(This is Ip Man 4: The Finale film review, which is the sequel to the 2015 film as well as the final film in the series)
Ip Man has been a series that explodes in popularity ever since its first release in 2008 about the story of Bruce Lee‘s master. And 11 years later, the epic tale is coming to an end, with Ip Man 4: The Finale aiming to deliver the final deserving conclusion to the great series.
It is directed by same director Wilson Yip, and stars old and new faces such as Donnie Yen, Wu Yue, Vanness Wu, Vanness Wu, Kent Cheng, Danny Chan and Ngo Ka-nin. Now, let’s get deep into the Ip Man 4: The Finale review below to see if it gets the ending that it deserved.
After the death of his wife from the previous film, Ip Man realises he has cancer and is striving to let his son Ip Ching to go to the US to study due to the latter being expelled from fighting. However, things do not go smoothly due to the racist mindset of the Americans, could Ip Man manage to deal with all of the troubles before his time runs out?
Ip Man 4: The Finale Film Review
The whole story is basically more of a rehash of the same formula from the past 3 films, except it now takes place in America. There are some of the historical aspects being used as the source, so things happen quite naturally, but of course more exaggerated for viewing pleasure.
What I liked about it is that it gives a satisfying end to the 11 year old series
What I liked about it is that it gives a satisfying end to the 11 year old series, and that it shows more scenes and master-student relation between Ip Man and Bruce Lee. We are shown why and how the Chinese Martial Art gains prominence in America due to the work of these two great martial artists. Though the film does not explore deep into the Bruce Lee’s life with Ip Man, it still tries to show sincerity in its portrayal. It also shows some footages from the past three films to mark the end of the Great Grandmaster’s life, and it touches me so to see such deserving ending to the series that I have loved since 2008.
However, some parts of the story is cliché, like how the villains are typically racists and look down on the coloured people. And then they would show up for no reason to fight. Granted, this provides a good reason for the fights, but I feel that some of the small side-premises get sidelined and ignored completely in the 2nd half of the story. This film is, essentially, the story of Ip Man fighting injustice and then aiming to leave behind his legacy before his death.
The pacing is fairly brisk and it flows well. There are action sequences for every quiet moments to spice things up, and to keep the momentum going. I am never bored of it because the fighting scenes are well choreographed and are feasts to the eyes.
There are more fighting sequences here than the first two films, but lesser than the third film
There are more fighting sequences here than the first two films, but lesser than the third film. However, the movements and the impact of each hit is still felt very strongly thanks to the camera angle, choreography as well as the sound effect. It honestly is still one of the better kung fu fighting scenes that combines elegance into fierce fights.
We have the usual old and new faces appearing in this final film. As for Ip Man and Bruce Lee, they are the stars here, though the latter only appears for a shorter time, but his fighting scenes gives a great impact nonetheless. Other minor characters such as the Boss of the Chinese Benevolent Association and his daughter, are more less becoming minor characters as the show goes on, to the point that their own story is cut down and ignored completely in the 2nd half.
The same goes to Ip Man’s son scene, where I would expect they would have more interaction but this too is cut short for a tearful farewell. Finally, the villains are really cliché and very one-dimensional. Straight away, they are typically violent, racist and look down on other people easily. I would like to see a more well-rounded villain with his own reason to fight, such as the Master Z from the third film. So overall, the villain is much less impactful and less memorable compared to the first villain from the first film, the Japanese General.
the villains are really cliché and very one-dimensional
Ironically, the minor character Fei Bo, has more screen time than some of the villains as well as almost matching that of Bruce Lee. Granted, he is one funny fellow that gives a small indication of Ip Man’s social circle as well as a trusted friend.
The soundtrack is created by Kenji Kawai, who famously writes the memorable soundtrack of Ip Man’s main theme song, which until now is still impactful and leave a lasting impression on me. Overall, the music and sound effect are done well for this film to stand out among other similar kung fu films.