In 1959, when a band of brutal Triads gangsters led by Ma King-sang and working for a crooked property developer (Mike Tyson) make a play to take over Hong Kong, Master Ip is forced to take a stand.
This film provides examples of:
- Anachronism Stew: In Real Life, Bruce Lee started his training with Ip Man at age 16 circa 1956. The film is set in 1959, and Bruce is still not Ip's student yet.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Frank proves himself to be a very powerful boxer when he challenges Ip Man. Considering he's played by Mike Tyson...
- Cool vs. Awesome: Mike Tyson versus Ip Man, or Mike Tyson versus Donnie Yen.
- Halfway Plot Switch: The film's first half is a straight-up action flick that's a borderline-parody of itself, with Ip taking on gangsters in a save the school plot. The second half is a (comparatively) serious drama about Ip dealing with his wife's cancer and likely death, and having to choose between what is most important in life — his family or martial arts.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: When the filmmakers announced their intention to use a CGI recreation of a young Bruce Lee as a character in the film, a lawsuit was filed against the studio by Lee's estate. The character still shows up, but is played by an actual actor instead of CGI, with little fanfare in his initial scene (going for a more introductory feel as opposed to bombastic and epic), and not appearing exactly like the traditional depiction of Bruce Lee, instead being depicted as a jovial and friendly, if slightly arrogant young man, which is more realistic considering the character's age.
- Lightning Bruiser: Frank, despite being a large man, is fast enough to keep up with Ip Man, and his punches actually knock Ip Man back several feet. Even when blocked.
- Mirror Match: Downplayed in the final battle with Ip Man vs. Cheung. While most of Ip Man's previous fights were Wing Chun vs. another martial art, this is a match between Wing Chun vs. Wing Chun.
- Noble Demon: Frank is a family man who actually keeps his word. After getting into a draw with Ip Man after a self-imposed 3-minute round, he leaves Ip alone as he promised.
- Remember the New Guy?: Tin Ngo-san: we are told that he is the most famous martial artist in Hong Kong (next to Ip Man, of course), is friends with all of the other martial arts masters and runs the tea shop where they all hang out, despite us having never met him before in the previous films. This is especially noticeable as it was a plot point in the previous film that Ip Man had to challenge the Hong Kong masters, and it wouldn't make sense for someone so highly regarded to have been absent from the match.
- Scary Black Man: Frank, first when he shorten the delay with Zang to two weeks instead of a month and then when he fights Ip Man by throwing punches so hard it can send him flying.
- Shout-Out: In Punch-Out!!, Little Mac has to survive 90 seconds of Mike Tyson's instant knockout uppercuts. In Ip Man 3, Ip Man has to survive Frank's (played by Mike Tyson) extremely strong punches for three minutes.
- Tranquil Fury: Ip Man doesn't show much emotions when Frank's assassin shows up in the same elevator he and his wife are in but once they are able to get out and Cheung is safe he starts giving a pretty strong beatdown, even stepping on the fighter's toes.
- The Triads and the Tongs: Ma King-sang leads a Triads gang.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The school teacher Miss Wong, disappears about half way into the movie, despite being set up as a potential love interest for one of Ip's students.
- Young Future Famous People: A young Siu Lung (Bruce Lee), who else?