Ip Man Finally Finalizes His Fighting — Finally!
Ip Man: The Final Fight is a classic display of flogging a dead horse till it hurts. Don’t get me wrong, Hollywood is just as guilty when it comes to adding Roman numerals at the end of a title, after a movie gains popularity, with the likes of Rocky leading the pack. But eventually someone has to say, enough is enough — especially when the source material is as thin as this. Instead of creating a serious study showing the life of the legend, they give us a weak version that has got nothing of any actual substance or add anything of value to allow us to examine more of Ip Man himself. Rather, they turn him into a saintly figurehead, who is very wise and all-knowing, but I don’t mean in the normal way we’re used to, but instead raise him to mythical stature.
Bruce Lee exploitation films have lasted a heck of a lot longer than deserve, as most don’t come close to doing the late Bruce Lee justice, and this is most definitely guilty of all of the above. Ip Man surely has a story worthy of better telling that this. Apparently, there’s talk of creating a 3D version, but unless a serious biopic is being made, I don’t really see the point.
The movie is set in post-war Hong Kong, from the early 50s to the late 60s, and shows Ip Man arrive from mainland China, to try and re-establish himself after losing their wealth thanks to China being at war with the Japanese. He is adopted by a group of well meaning students who want him to teach them Wing Chun, after he displays his prowess (by fighting on top of a newspaper) on arrival at Hong Kong. He helps them deal with their jobs and life issues, and for that they look up to him with starry eyed wonder. It gets a bit overbearing at times because of this.
The fights are not what you would call original, or inspiring, as they settle for run-of-the-mill techniques, like speeding up the camera when any fast combat is going on, and in all honesty, cheapened the already shaky film. The acting was fine but I did have trouble with the sound, which I found rather poor at times. The music was mixed too loud in places and dialogue was a struggle to catch here and there. Thank goodness I was relying on the subtitles anyway. It just isn’t a film that does justice to Martial Arts, Ip Man or Bruce Lee, in that order.
Review by E. Blackadder, special to Influx Magazine
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