Ip Man: The Final Fight Explores the Limits of Kung Fu Once the Fighting is Done

<i>Ip Man: The Final Fight</i> Explores the Limits of Kung Fu Once the Fighting is Done

"If a man can't even make ends meet, what good is kung fu to him?" Ip Man, legendary trainer of Bruce Lee, ponders this question after a distressing reunion with some old friends in Herman Yau's Ip Man: The Final Fight, a film that's less a kung-fu movie and more a meditation on kung fu's limitations. Not that there aren't fights: There's an impressively staged "lion dance" on a ring of wooden pilings, and the "final fight" in the lawless walled city of Kowloon sets the blood racing. Not quite a biopic, the film presents an overview of Ip's years in Hong Kong; Anthony Wong's dignified performance begins with the grandmaster almost fully formed. Largely episodic, the narrative discards characters and concepts (Ip's destitute friends, a restaurant workers' strike) with little explanation but the passage of time. The two main throughlines are likewise a mixed bag. When one of Ip's students, a cop (Jordan Chan), becomes corrupted, the story reaches a predictable if satisfying end. Meanwhile, Ip himself feels a growing affection for a pretty local singer (Zhou Chuchu), despite his wife back home and the disapproval of his students. In the face of that, what can kung fu do?

Location Info


Cinema Village

22 E. 12th St.
New York, NY 10003

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: East Village


Ip Man: The Final Fight
Directed by Herman Yau
Well Go USA
Opens September 20, Cinema Village

Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast

Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast


Now Showing

Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

Box Office Report

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!