The Final Master Blu-ray Review

Martial arts film breaks form to distinguish itself from its peers 4 Stars

A Wing Chun martial arts master looking to spread the discipline beyond the borders of Southern China, where it originated, looks to the Northern Chinese city of Tianjin, a location renowned for its martial arts culture, to start an academy. But to do so he must gain the approval of the area’s longstanding martial arts guild, through a combination of socio-political machinations and the requisite combat-based tests of his kung fu’s potency.

The Final Master (2015)
Released: 11 Dec 2015
Rated: N/A
Runtime: 109 min
Director: Haofeng Xu
Genre: Action, Drama
Cast: Fan Liao, Jia Song, Wenli Jiang, Shih-Chieh Chin
Writer(s): Haofeng Xu (original novel), Haofeng Xu (screenwriter)
Plot: A Wing Chun master has to defeat 8 martial arts schools to open his own school, yet he has become a chess piece to the local power dynamics.
IMDB rating: 7.2
MetaScore: 72

Disc Information
Studio: Well Go USA
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 50 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD
Case Type: Two-disc Amaray
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 07/25/2017
MSRP: $29.99

The Production: 4/5

A Wing Chun martial arts master looking to spread the discipline beyond the borders of Southern China, where it originated, looks to the Northern Chinese city of Tianjin, a location renowned for its martial arts culture, to start an academy. But to do so he must gain the approval of the area’s longstanding martial arts guild, through a combination of socio-political machinations and the requisite combat-based tests of his kung fu’s potency. Though he and his lone student are more than capable of meeting the challenge of the latter, it’s the former that proves untenable as duplicity and betrayal prove to be as deadly as knives and swords.

Written and directed by Xu Haofeng, screenwriter for Wong Kar-Wai’s acclaimed film The Grandmaster, The Final Master distinguishes itself from other genre entries by 1) changing up the martial arts action to be entirely bladed weapon combat and 2) giving as much attention to the social and political battles involved in trying to break into an entrenched, inflexible ruling class or culture. Consequently, The Final Master is more thought provoking (and ultimately tragic) compared to other films to share the well-trod  “I want to open a kung fu school” plot. The martial arts choreography is also expertly done and refreshing given the focus on the higher level kung fu skills required for knife and sword play. Recommended.

Video: 4/5

3D Rating: NA

Framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer features solid black levels, accurate contrast levels, and nicely saturated color. As with other Well Go titles, the film can have a somewhat digitized appearance, but this won’t likely be an issue for most viewers.

Audio: 4/5

Dialogue in the Chinese 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track is consistently crisp and clear. 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.

Special Features: 3/5

Weapons Featurette (3:25, HD): An overview of the various weapons used in the film.

Director Featurette (2:37, HD): The cast and crew talk about the director and his work.

Trailer (1:38, HD)

Trailers (5:30, HD)

  • God of War
  • The Game Changer
  • Railroad Tigers

DVD Copy

Overall: 4/5

Well Go USA turns in a solid high definition presentation for a notably refreshing martial arts film written and directed by the screenwriter for Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster. The special features have nothing worth repeat viewing, but the feature is recommended viewing, especially for fans of the genre.

Published by

Cameron Yee

administrator

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