Donnie Yen Shines ‘Ip Man 4: The Finale’ Again
“IP MAN 4: THE FINAL”
In Mandarin, Cantonese and English with subtitles.
Unclassified. At AMC Loews Boston Common and Suburban Theaters.
The “Ip Man” film series directed by Wilson Yip and starring Hong Kong martial arts great movie star Donnie Yen of Boston told the story of the great Wing Chun master whose films carry the name. The strengths of the movies have always been the martial arts fights themselves. directed by the legendary Sammo Hung or Yuen Woo-Ping and an uncredited Yen.
Ip Man, calm and dignified by Yen, is a widower, father and teacher of the Wing Chun style of Kung Fu. He has a school in Hong Kong in the early 1960s, although at the start of “Ip Man 4” he is in San Francisco, where he attends a tournament to see his protege Bruce Lee (an affable Kwok-Kwan Chan) fight .
Ip Man was diagnosed with cancer, despite being told he could survive with treatment. He’s also in California trying to land a spot for his unruly teenage son. He runs into trouble when the president of the Chinatown Business Association and other Kung Fu grandmasters challenge Bruce Lee and his landmark martial arts book, which reveals the secrets of Chinese combat to non-Chinese.
The script by Tai-lee Chan and other series regulars is the usual weak point with its stereotypical villains and poorly translated dialogue. But at the center of it all is Yen, who starred in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” I honestly have no idea why his performance as a Zatoichi Chirrut Imwe-style blind warrior monk hasn’t led to more roles in American movies.
Highlights from the previous three films (there is also another series of Ip Man films) can be seen during the action of “Ip Man 4”. Siu-Keung Cheng’s cinematography is a big plus.
Like previous films, the film’s white characters, who are meant to be American, sound oddly British or Australian, because they are. Englishman Scott Adkins displays his incredible martial arts skills as the film’s main villain, a martial arts expert Sergeant Marine Gunnery. Yes, everything is basically a countdown to the big showdown between Yen and Adkins. But, oh, what a confrontation it is. Long live Ip Man and Donnie Yen.
(“Ip Man 4: The Finale” contains martial arts movie-style violence.)