Tyson promises Ip Man fans an explosive fight

Updated: 2015-05-16 02:17

By Matt Hodges(China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0
Tyson promises Ip Man fans an explosive fight

Mike Tyson and Donnie Yen "fight" during a news conference about Ip Man 3 in Shanghai on May 6. [Photo by DING TING / XINHUA]

"Iron" Mike Tyson, who is reinventing himself as an actor following his successful cameos in The Hangover trilogy, was nursing a fractured finger in Shanghai on Friday courtesy of some heavy sparring with lead star Donnie Yen on the set of Ip Man 3.

Boxing fans who felt shortchanged by the May 2 "super fight" between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao can look forward to February 2016, when the latest chapter in the story of Ip Man, Bruce Lee's teacher, gets its Chinese mainland theatrical release.

The $36 million action film, which will focus more on the student-master relationship between Lee and Ip, may be the first of the trilogy to hit the silver screen in North America in a big way, especially with Tyson involved. The first two had an extremely limited release in that market.

"This is definitely going to be an exciting fight," said Tyson, 48, who was also seen in Scary Movie 5 and will appear in Meet the Blacks, now in postproduction. "Me and him, it's a great clash, a great kamikaze kind of explosion.

"Most trilogies are never better than the first part. This one is going to step up. A lot of drama, more realistic. It's real. Life on life's terms," he told China Daily.

Tyson gave the interview while playing the video game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare at his hotel suite in Shanghai's Songjiang district. He said he plays a property developer who is in league with the chief of police.

"I'm Frank. Not a decent guy, but a shady business guy. Greedy. I'm a good villain — a rogue with a kind heart. I am bad, but I've got good qualities," said Tyson, who is spending 10 days filming in the city. It is his fourth trip to China.

"I love being the bad guy," added the man known for his obliteration of opponents in the ring in the 1980s, as he broke into a villainous laugh. Tyson famously KO'd Michael Spinks in 91 seconds while at the height of his powers.

In 1986 he became the youngest-ever undisputed heavyweight champion of the world at the age of 20 years, four months and 22 days.

He earned a reported $300 million to $400 million during his career, declared bankruptcy in 2003, and is now said to be worth around $1 million.

"When I did The Hangover, it was such a success … (I decided) this is what I'm going to do now," he said of acting. "This is my bread and butter."

Reports say Ip Man 3 will be released in 3-D and feature a computer-generated Bruce Lee, as no convincing actor could be found to portray the kung fu icon. All filming is being done on location in Shanghai and at Hengdian World Studios in Zhejiang province, dubbed "Chinawood".

Tyson joins a flood of Western and Asian stars rushing to join Chinese productions. Adrien Brody and John Cusack starred in Jackie Chan's Dragon Blade this year, the most expensive movie made on the mainland.

Tyson was approached by Shi Jianxiang, one of the main investors, in Los Angeles during the Oscars season. Shi is the CEO of Shanghai Kuailu Investment Group.

"After talking with Tyson, I also found him warm and loyal to friends. That's why we swore to be brothers," Shi said.

"Chinese culture can provide such great raw ingredients, but we lack techniques and professionalism of production," Shi said. "By learning from Hollywood, we can play a greater role on the world stage and make our voices heard."