:
Two years ago Mike Tyson opened up a Weibo [the Chinese microblogging site] account and the first question he asked was, ‘Who is the best fighter in China?'” Pegasus chairman and Ip Man 3 producer Raymond Wong told THR. “Someone answered him ‘Donnie Yen,’ and that gave me an idea. For the third installment in the Ip Man series, we want to have an explosive fight, and Mike Tyson versus Donnie Yen fits the bill.”
Tyson said in a statement: “Who is the best boxer and kung fu master in China? Wait for me, I am coming. Thank you for introducing me to Chinese kung fu.”
Now Mike Tyson versus Donnie Yen would be an incredible story all on its own, but also mentioned in THR’s article is the revelation that Ip Man 3 will also feature Bruce Lee. Now a prepubescent version of the acclaimed late martial arts legend already showed up briefly in Ip Man 2, but this appearance is going to be different.
Apart from the introduction of Tyson in the film, kung fu icon Bruce Lee will also appear as a young pupil of Ip Man. The film’s producers were unable to find an actor to portray Lee’s intensity onscreen so have decided to use computer graphics to re-create the most authentic Lee in the film.
Two things: 1) If they were looking for somebody to have Lee’s intensity, that means he’s going to do more than just standing around in a cameo role in this movie, and 2) This actually won’t be the first time we’ve seen a CGI Bruce Lee on-screen. Back in 2013, a Johnnie Walker commercial directed by none other Joseph Kahn, the guy behind that recent gritty Power/Rangers fan film, featured a wonderfully realized digital version of Bruce Lee lounging around in a swanky apartment as he waxes philosophical.
If that was too laid back for your tastes, another fan created CG film titled “Warrior’s Dream” actually featured none other than Donnie Yen facing off against Bruce Lee.
Ip Man 3 will go into production soon and is expected to be released in 3D in the first quarter of 2016.
Last Updated: March 26, 2015