• Ip Man 4: The Finale (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: April 21st, 2020.
    Director: Wilson Yip
    Cast: Donnie Yen, Scott Adkins, Danny Kwok-Kwan Chan, Vanness Wu, Vanda Margraf
    Year: 2019
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    Ip Man 4: The Finale – Movie Review:

    Once again directed by Wilson Yip and starring Donnie Yen in the title role, this forth Ip Man film sees Ip struggling with a defiant teenage son and experiencing first hand the difficulties of being a single parent. He’s also just learned that he has cancer, and that it is spreading quickly.

    When he gets an invitation from his most famous student, Bruce Lee (Danny Kwok-Kwan Chan), to come to San Francisco and attend a martial arts tournament in which Bruce will be competing, at first he declines until he realizes it would be a good opportunity for scope out an American school for his son to attend. Soon enough, he’s made the flight and connected with the Chinese Benevolent Association, who want him to Lee from teaching Chinese kung fu to western students. Ip Man refuses, insisting that teaching kung fu to westerners would only help the Chinese immigrants gain more acceptance in their new homeland.

    Meanwhile, Wan Yonah (Vanda Margraf), the daughter of the CBA’s chairman, gets bullied at school by racist American students around the same time that Hartman Wu (Vanness Wu) tries to introduce Chinese kung fu to the Marine Corp’s hand to hand combat training regiment. Ip Man is able to help Yonah and form a bond of sorts with her father, while Hartman must deal with a racist drill sergeant named Barton Geddes (Scott Adkins), eventually enlisting Ip Man’s aid in this arena as well.

    This is a movie that very much deals in black and white terms. Ip Man is, obviously, heroic but so too are pretty much all of the other Chinese characters, all of whom have to go up against a racist American at some point. This isn’t to take away from racism that Chinese immigrants have experienced over the years (and still do, especially at the time of this writing), but here it’s done in caricature, resulting in a film so predictable and riddled with clichés that at times it almost seems comical. Granted, at this point in time the series has morphed from biopic to pure fiction, but a little more creativity would have gone a long way in the storytelling department.

    That said, there are reason to see and enjoy this film. The action choreography from Yuen Wo Ping is up to his typically high standards and the fight scenes are exciting and intense – not just those involving Yen’s character, but all of them. On this level, the film is quite impressive. Likewise, Yen’s performance here is very good. He’s clearly quite comfortable in the role at this point in his career, and he carries himself with a dignity and grace that suits the persona of the character in the film. The rest of the cast? The Chinese actors all do perfectly fine here, they’re all quite good, but the same cannot be said of most of the Caucasian cast members, some of whom are pretty cringey. Scott Adkins, however, does make for an enjoyably over the top villain in the film, he really goes for it here and is a kick to watch as he beats the crap out of people and scenery alike. But this is, as you’d guess Yen’s show and he does make the most of it, handling the dramatic scenes just as well as the action set pieces.

    Ip Man 4: The Finale – Blu-ray Review:

    Well-Go USA presents Ip Man 4 in an AVC encoded 1080p 2.39.1 widescreen high definition transfer that looks excellent, taking up just under 32GBs of space on the 50GB disc. The quality of the image itself is generally remarkably detailed and crisp. The film was made with a certain style in mind and so it shouldn’t ever be the most colorful looking picture in the first place and this transfer does replicate that sort of sepia toned look that it had in theaters – but there are moments where the colors really pop, like the Mid-Autumn Festival scene where the red lanterns look really great. The movie uses a very bleak color scheme, with a lot of grays and browns and blacks and dark blues (long stretches take place inside Marine training facilities, for example), and, like the first three movies, parts of the film take on a ‘period feel’ appearance which we can probably assume was to give it an appropriately aged look. Contrast is good and skin tones are rendered fairly well and this definitely offers up more than standard definition can provide. The transfer is free of any obvious noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifacts. All in all, the image is very good and leaves little room for complaint.

    This disc offers up an excellent Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track in Cantonese with optional subtitles offered in English, French and both simplified and traditional Chinese. The Cantonese track, the film’s original language offering, sounds fantastic. There are frequent directional effects used throughout the film, and the score is spread out very nicely demonstrating appreciable depth throughout. The action scenes have a really strong weight to them, in that you’ll feel the various kicks and punches on impact – this helps give the movie more ambience and atmosphere and makes it a more involving watch. This disc sounds fantastic. An optional DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track is also provided in English.

    Extras are light, but we do get a two-minute Making Of featurette that is mostly just some clips from the film with occasional behind the scenes footage. Yen and Wilson Yip chime in as do a few other cast and crew members, about what makes the movie important. The 10-Year Legend is a two-minute piece where Yen talks about how the character has been an important part of his life for over a decade. Wilson Yip and Yuen Wo Ping show up here too, as do a few other actors, to talk about the importance of the character and Yen's portrayal of him. The Story is a two-and-a-half-minute featurette that basically just recaps the Ip Man story. None of these are of much substance.

    Two Chinese trailers and a US trailer round out the extras on the disc, which also includes menus and chapter selection options as well as previews for a few unrelated Well Go USA properties. As this is a combo pack release, we also get a DVD version of the movie that includes the same extras as are found on the Blu-ray disc.

    Ip Man 4: The Finale – The Final Word:

    Despite the obvious propaganda inherent in the story, Ip Man 4: The Finale is entertaining enough thanks to a strong performance from Yen and some rock-solid fight scenes. Well Go USA’s Blu-ray looks and sounds very good, though the extras are light. Hardly the best of the four films in the run, this is still worth seeing for fans of Yen and the character, just keep your expectations in check.

    Click on the images below for full sized Ip Man 4: The Finale Blu-ray screen caps!