If you’ve never heard of Ip (as in “skip”, not “eye pea”) Man, it’s not like you haven’t had the opportunity. Hong Kong has, on average, put out a movie a year for the last five years about Bruce Lee’s real life kung fu master. Based on release dates, The Final Fight comes in fifth, a couple months behind Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster, but it definitely holds its own against its predecessors, mainly for its more character-driven approach to some now, well-traveled material.
Studio: Well Go USA
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Cantonese 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Other
Run Time: 1 Hr. 41 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 11/12/2013
With so much success and popularity around Donnie Yen’s 2008 film Ip Man, a Chinese language biopic about the Wing Chun kung fu master better known as Bruce Lee’s martial arts teacher, there were bound to be imitators. What’s surprising is the film that rode on its coat tails – The Legend Is Born - Ip Man, directed by Herman Yau and starring Dennis To as the titular hero – proved no cheap knock-off, but a film capable of standing on its own as a more measured, somewhat less action-oriented take on the late grandmaster’s life.For Legend’s sequel, Ip Man: The Final Fight, Yau reinforces the aesthetic, depicting the teacher’s latter years in Hong Kong with a more character-driven approach compared to its predecessor, not to mention the other Ip Man property, though the film is not without its own share of rousing action sequences. Playing a much older Ip, actor Anthony Wong imparts the role with a genuine sense of maturity and honor, making it easy to see why Ip’s students would be so devoted to their humble master. Wong also proves quite capable with the expertly choreographed fight scenes, reminding us that strength and power are not just found in the young.The narrative, depicting a span of almost 20 years in post-WWII Hong Kong, tends to meander a bit as Ip experiences some personal problems, works to build his reputation as a kung fu teacher, and battles with the requisite underworld thugs who ultimately threaten one of Ip’s students in an underground fighting tournament. The outcome is of course a foregone conclusion, but it’s the surrounding story that proves most compelling, touching on issues like the lessons we pass on to future generations and the significance of one’s legacy. You won’t find that kind of pensive quality in most martial arts films, which seem more concerned with laying out the action spectacle or veering into melodrama, but Ip Man: The Final Fight proves all the stronger and more accomplished for its deft touch.
The Production Rating: 4/5
Framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer has a handful of issues, but most are so minor they shouldn’t prove distracting. The more eagle-eyed viewers will notice somewhat inconsistent black levels and slight posterizing artifacts in gradients, but color, though largely muted in tone, and contrast are generally faultless. Detail is excellent from wide shots to close ups, though a few establishing shots may look a bit over-crisp. Still, the image appears free of any artifacts resulting from either excessive grain reduction or sharpening measures.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
Dialogue in the Cantonese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently crisp and clear, though levels can come off a bit low compared to other elements in the mix. Surround channel activity is at times aggressive, with directional fight effects and film score cues making up the bulk of the material. LFE sounds deep and robust, but too often the punch, crash and kick effects have a “crunchy” quality that makes things sound compressed or over-modulated.
Audio Rating: 4/5
Special Features Rating: 2/5
- [*]Well Go USA Promo (1:00, HD)[*]2014 Theatrical Release Trailers (6:23, HD): Iceman, Special ID, and Wrath of Vajra.[/list]Making Of (9:24, HD): Assembles a series of featurettes covering the story, casting and characters.Cast and Crew Interviews (21:00, HD): Eleven individuals involved with the production, from Producer Checkley Sin to Lead Actor Anthony Wong, talk about their roles and perspectives on the story.U.S. Trailer (1:46, HD)International Trailer (2:07, HD)
Well Go USA delivers a solid high definition presentation for a thoughtful Ip Man biopic starring Anthony Wong. The special features include the requisite behind-the-scenes material, but won’t likely be viewed more than once. Fortunately, the strength of the feature makes the release worth at least a rental.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Reviewed By: Cameron Yee
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