Ip Man: The Final Fight

2013

Action / Biography / Drama

182
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 65%
IMDb Rating 6.2 10 10,255

Synopsis


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921.14 MB
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English 2.0
PG-13
23.976 fps
100 min
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1.85 GB
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English 2.0
PG-13
23.976 fps
100 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by moviexclusive 8 / 10 / 10

Alternately heartwarming, poignant and thrilling, this portrait of Ip Man's later to twilight years boasts an exceptionally nuanced performance by Anthony Wong

Is it too soon for yet another story based on the life of the legendary Wing Chun grandmaster? Well, seeing as how utterly disappointing Wong Kar Wai's version was, the answer is an empathetic yes. Here to revive hope that there is still much we have yet to see about Ip Man's life is Herman Yau's 'Ip Man: The Final Fight', a sequel of sorts to his much flashier predecessor 'Ip Man: The Legend is Born' that focuses on the character's middle to later years. Like Donnie Yen's 'Ip Man 2', this one begins in 1949 as Ip Man (Anthony Wong) arrives in Hong Kong from Foshan to settle into a humble room on the roof of a three-storey shophouse. Thanks to a chance encounter with martial arts enthusiast Leung Sheung (Timmy Hung, better known as son of Sammo Hung), Ip gains a small following of working-class individuals to start a makeshift Wing Chun school without needing to go against his nature to advertise his craft. It might seem like a motley crew – including a policeman (Jordan Chan), a seamstress and union activist (Jiang Luxia), a waitress at a dim-sum restaurant (Gillian Chung), a prison officer (Marvel Chow) and a tram driver – but there's no denying their passion to learn, and at least at the start, how close-knit a group they make. Yet the circumstances then don't make it any easier for Ip nor for his students, and it is from casting the fates of Ip and his disciples against a constantly evolving but always tumultuous Hong Kong in the 1950s to 1970s that Yau's film truly comes alive. Similarities to Alex Law's 'Echoes of the Rainbow' are not unjustified, since Yau clearly evokes the same sense of nostalgia for the period during which the former was also set. Expertly weaving several disparate themes, screenwriter Erica Li deftly paints a vivid picture of a colony rocked by tensions between the unions and their companies, infighting between the various martial arts schools, corruption of the local police and most importantly, the struggle of ordinary folk to make ends meet and provide for their family. Li draws on these real-life historical contexts to delineate the fates of Ip and his disciples, in particular that of Tang Sing (Chan) and Wong Tung (Chow). Among the disciples, Tang Sing's character is the most fully-fleshed, depicted as a good man caught in a moral crisis between following his conscience (as Ip advises) and the temptations of power and money in his position of authority. Tang's choice to side with the infamous kingpin named Dragon (Xiong Xin Xin) behind many of the illegal activities taking place inside the notorious Kowloon Walled City inevitably entwines Wong Tung, and by extension the entire Ip Man clan that culminates in the titular showdown. That finale is but one of four thrilling action setpieces, and easily the most gripping and exhilarating one. First within the confines of an illegal boxing ring in a warehouse and then along the exterior windswept alley battered by the onslaught of an imminent typhoon, action choreographers Li Chung Chi and Checkley Sin let the climactic fight between Ip Man and Dragon play out – the joy here not solely being from seeing veteran martial arts actor Xiong Xin Xin show off his impressive moves, but also from how Anthony Wong's one-year training in Wing Chun has truly paid off. Of course, that is also apparent from the earlier sequences, in particular one in which Ip Man squares off in a friendly closed-door bout with rival 'White Crane' master Ng Chun (comedian Eric Tsang in a fantastic cameo that shows off his agility quite certainly honed from his former days as a stuntman). Besides demonstrating a facet of Anthony Wong's acting repertoire that is rarely seen (fun fact – the man is a dedicated practitioner of the 'Monkey Fist' style), this portrayal of Ip Man also benefits from the dramatic skills of arguably one of the best actors in Hong Kong cinema today. While Tony Leung's was just like any other of his from other Wong Kar Wai collaborations and Donnie Yen's was probably more stagey than who Ip Man was in real life, Wong's depiction is – we dare say – the most nuanced that captures both the man's humble dispositions and his internal struggles. The latter is also thanks to a multi-layered script that doesn't just dwell on the aspects of Ip Man's life that pertain to his martial artistry, but also his personal life in relation to his wife Yong Cheng (Anita Yuen) and his son (Mainland actor Zhang Song Wen). The first Ip Man film so far to pay due attention to what must have been one of his greatest regrets spending the large part of his postwar years apart from wife and son, it just as poignantly reveals his gentle affection for a Shanghainese songstress Jenny (Zhou Chuchu) - despite the veiled objections of his students - that again finds closure in death. Wong is absolutely brilliant in these intimate moments of Ip Man's life, and it's hard to imagine a more befitting actor here to play the role. In choosing to illuminate the less ostentatious but more relatable characteristics of Ip Man's twilight years, Yau's film truly stands apart from the other four films that have come before it. Less concerned about the legend than the Man behind it, 'Ip Man: The Final Fight' is the most heartfelt one yet about him, with an assured and sensitive directorial hand from Yau guiding a well-written script and a terrific lead performance by Anthony Wong as well as fine supporting acts from Jordan Chan, Eric Tsang and Chuchu. Even though it doesn't have Donnie Yen's star power or the marquee names of Wong Kar Wai and Tony Leung, this is a beautiful film that offers a well-balanced perspective of Ip Man's later years against the rich backdrop of post-World War II Hong Kong

Reviewed by A_Different_Drummer 8 / 10 / 10

Irony -- biggest flaw is the Final Fight

There is something hypnotic, mystifying and dignified about watching how a true Master lives life day to day, and the real power of this film is precisely and absolutely about that dignity. Anthony Wong is excellent and, with a single exception, the direction and pacing is excellent also. Ironically, the sole flaw in the film is the final fight scene where a geriatric Ip Man does his "final" battle with a local thug. And that is the key to this film. It takes the better part of two hours to get to this point. If, by the time you do get there, you have not yet connected with the movie, and you are hoping to get a rush from the fight, you will be sadly disappointed. Not that the fight is badly done, simply that it is not well done. There is a difference, especially in Asian films where a good fight can make or break a film. Given the pace of Ip Man 3, given the age of the main character, the final battle should have consisted of a smaller number of moves done with greater clarity and intent. Instead, with no warning, the director finds his inner SHAW BROTHER and the final fight is paced quickly, with flash cuts, and even a downpour from the heavens to confuse an already confused scene. On the other hand, if, by the time you get to the "final battle," you have already come to appreciate the film for what it really is, the final fight will be merely the icing on the cake. And a tasty cake at that.

Reviewed by DICK STEEL 8 / 10 / 10

A Nutshell Review: Ip Man: The Final Fight

Herman Yau's films have got its bragging rights, having Ip Man's own son Ip Chun involved with the production, not only in making cameo appearances, but providing story input to paint a more dramatic picture of the subject. And it couldn't get more authentic than this, even with artistic license obviously taken at some points. And if you were to extrapolate them, then you'd see shades of the rest of the other films that seem to tangent off important plot points. Things such as underground fighting rings, corrupt cops, battling with other grandmasters, setting up shop, and tales of rash disciples all have its air time here as well, and this one offered a lot more than the others because it's now a snapshot of a time that the rest hasn't, and probably will not, cover. This is Ip Man in his later days when Bruce Lee was beginning to make a name for himself in the USA, and chronicles the life and times, filled with its fair share of ups, downs, moments of pride and that tragic sense of loss, that comes with ageing, with a lot more focus on his group of disciples as much as it is about Ip Man's personal life. The surprise is of course Yau teaming up with his one time iconic collaborator Anthony Wong, who together have made classical Category III films in The Untold Story and Ebola Syndrome. Here, they reunite to bring a kung fu master to life, and a biographical one at that, and going by the trailers, Wong is no pushover as he executes the Wing Chun moves with grace and ferocity, with little that betrays the use of a stuntperson or wires to help make his a lot more graceful. What works here in the fight department is the awesome choreography that does justice to both the martial arts and the actor, obviously having trained for it, to execute the moves with as much authenticity as possible. Action sequences may be limited in quantity given Herman Yau's and Erica Lee's story focused on the more dramatic moments, and relationships that Ip Man has with his wife (Anita Yuen), a songstress (Zhou Chu Chu) and his many disciples, but more than made up for it in terms of quality. Cinematography in action films are key in either wanting to play the cheat sheet with quick cuts and edits, with either faraway or tight shots to hide the stuntperson, but this one is done perfectly well to show off the cast members' moves and intensity of their blows, and does its action choreography justice, which for a martial arts film, matters most. Besides some speeding up detected, it doesn't have over the top style, but kept things as simple as Wing Chun's philosophy, and that battle between Ip Man and Master Ng (Eric Tsang) remains one of the best in this movie, and dare I mention also ranks as one of the best amongst the rest of the Ip Man films put together. If there's a downside to this, it's the issue of having too many characters jam packed into this less than two hour story. There's a whole host of disciples that Ip Man had recruited, and while screen time is dedicated to these characters, their development was fleeting at best. Headlining the disciples were the likes of Gillian Chung chalking up her resume in her recent comeback, but her role was rote at best, with her relatively less well known stars given more screen time instead. Jordan Chan is the other famous headliner for the film, starring as Ip Man's disciple and a policeman, caught up with moral issues as his profession brings about opportunities for corruption at the time, and how he struggled with this moral dilemma. But it's not much of a struggle as it turned out, although the narrative steered clear on passing any judgement or ending on the character, except to remind that he was an important source of income to keep things going. Zhou Chu Chu as the songstress provided a promise of a romance that wasn't much, but this love story has its shades in Wong Kar-Wai's epic in being a love that could have been, told in a very different fashion here. The opening film of this year's Hong Kong International Film Festival, with that territory comes a certain guarantee that this has to live up to its honor with high production values, which was a plus point as the 50s and 60s Hong Kong got recreated both in terms of external sets and interior art direction and production to transport the audience into an era long gone. Giving it some artistic credibility is how the narrative blended with the history of Hong Kong as a background, making it as much of a historical epic of the colony at the time as it is about the story of Ip Man's advancing years in life. Still, as part of the Ip Man movie canon, The Final Fight has its moments, and even if you're jaded from too many films about the grandmaster in such a short duration of time, this movie still has what it takes to offer audiences a different aspect yet to be seen of Ip Man, with its Wing Chun moves and fights being the icing on the cake. Recommended!

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