The last time 8 DAYS spoke to Donnie Yen nearly four years ago. He was in town to spread the gospel of Ip Man 3. That instalment was supposed to be the last in the series about the real-life Wing Chun grand master and Bruce Lee’s mentor.
That threeequel — featuring Mike Tyson as a ruthless property developer — went on to make $7.65 million and became the highest-grossing chapter (2008’s Ip Man and 2010’s Ip Man 2 earned $2.9 million and $4.6 million, respectively.)
Obviously, people can’t get enough of Ip Man, even if his adventures are highly fictionalised. “He’s a family man, loved by people from all walks of life,” Yen told us of his appeal then. “He isn’t aggressive and macho; he’s more of a scholar and a gentleman.”
So it came as no surprise that Yen & Co. decided to make another Ip Man sequel to placate his fans, but this time it’s absolutely the final one. It’s called Ip Man 4: The Finale for a reason: Not only is it the series finale, it’s also Yen’s last kungfu movie (but not action movie).
In Ip Man 4:, the stoical pugilist tries to find his estranged son a good school in the US, where he ends up reuniting with star pupil Bruce Lee (Daniel Chan Kwok-Kwan) and defending the Chinese community from racist scum (Scott Adkins).
Early this week, Yen was in Singapore to promote Ip Man 4 and a group of journos get to chat with him in a meeting suite at the Mandarin Orchard. “Please be gentle with us,” I greet the usually brooding action icon with a handshake. “No, you be gentle with me with your questions,” he replies with a laugh. Speaking to us in Mandarin and English, here are a few things he touched on...