Ip Man 4: The Finale Image

Ip Man 4: The Finale

By Alan Ng | July 20, 2020

Like most Kung-Fu movies, there are several plotlines to juggle. The important ones involve Master Wu’s daughter Yonah (Vanda Margraf), who is taunted by the white kids at school, especially the blond head cheerleader. Not knowing she is Master Wu’s daughter, Ip Man rescues her as she takes down the entire football team. Unfortunately, the cheerleader’s father is an INS agent and wants to deport everyone in Chinatown for what Yonah apparently did to his daughter.

Another storyline involves the U.S. Marines. In the 70s, the Marines started to employ Karate as a part of its combat regimen. Thinking that by adding Kung-Fu as a viable combat skill, officer Hartman Wu (Van Ness) offers to teach Chinese martial arts only to be beaten down by his white supremacist commanding officers Barton Geddes (Scott Adkins) and Collins Frater (Chris Collins), who have embraced Karate (as white supremacists do). To show their Karate training is superior, the martial arts team goes down to San Francisco Chinatown and beats down on every grandmaster in a public display of humiliation.

Look, we don’t watch martial arts films for the story, acting, or sense of history. We’re here for the action, and there’s a lot of it. Like its predecessors, Ip Man 4: The Finale employs the gravity-defying style of Kung Fu. The fights are fantastical and tell the David and Goliath story of the Chinese underdog. Check out the Bruce Lee sequence in the middle of the film. It’s worth the price of admission.

“…we don’t watch martial arts films for the story, acting…We’re here for the action…”

The flaws in Ip Man 4: The Finale are typical to Chinese films in general. Chinese acting is overly dramatic with emotions living at the extremes, either at a subdued level of one or an over-the-top level ten.

The film also takes a few shots at the current climate in the U.S. with proclamations about America being a country of immigrants. The villains are particularly evil as the story leans heavy on the white supremacist angle.

Lastly, there is a logic problem with the story. If Hartman Wu wants to prove kung-fu is better than karate, then why is it only Ip Man who can defeat his foe. You’re just going to have to overlook the film’s logic and story problems to get to the martial arts action. It’ll be worth it.

Ip Man 4: The Finale is a thrilling end to the Ip Man saga. The action is fast-paced, and the fighting is poetic. The story not only brings a modern twist to the legend but is just as relevant today as it was in the 70s. But again, you’re really here just for the action.

Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019)

Directed: Wilson Yip

Written: Tai-lee Chan, Hiroshi Fukazawa, Lai-Yin Leung, Edmond Wong

Starring: Donnie Yen, Wu Yue, Chan Kwok Kwan Danny, Van Ness, Scott Adkins, Chris Collins, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Ip Man 4: The Finale Image

"…their problem is with one of Ip Man’s pupils, Bruce Lee..."

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