Ip Man: The Final Fight / 葉問：終極一戰 / Jip6 Man6: Zung1-gik6 Jat1 Zin3 (2013)
Director: Herman Yau ; Screenplay: Erica Li, Checkley Sin
Cast: Anthony Wong, Anita Yuen, Jordan Chan, Eric Tsang, Gillian Chung
I haven’t seen any of the Donnie Yen Ip Man films, I did see the previous Ip Man prequel movie that was directed by Herman Yau which I thought was a decent movie (It definitely had more action but very typical characters & story). I was unprepared for how amazing and nuanced this latest Ip Man movie was going to be while also providing just enough action and good chuckles to satisfy as solid entertainment. There is no doubt that the focus of the movie is the story of Ip Man in his later years, his philosophy and his relationship with his students, family and other people he encountered in his life.
The movie is a nostalgic tribute to Ip Man but also to the Hong Kong of the late 50s, early 60s. I don’t know how authentic the recreation of the sets were but it sure looked authentic if unusually clean. This version of Hong Kong boasts a lovely palette of colours and is breathtaking and beautiful to watch. The real social issues of that time period and location have an effect on the story and the characters. Fights are fairly rare in the first hour but generally entertaining and possibly more interesting for those who are familiar with the different martial arts styles. An entertaining final fight does occur during a typhoon which is the only time when things get unrealistic. This is acceptable because it’s damn fun fight to watch and will at least placate those who were expecting more of an action film (if they had only seen Donnie Yen’s Ip Man).
Anthony Wong has always been known as a great actor even if less savvy film goers don’t know him, they would surely recognize him. He does a great job as the older Ip Man and impressively handles some of the intricate and hand and footwork in the fights scenes, although I hear doubles were used at times. The actors who play his students were also great and although there isn’t a lot of focus on them, we get to know enough about them to care about them and to know their personalities. Excellent casting and acting overall (except for that one British officer who go hit in the head. Thankfully he has like 2 lines or something. The actor gives a typical bad/loud delivery of his English lines).
I can’t really think of any glaring criticisms of the film. It’s not a balls-to-the-wall martial arts flick. Rather it’s a drama about a martial artist that happens to have some fight scenes. Yes, Bruce Lee does appear briefly near the end and I saw one review that considers his portrayal to be quite negative. I’ll let you decide for yourself when you get a second chance to watch this movie on July 31 at 4:15pm at Fantasia. Well Go USA has the distribution rights so I expect there to also be a North American DVD and Blu Ray release in the near future.
On a random side note there was funny if pointless short clip that play before the main feature claiming that Bruce Lee’s real name was Push Lee because that’s the only English word his father heard when the mother gave birth.