The Ip Man film franchise debuted in 2008 and has had two successful follow-up installments. The trilogy has quickly become among the most celebrated in martial arts film history and gives us a fascinating semi-autobiographical look at the life and times of Ip Man (otherwise known as Yip Man and played by Donnie Yen), a real-life master of the martial art Wing Chun and trainer of the legendary Bruce Lee.
The franchise has become widely known for its abundance of beautifully choreographed fight scenes. Let’s take a closer look at the best of the best.
5) Ip Man vs. Jin Shan Zhao – Ip Man
In most martial arts movies, wars are waged between the good and the dark side of the arts. In his bid to put everyone else in town out of business, the Northern Chinese martial arts master, Jin Shan Zhao, and his ruthless gang of acolytes serve to embody the dark side of the arts as they use their powers in the name of greed and corruption. Thankfully, the feather duster is mightier than the sword and its inclusion in this cleverly choreographed scene adds a unique twist to the action.
4) Ip Man vs. Frank (Mike Tyson) – Ip Man 3
It’s Wing Chun vs. Western Boxing at its best in this explosive scene when Ip Man takes on a crooked property developer in the iconic martial arts franchise’s third installment. This clash of styles makes for one of the most entertaining fight scenes in the franchise, and c’mon, that’s Mike Tyson himself starring opposite to Yen in this barnburner— making it an obvious choice for this list.
3) Ip Man vs. Twister – Ip Man 2
Taylor ‘The Twister’ Miller is not a nice guy. On top of being racist and incredibly arrogant, he’s responsible for the death of Ip Man’s compatriot, Master Hung, who he beat to death during a challenge fight. Ip uses his poise and diversity to overcome Miller’s brawn in this bout of karmic-revenge to conclude the second installment of the Ip Man franchise.
2) Ip Man vs. Master Hung – Ip Man 2
During this cleverly crafted scene from Ip Man 2, Ip Man and Master Hung go head to a head in a ceremonious battle to establish superiority. After overcoming his first two adversaries, Ip and Hung become entangled in a tabletop dance of death that eventually ends in a draw.
1) Ip Man vs. 10 Japanese Black Belts – Ip Man
In perhaps the most elegantly choreographed fight scene in the entire franchise, Ip Man calls out ten of General Miura’s black belts in this battle of vengeance against his oppressors during the first installment of the Ip Man trilogy. They may have strength in numbers, but they inevitably fall one by one.
BONUS: Bruce Lee vs. cigarette smoking – Ip Man 3