Ip Man 4: The Finale
Starring Donnie Yen, Scott Adkins, Kent Cheng
Directed by Wilson Yip
Donnie Yen’s last hurrah as Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man is set in 1960s. Which means the pugilist is now in his 70s, even though he doesn’t look it. Lest we forget: this isn’t a History Channel biopic, but a brazen hagiography.
The formulaic and patchy fourquel, again helmed by Wilson Yip, is a retread of Ip Man 2 and Ip Man 3 (as well as the spin-off Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy) but in a different location, this time in San Francisco.
There, the preternaturally stoical Ip Man visits his protégé Bruce Lee (Danny Chan Kwok Kwan) but ends up embroiled in squabbles with bigoted Caucasians (represented by Scott Adkins’ karate-lovin’ US Marine Corps instructor) and rival martial arts sects in Chinatown (here comes another table fight).
Between the stylised Yuen Wo-Ping-choreographed brawls (including one where Bruce Lee shows off his fists of fury), there are sentimental (read: plodding) moments where Ip Man tries to patch things up with estranged son.
Ip Man is so reticent that he comes across as a supporting character in his own movie… until it’s time for him to open a can of whoop ass on the despicable bullies. That’s always gratifying to watch. (**1/2)
Photo: Shaw Organisation