The fourth installment of the Ip Man franchise made its debut in theaters last year and continues to attract massive audiences around the world. Ip Man: The Final Chapter took a bold step forward for the series, making it the last movie in the Ip Man saga and leaving the question of what would happen next in the fans' minds.
The movie is a direct sequel to the third sequel trilogy of Ip Man that is based on the very first two movies of the original trilogy. These movies followed the exploits of a mercenary named Sun "Ip" Chan (Tony Jaa) who fights in many wars from the Himalayas to the Middle East. In his pursuit of revenge against an evil regime, he joins the forces of the evil ISA for various mercenary jobs. He uses his Ip Man weapons system in order to fight and kill aliens, other criminals and the dreaded government soldiers known as the ISA.
The story begins when the newly elected ISA chief-of-staff played by Kwon Sang-am (Yang Hye-rim) is killed by one of his underlings in front of the president. The only problem is that the president of the republic is a female named Yeong-sook (Kim Tae-woo) who is also the daughter of the newly elected ISA chief-of-staff. The country is immediately plunged into chaos because of the sudden change in the government. This is where Ip and his Ip Man friends come in.
Ip has finally accepted the fact that his dead girlfriend is responsible for his troubles, but he wants to prove that he is more than just a "soldier's soldier". To this end, he decides to have two Ip Man weapons delivered to the capital city of Aja City, where he intends to show off his skills to its rulers. Things begin to go wrong when Yeong-sook suspects that it may be in league with the terrorists in Aja, and she orders the destruction of his weapons.
Ip decides to travel to Aja to retrieve his weapons, but the people of Aja are not impressed by his Ip Man weapons' antics. After Ip is separated from his friends, he discovers that the terrorists had kidnapped and tortured a princess from Aja. The princess tells Ip about the existence of the five blueprints and these blueprints hold the key to the success of a mission to another dimension known as Dimension C, which the terrorists want to gain access to. The rest of the movie revolves around Ip meeting the princess' kidnappers and trying to find the last blueprints so that he can stop the terrorist mission.
Like most of the other installments of the Ip Man franchise, the movie had an unusually unique visual style that Ip's movie moves at a slow pace. This works well with the slow pace and allows the movie to be much more interesting than some of the fast-paced Hollywood action movies like Green Zone or The Last Samurai. The movie also employs a classic Ip Man story and action set-up that are quite entertaining.
If you haven't already noticed, Ip Man movies follow a typical Ip Man story line and the format of an Ip Man TV show in which Ip is the host, but it was refreshing to see an Ip Man movie that didn't make me feel like watching a series of rehashed and recycled Ip Man stories. Most of the Ip Man movies made up the first two installments of the series and gave the series a very familiar and predictable formula that many viewers just could not wait to see Ip getting into trouble.
Still, this is the last Ip Man movie and I am sure that a lot of fans are hoping that the next Ip Man movie will not be the last of the Ip Man series. While I'm no fan of the Ip Man TV series, I do love the Ip Man movies so I'm definitely looking forward to the next one.