Country: Hong Kong
Chinese title: 叶问 – 终极一战
Release date in Malaysia: 28 March 2013
Genre: Action drama, martial arts, semi-biography
Running Time: 90 minutes
Director: Herman Yau
Cast: Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, Gillian Chung, Jordan Chan, Anita Yuen
Synopsis: “In post war Hong Kong, legendary Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man is reluctantly called into action once more, when what begin as simple challenges from rival kung fu styles soon draw him into the dark and dangerous underworld of the Triads. Now, to defend life and honour, he has no choice but to fight one last time…” (GSC Movies).
Verdict: An exploitation film that’s not done without heart. Yes, there are similarities to the Donnie Yen-featured Ip Man 2 (refer to spoiler section below). Yes, besides the Cantonese accent, the historical accuracy is highly questionable and controversial (did the legendary man actually have another woman?). And yes, the Bruce Lee in the movie is embarrassingly lame. But despite all that, Ip Man: The Final Fight is not an unwatchable film. Some of the characters are actually more complex than the ones in Donnie Yen’s. Anthony Wong’s Wing Chun moves are surprisingly not bad as well. Not as fancy and exciting as the ones we’ve seen, but it seems more authentic, even to the extend of indirectly exposing the weaknesses of the martial art.
Second opinion: “I didn’t dislike it; I particularly enjoyed the cinematography and Wong Chau-Sang’s acting” (Iris Loong).
Rating: 2.5 / 5
[SPOILER SECTION BEGINS HERE]
Best quote: “I taught you how to swim. You now can swim in the water as an exercise or swim to rescue others. But I did not teach you to push others into the water” says Ip Man to his students who like to cause trouble just to test their skills.
Similarities with Ip Man 2: The film starts with the protagonist living and teaching on a roof top. One can argue that it’s because it’s based the true story but the timeline of the films are too far apart. Then there’s similar characters: a student who’s talented but is hot tempered and loves to cause trouble and fight; a police man who is caught in between the British police, corruption and his own kind; and a rival martial art master who befriends with Ip Man later. The final fight takes place on a fighting stage.
[SPOILER SECTION ENDS HERE]