Donnie Yen might be best known to general audiences for his supporting roles in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, but the 56 year-old has been one of Hong Kong cinema’s biggest stars for decades with a string of critical and commercial hits under his belt.
Having extensively trained in no less than thirteen different martial arts disciplines, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he’s starred in more than his fair share of action movies, and his most recent effort, Enter the Fat Dragon showed that he could still pull it off while buried under some pretty restrictive prosthetics.
One of Yen’s greatest successes in recent years though has been the Ip Man franchise, loosely based on the life of the legendary martial arts practitioner of the same name who trained Bruce Lee. The fourth and final installment was released in China last December and marks Yen’s first time playing the role since 2015, although he did produce 2018 spinoff Master Z: Ip Man Legacy.
The epic conclusion is now available to stream on Netflix and it’s already rocketed towards the top of the streaming service’s most-watched list. Ip Man 4: The Finale currently sits in first place among the Top 10 movies, and is in fourth place overall, which is a hugely impressive accomplishment for a relatively niche genre, even though the movie proved to be a massive box office hit in China, where it earned over $165 million.
That being said, a lot of American viewers are unfortunately still unfamiliar with the series and likely haven’t had a chance to check the film out yet. They’d certainly be wise to do so, though, as the Ip Man franchise has firmly established itself as one of the all-time greats in the history of martial arts movies, with all five entries landing widespread critical acclaim. And with Yen’s next big screen appearance set to be in Disney’s Mulan, he could see his star reach greater heights than its seen yet despite spending 37 years in the business.