Ip Man: The Final Fight Blu-ray Review
Directed by Herman Yau
Written by Erica Lee
2013, Region A, 101 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on November 12, 2013
Anthony Wong Chau-Sang as Ip Man
Gillian Chung as Chan Sei-mui
Jordan Chan as Tang Shing
Ip Man: The Final Fight is the third entry of an extended biopic of China's famed martial arts trainer and revolutionary that has featured some great stories and incredible martial arts sequences. And while the latter does make some notable appearances here, the overall story suffers some in this part of the trilogy. There are some cultural differences that make some of Master Ip's choices hard to understand for a Western audience, and since we're not the core audience those anachronistic plot points are not well communicated and left me cold and indifferent toward him in places, especially as it relates to his relationship with his distant wife and son.
The tempo is super slow and it becomes downright boring during the scenes that don't end up in fighting. Ip Man's story has been summed up twice before at this point, so there are no surprises to be found here. They just keep telling vignettes from later in his life each time. And while is life is full of great stories, albeit exaggerated and glorified for the movies; they do seem to always be the same. Ip Man is a reluctant warrior who gets pushed to his limits and then has to fight, where he triumphs. And while this can be a very effective plot for these kind of revisionist history movies, it just seems flat and repetitive here because we've seen it before. Twice.
I fought to finish it. The only redemption is that the few actual scenes with fighting are so well choreographed and quick-actioned that it draws the viewer back in, until it's time for another lull-enforced nap. I've come to expect more from these movies, and the preceding films set a bar that is pretty high, but this one barely gets off the ground. I would recommend watching the other two movies in the series, both available for streaming on Netflix, as they are much higher in quality, but stop there. There's an old axiom that fighters never know when to quit fighting until it's too late and they've gone one match too many. Ip Man should've thrown in the towel.
Video and Audio:
Ip Man: The Final Fight is presented in a nice 16:9 widescreen format and looks beautiful. The picture is crisp and clean and well lit.
The original movie is in Cantonese with English subtitles available, but also features a English dub. The dub is not keyed to the subtitles, often in ways that alter the meaning. The dub is not particularly terrible, but it lessens the impact of the movie.
Special features included on the disc are making-of featurettes, interviews with cast and crew, and trailers for the movie. They are sparse and don't add much to the overall enjoyment. They seem strictly for film-watching completists who have to watch everything on the disc.
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