(Release Info London schedule; December 23rd, 2019, Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare St, London E8 1HE, United Kingdom, 20:30)
"IP MAN 4"
Mixed martial arts superstar 'Ip Man' (Donnie Yen) is back for the final installment of 'The Ip Man Universe Franchise' in "Ip Man 4: The Finale". 'Ip Man' reprises his role as the legendary 'Wing Chun' master in the grand finale of the revolutionary martial arts series. Following the death of his wife, 'Ip Man' travels to San Francisco to ease tensions between the local 'Kung Fu' masters and his star student, Bruce Lee (Danny Chan), while searching for a better future for his son Ming (Jim Liu). From the action visionary behind "Kill Bill" and "The Matrix", witness the heroic sendoff to the saga that inspired a new wave of martial arts movie fans.
Donnie Yen ignites the screen in a return to his iconic role of 'Ip Man', the real-life 'Wing Chun Kung Fu Master' who mentored Bruce Lee. A kind father, a gentle and caring husband, a just and involved citizen. 'Wing Chung' legend 'Ip Man' is a brave and righteous national hero and martial arts master who has impacted an entire generation. A 'Grandmaster Of Wing Chun' from 'Foshan', 'Ip Man' spent his heydays in Hong Kong. He survived 'The Japanese' invasion of China and endured the injustice of colonial Hong Kong but still managed to defend Chinese dignity through martial arts. Not only is he a highly respected martial artist but also a family man devoted to his wife and children. After his wife’s death, he and his son gradually grew apart. While looking for a school in America for his son, he encounters racial discrimination. The injustice faced by overseas Chinese prompted him to take on the responsibility of a martial artist once again. A 'Tai-Chi' expert who emigrated to San Francisco with his father as a young man, Wan Zong Hua (Wu Yue) has started a new life abroad and has put up with years of racial discrimination and injustice. He set up 'The CCBA' in Chinatown to unite and help fellow overseas Chinese. But when Bruce Lee defies the rules of Chinatown and starts teaching martial arts to foreigners, enmity developed between Wan Zong Hua and 'Ip Man'. The grandmasters also failed to see eye to eye on the issue of national spirit. When 'The U.S.' Immigration gives him undue trouble, he decides to fight back.
Deeply influenced and inspired by 'Ip Man', Bruce Lee is an arrogant and gifted boy, a practitioner pursuing perfectionism and a rising star. In addition to 'Wing Chun', he also practiced other martial arts styles and is actively promoting Chinese martial arts. He invites 'Ip Man' to watch him perform at 'The International Karate Championship' in America. He starts teaching martial arts to foreigners and published manuals on Chinese martial arts in English. In doing so, he offenders 'The CCBA' but he receives endorsement from 'Ip Man' regarding his martial arts philosophy. The film uses 'CG' techniques to revive Bruce Lee on the big screen. All rights are generally divided between his surviving brother, Robert Lee, for the work Bruce Lee completed before his marriage; and the late Linda Lee Cadwell, Bruce Lee’s widow, for the work that Bruce Lee completed after his marriage. Bruce Lee remains to be 'Master Ip Man’s' most accomplished disciple, and the film presents the best visual representation of Bruce Lee for this installment of 'The Ip Man' films.
Hartman Wu (Van Ness) is a 'Chinese-American' officer of 'The U.S. Marine Corps'. He takes an interest in Chinese martial arts after reading Bruce Lee’s book. He becomes Bruce Lee’s protégé and wants to incorporate Chinese martial arts into the hand combat training of 'The Marine Corps'. But his white supremacist commanding officer Barton Geddes (Scott Adkins) is repulsed by the idea and caused a series of conflicts between east and west cultures. He arranges for 'Ip Man' to fight Barton to prove that different cultures have their own merits. As hand combat instructor of 'The U.S. Marine Corps', Barton is a white supremacist who subscribes to 'American Imperialism'. He vehemently stopps Hartman from bringing Chinese martial arts into 'The Corps' and orders Collins to defeat the representatives of different martial arts sects and mercilessly beat up Wan Zong Hua as a manifestation of white supremacy. When he personally takes on 'Ip Man', he finally got a taste of his own medicine. Outsourced 'Karate' instructor for 'The U.S. Marine Corps', Collins Frater (Chtis Collins) is a firm believer that karate is invincible and sneers at Chinese martial arts. On Barton’s order, Collins shows up in 'Chinatown' on 'Mid-Autumn Festival' and defeats the representatives of different sects. He’s ultimately defeated by 'Ip Man'.
Practiced by 'Ip Man' in the film and in real life, 'Wing Chun' is initially derided as only being suitable for girls. They change their tune quickly, however, after seeing the ferociousness with which 'Ip Man' effortlessly defeats opponents. Accounts on the origin of 'Wing Chun' differ, but the most common version names southern 'Shaolin' nun 'Ng Mui' as it's founder. While visiting 'Foshan' in 'Guangdong' in the late 'Qing Dynasty', 'Ng Mui' came across 'Yim Wing-Chun', the beautiful daughter of a tofu vender who was often harassed by local gangsters. To help her defend herself, 'Ng Mui' then taught her select moves that were suitable for girls. Being a talented learner, 'Yim Wing-Chun' soon gained a grasp on the essence of the moves. She developed a series of moves for practice and named them 'Wing Chun'.
Developed as a method of self-defense for women, 'Wing Chun' is a practical school of boxing characterized by it's tall and narrow stance, relaxed softness, and directness of action in contrast with the low and wide stance and high-impact moves of other schools. Toward the end of the reign of 'Emperor Jiaquin', 'Master Yim' married 'Leung Bok-Sau' and taught him all she had learned. Leung eventually taught 'Wing Chun' to 'Wong Wah-Bo' and 'Leung Yi-Tai' on a boat in exchange for the manual of the six and a half point pole, which has since become an essential weapon used by 'Wing Chun' practitioners. 'Wong Wah-Bo' passed his 'Wing Chun' skills to 'Leung Chun', a respected local doctor with a very good reputation, extensive social network, and a passion for martial arts. Despite his wide exposure in martial arts, he was hardly satisfied with his skills until he learned 'Wing Chun' from 'Wong'.
Recognizing the superb tactics and mastery of power and stance in 'Wing Chun', 'Leung' put his heart into it and mastered 'The Siu Nim Tau', 'Chum Kiu' ('Seeking Bridge') and 'Bil Jee' ('Darting Fingers') forms, as well as wooden dummy boxing, the six and a half point pole, and eight slashing knives. He also put 'Wing Chun' to practical use and gave local bullies and gangsters a hard time. 'Wing Chun' became well-known in 'Lingnan' as a result, while 'Leung' acquired fame as 'The King Of Wing Chun'. However, being a philanthropist, 'Leung' spent most of his time on his medical practice instead of 'Wing Chun' teaching, and only 'Chan' and 'Leung Bik' learned 'Wing Chun' from him. Although the legend was known by many, it was only practiced by a few and was therefore regarded as a mystery. Living in 'Chan' village in 'Foshan', 'Chan Wah-Shun' worked as a money changer in his youth and was known as 'Money Changer Wah'. He frequently visited Leung’s clinic for work and eventually became 'Leung’s' pupil and learned the essence of his art. After the death of 'Leung', more and more people approached 'Wah' for guidance on 'Wing Chun'. 'Wah' then quit his work as a money changer and concentrated on 'Wing Chun' teaching. He was the first 'Wing Chun Master' to establish his own wushu school. Apart from boxing sequences and individual moves, 'Chi Sau' ('hand-sticking') is another important element of 'Wing Chun' that requires extensive training to master. One-on-one coaching is required and 'Wah' was obliged to keep only a few pupils and charge expensive rates.
Therefore, most of his pupils were boys from rich families and 'Wing Chun' acquired a reputation as boxing for rich boys. Among 'Wah's' pupils were 'Ng Chung-Sok', 'Ho Hon-Lui', 'Lui Yu-Chai', his own son 'Chan Yu-Gum', and 'Ip Man', his last pupil, who would eventually turn 'Wing Chun' into one of the most popular Chinese martial arts. 'Ip' joined 'Wah’s' wushu school at the age of seven. Then an old man, 'Wah' was very fond of the boy and taught him with great devotion. After the death of 'Wah', 'Ng Chung-Sok', his first pupil, took very good care of 'Ip' and continued to guide him in his practice. After three years of hard work, 'Ip' had learned the essence of 'Wah's' skills. Relocating to Hong Kong to pursue his studies, 'Ip', then 16 years old, met 'Leung Bik', the second son of 'Leung Chun'. 'Ip' then studied under 'Leung Bik' for three years. It proved a great opportunity for him, and Ip saw great advancement in his skills. Upon his return to 'Foshan', 'Ip' supported the cause of justice with his expertise in martial arts and once again brought great fame to the art of 'Wing Chun'. However, with the invasion of 'The Japanese', 'Ip' fled with his family and did not have a chance to teach. After 'The Sino-Japanese War', 'Ip' revisited Hong Kong and settled down to teach 'Wing Chun'. After painstaking scouting, he found a teaching job at a restaurant employees union on 'Tai Nam' street in 'Sham Shui Po' with the recommendation of his friend 'Li Man', and took up a career in teaching.
Well-educated in western science and reason, 'Ip' taught 'Wing Chun' in a scientific manner, stressing the importance of logic, line, and angle of attack, control of force, and psychology, among other things. He also abandoned the traditional way of teaching and encouraged learners to look further than specific moves and instead try to grasp the essence, and strike as their hearts pleased. Ip taught differently according to the abilities of each pupil, ensuring each of them learned efficiently and developed their own talents. The art of 'Wing Chun' flourished with 'Ip’s' new way of teaching. Unlike many other teachers, 'Ip' encouraged his pupils to engage in combat with outsiders in order to understand their own weaknesses. This helped spread the name of 'Wing Chun' throughout the city and attracted many talented young people to 'Ip’s' school. The late kung fu superstar, Bruce Lee, who introduced Chinese martial arts to the world, was one of them. 'Ip' spent a lifetime teaching 'Wing Chun' and many of his pupils enjoyed great success, gaining enormous fame for the art of 'Wing Chun' in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and 'Southeast Asia'. With his invaluable contribution to the development of 'Wing Chun', 'Ip" came to be regarded as one of the greatest masters by 'Wing Chun' practitioners. From a method of self-defense for women, 'Wing Chun' developed into a powerful practical combat martial art over several decades, and from it's origin in 'Foshan', it has established fame and a keen following in different corners of the world. Highly regarded around the world, it's now the most popular form of 'Chinese Wushu' among foreigners. There's an agreed account on it's origin and development; founded by 'Yim Wing-Chun', the art took roots in the hands of 'Leung Chun' and blossomed under 'Ip Man'.