Ip Man: The Final Fight Blu-ray Review
Lunch is important to some older men. They tend to eat it about the same time every day so it splits up the hours. It’s why, after a young man asks to study under him, Ip Man says, “Let’s talk after lunch.”
Age is catching up to Ip (Anthony Wong, 2003’s INFERNAL AFFAIRS), but he can still whoop you from here to the end of the block in just under a blink. He refuses to run a school, but ends up on a roof with a number of aspiring martial artists. He only accepts those who he feels qualify for the martial arts—in other words, no “half-wits.” His students include Chan Sei Mui (pop singer Gillian Chung), a dim sum girl who loves martial arts books and the heroes that come with it; Tang Sing (Jordan Chan, 2011’s WHITE VENGEANCE), a cop who keeps to himself; Lee King (Jiang Luxia, 2009’s NINJA MASTERS), a seamstress who looks out for her employees; and Wong Tung (Zhou Dingyu, in his debut), a prison warden with a temper to match; and Ng Chan (Eric Tsang, also INFERNAL AFFAIRS), a tram driver and friend of Wong’s.
He spouts his wisdom and instructs his students like any respectable master. He is focused and professional; it’s no wonder Bruce Lee, a pupil of his, turned into what he did. (While his words often come in the form of empty phrases like “Follow your conscience,” they seem to work wonders for the students.)
IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT begins in 1949, the year Ip moved to Hong Kong from Foshan. It’s there that he died; more importantly, it’s where much of his legacy was solidified.
Ip is a cherished treasure in Chinese culture and has been portrayed in the country’s cinema a number of times, notably in Wilson Yip’s IP MAN (2008) and IP MAN 2 (2010). Just this year, there have been three productions about the Wing Chun expert: this effort from Herman Yau (who previously directed THE LEGEND IS BORN – IP MAN), Wong Kar-Wai’s THE GRANDMASTER (with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai in the lead role) and the Chinese television series IP MAN (starring Kevin Cheng).
IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT is, in a word, different than the rest. Instead of again portraying Ip in his younger years, it explores what became of the man in his grayer years. As such, IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT isn’t “just another” Ip Man movie, which followers of this apparently neverending series of movies will appreciate.
What they may not is all of the clutter. For one, there are too many characters. Yes, Ip had a number of students, but featuring such a large number only makes the movie feel less focused on Ip himself. For another, so much in the plot never amounts to much, like the strikes/protests, the visit from Ip’s wife (Anita Yuen) and Ip’s passion for a local singer (Zhang Chuchu).
What may be the biggest foul, though, is the fighting. Both of Wilson Yip’s movies had extraordinary sequences full of the kind of action that fans of martial arts movies hope to see. Here, so much of the fighting scenes come off comical, which may be a result of the goofy and intrusive music that accompanies them.
IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT
Video: 2.38:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. This high-definition transfer of IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT boasts a fine level of detail and a clean image throughout.
Audio: Cantonese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Cantonese 2.0 Stereo; English HD DTS 5.1; English 2.0 Stereo. Subtitles in English. The audio is also very strong, particularly during the fight scenes when the sound effects take the stage.
Making Of (9:24): This featurette offers an overview of IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT’s production through interviews and on-set footage.
Cast & Crew Interviews: Interviews with eleven individuals, including producer Checkley Sin, action choreographer Li Chung-Chi and Anthony Wong, are collected here.