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"Ip Man: The Final Fight": Bruce Lee's Teacher Comes Back for More 

Wednesday, Sep 18 2013
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Ip Man: The Final Fight There's no getting around the enormous horde of films about or relating to the real-life Wing Chun grandmaster — he who trained Bruce Lee — that has poured forth from Hong Kong in recent years. You'll just have to fight your way through them, advisedly without ever slowing down to wonder how many Ip Man movies finally will be enough. Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster has a way of making all the others seem artless by comparison, but this effort from director Herman Yau and screenwriter Erica Lee offers a good try for historical sweep (it sprawls into memoirish family-epic drama, with voiceover narration from the master's son), many fancy crane shots, and the excellent casting of Anthony Wong in the title role. When this guy says, "It's hard for a pupil to find a good master, but for a master to find good pupils it's even harder," you get the impression that he really knows what he's talking about. He's a paragon of honor, scholarly wisdom, seasoned charisma, and of course completely badass moves — through which we observe, for instance, how a relatively dignified incident of defending a nightclub singer's honor escalates into a street fight, followed by exaggerated newspaper reports thereof, followed by aphoristic op-ed poetry, followed by a cleverly combat-intensive sort of reconciliation, followed by unending legend.

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Jonathan Kiefer

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SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

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