The final chapter of the IP Man series has arrived and Donnie Yen and director Wilson Yip are back to close out the story of Wing Chun master IP Man aka Yip Man. In this exciting fourth installment, the martial arts master heads to San Francisco to seek a better life for he and his son. As expected the movie has some great martial arts sequences but ultimately the theme is about family and acceptance.I have always been a fan of Donnie Yen’s work and the IP Man franchise has solidified him as one of the premiere martial arts actors in history. His performance in this movie takes us to the end of IP Man’s life and Yen is able to transition this well.
When we last saw the character, his wife had passed of cancer and he is now the sole parental figure in his son’s life. Sadly we find out that IP Man himself is facing the same fate and there is a lot that needs to be done to set his son’s life on the right track. On top of all this, his greatest student Bruce Lee, played by Danny Kwok-Kwan Chan, has stirred up a hornet’s nest in America and IP Man must go to the states to face an angry Chinese Benevolant Society who are not happy with Lee’s opening of dojos and teaching them kung fu. The master of the Tai Chi school, Wan Zong Hua, believes that outsiders should not be taught martial arts as Lee has opened his doors to everyone who wants to learn. IP Man agrees with his former student because he believes that everyone should be able to practice the martial arts form of their choice. This is an overall theme of the movie and it is interesting to see this turning point in the evolution of martial arts. We see a dichotomy of cultures as they clash showing us the racial tensions that existed at that time. The clash of culture is interesting and some of my favorite scenes include the US army where IP Man must face a karate master, played by Chris Collins, who has been tasked with teaching the soldiers. I love this because it shows the century long discordance between the Japanese and Chinese cultures still existing in the modern day. All this sets up a whirlwind of sequences that overall construct a very well-made film.
IP Man 4: The Finale is a worthy finish to the series and these films will sit as some of my favorite martial arts period films of all time. I am glad that Yen decided to return to the franchise to close out the story of this classic and exciting historical story. IP Man 4: The Finale is now available on 4K, Blu-ray and Digital.
*Editor’s Note: A review copy of this movie was provided