My biggest mistake in watching Ip Man: The Final Fight was my confusion with which franchise this was the conclusion to. There have simply been too many attempts at a biographical film about the legendary grandmaster of Wing Chun in the past years. Edmond Wong made the high-octane biopics Ip Man (2008) and Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster (2010), with a third film looming as a possibility and Donnie Yen in the title role of the first two. Wong Kar Wai also just released his take on the life of the man who would eventually train Bruce Lee with The Grandmaster (2013). This film, however, is a follow-up to Herman Yau’s The Legend is Born: Ip Man (2010).
Anthony Wong takes on the title role for the biopic about the later years in the martial arts grandmaster’s life in postwar
This film lacks a clear antagonist for much of the film, waiting until a final
climax to show any true spectacle in the fight sequences. In short, there is far
more biopic and far less action film in this film, and it is done in a
worshipping manner that sees its protagonist as being without fault. This can
be trying to sit through. It is easy to idealize an action hero, but somehow it
comes off as a bit more false when they stop fighting.
Ip Man (Wong) moves to
Hong Kong, leaving his wife and son
to build a school for Wing Chun. He does so modestly, but still manages to find
the same difficulties as before. There are ruthless rival schools, corrupt
officials, and an underground world of fights that are bet on, and Ip Man
inevitably gets pulled into the problems. Despite the lack of action, the
biggest problem with this film is a lack of direction. The film tries to wrap
everything up a little too neatly, but moments of the story still seem to lack
relevance. There are a lot of bits and pieces all thrown in, making for a
series of segments rather than one solid storyline for the grandmaster’s final
The Blu-ray includes a making-of featurette, as well as cast and crew interviews. This is probably the least impressive of the Ip Man films, at least in terms of the visual scope of the movie. The high definition is less impressive than one might hope from a martial arts film, and unnecessary for a biopic. The most impressive moment of the film is in the real footage of the man all of these films have been based on.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 5/10
Disc Features: 5/10