There have been numerous takes on the life of legendary Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man but none have made as much of an impact as the two Donnie Yen films. There was word of a third film in the works, but while that film doesn’t seem to moving as of now, there have been a couple of others lately including the latest take Ip Man: The Final Fight with Anthony Wong stepping into the role of Ip Man, but does this film hold its own to the previous incarnations of the icon?
Ip Man: The Final Fight follows Ip Man in postwar Hong Kong who is reluctantly called forced into action when simple challenges from rival kung fu styles soon draw him into the dark and dangerous underworld of the Triads. This take on the story takes place later in his life and sports a much older Ip Man who seems more at peace than ever. Wong does an excellent job with this version of the legendary martial artist bringing a sense of strength, wisdom, and compassion that the character needs to work. While there aren’t near as many fights as you may hope, the ones that are here are really well done and entertaining to watch. With all of these films there is always one ongoing aspect that never changes, the way he carries himself in combat. Each actor brings their own spin to it and while some are better than others, they all play it the same and Wong knocks it out of the park. Fans that have been eager to see the interaction with Ip and Bruce Lee will get a little tease as they do touch on this aspect more than any of the other films to date.
Sure this is film is about one of the most iconic martial artists in history, but it’s not so much about his art as it is about the man’s struggle for peace in both life and his heart. While some will enjoy the fights or the Bruce Lee aspect, it’s the addition of getting to see him shooting the legendary film of him training on the wooden dummy that gives it the feel of nostalgia and brings the depths of his impact to the frontline and ends with perfection. While we wait for the next chapter of the Donnie Yen trilogy this latest take is sure to please fans and as an added bonus keep an eye out to see if you can spot Ip Man’s real life son Ip Chun.