After squaring off with John Wick and living to tell the tale, Donnie Yen is pulling off another impossible feat: Bringing Ip Man back from the dead.
On Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival, action movie star Donnie Yen and Hong Kong-based studio Mandarin Motion Pictures announced three new films starring Yen: Misjudgement, a new original feature; Flashpoint: Resurgence, a sequel to the 2007 cop drama Flashpoint; and Ip Man 5. None have release dates.
Of the three, Ip Man 5 is by far the biggest bombshell, as a surprise new entry in Yen’s star-making series loosely based on the life of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, the teacher of Bruce Lee. Yen retired from the role after 2019’s Ip Man 4: The Finale, which ended its story with Ip Man’s death from cancer in 1972.
Little is known about Ip Man 5, but Yen and the studio shared a poster on social media to confirm its development. It shows a training dummy surrounded by the unconscious bodies of faceless men, with swords and other blades scattered around them. Yen does not appear on the poster, and Yen did not write a caption besides tagging the studio and including relevant hashtags.
It’s unknown what story Ip Man 5 will tell, or even how much Donnie Yen will actually appear in it. The 59-year-old actor proved in John Wick: Chapter 4 that he’s still capable of action-oriented performances, but given both how the series ended and Yen’s wishes to move on, it’s unclear whether Ip Man 5 will actually star Yen or just feature the veteran in a smaller role.
As for what Ip Man 5 could be about, it could explore an overlooked chapter in Ip Man’s life. Or it could take place in the past as a historical prequel; based on the antiquated weapons seen in the poster, Ip Man 5 could be an “origin story” for the Wing Chun fighting style, which Ip Man popularized but did not invent. Less likely but not off the table is a supernatural tale where Ip Man comes back from the dead. That might sound silly, but this is the same film series where Mike Tyson played a landlord and Ip Man beat up teenagers at an American high school.
While John Wick: Chapter 4 could have, and maybe should have, led to Donnie Yen making more movies in Hollywood, Ip Man 5 shows he isn’t afraid to go back to where his star power began.
There is no release date for Ip Man 5.