Ip Man 4: The Finale Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

The Kung Fu master travels to San Francisco California in the late 1960s where his former student, Bruce Lee, has upset the Chinese martial arts community by opening a Wing Chun school. Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Ip Man 4: The Finale from Well Go USA.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

92

Details:

Studio and Year: Well Go USA – 2019
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 106 minutes
Genre: Drama/Action

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): Cantonese Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1
Subtitles: English, French, Chinese
Starring: Donnie Yen, Wu Yue, Van Ness, Scott Adkins, Kent Cheng, Chan Kwak, Kwan Danny, Kanin Ngo, Chris Collins, Vanda Margraf
Directed by: Wilson Yip
Music by: Kenji Kawai
Written by: Edmond Wong, Dana Fukazawa, Chan Tai Lee, Jil Leung, Lai Yin
Region Code: A

Release Date: April 21, 2020

“Injustice Will Not Be Tolerated”

Synopsis:

“The Kung Fu master travels to San Francisco California in the late 1960s where his former student, Bruce Lee, has upset the Chinese martial arts community by opening a Wing Chun school.” – Well Go USA.

My Take:

Donnie Yen 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 in search for a better scholastic future for his teenage son and, quickly finds himself caught in the middle of tensions between the local kung fu masters, his star student, Bruce Lee, and the ire of racist drill instructor at the local U.S. Marine bootcamp.

I am a fan of the first Ip Man film, enjoying its well-crafted script that blends elements of martial arts action and drama with pitch perfect pacing that makes it both engaging and evocative. While I enjoyed Ip Man 2 I found its David vs. Goliath story to be a bit clichéd and at times campy. Ip Man 3 doesn’t approach the level of the first or for the matter, the second film and, is a more or less throwaway. Frankly, I thought that Ip Man 3 would be the final installment in the series. Nope.

Ip Man 4: The Finale takes place in the late 1960s and finds Master Ip at a point where his health is failing, his wife has passed away and, he is struggling to connect with is obstinate teenage son who is determined to defy his father at every turn. Similar to the narrative construct in Ip Man 3, this film’s story revolves around several distinct plot points. The first involves Master Ip’s relationship with his son, the remainders all take place in America where Master Ip becomes embroiled in conflict that are a direct result of racial tensions and the local Chinese establishment’s response to his former pupil Bruce Lee opening a Wing Chung martial arts school.

Ip Man 4: The Finale has a thematic focus that addresses issues of bullying, racism, intolerance and, familial discord, while using them as a platform for the martial arts action that ensues as a result. In general, I was okay with the tone/context of the script but, there just a bit too much going on to allow a thorough fleshing out of each subplot. This was particularly the case with the Bruce Lee storyline which wasn’t integrated all that well and, had very little to do with all that happened. The primary villain was made to be nearly unstoppable and, the handwriting was on the wall for a standoff between him and Bruce Lee. Nope. Overall, the action is about what you’d expect, featuring solid martial arts choreography and another entertaining turn by Donnie Yen in the lead. The film takes the character through to his final conclusion in a meaningful way.

When all was said and done Ip Man 4: The Finale is derivative and mildly entertaining. As much as I enjoy the character and Donnie Yen’s portrayal this film falls squarely behind the first two in my book. Given that it closes out the story of Master Ip it is deserving of a place in my collection alongside the first two installments.

Replay Value: 3.0 Stars

Parental Guide:

The film contains sequences of martial arts violence, bullying and, brief strong language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

Ip Man 4: The Finale comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Well Go USA featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

Ip Man 4: The Finale was derived from 2.8K/3.4K sources and finished on a 2K Digital Intermediate for its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray. As a period-based film it was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind and, that comes through in this presentation. At times the image is nearly devoid of color, while at others, has a pleasingly diverse palate, that sets the mood of a scene. The image has a clean aesthetic, with ample delineation that draws out plenty of detail, in both close-up and wide-angle camera shots. Blacks are deep without compromise to fidelity, as the layers of detail seen with them is readily apparent. Contrast abounds as the richness of the depth seen in grays, whites and mid-tones pops in the film’s variety of low-level sequences. Fleshtones are wonderfully lifelike, and consistent throughout the presentation.

As I alluded to earlier Ip Man 4: The Finale isn’t a colorful film however its cooler chromatic hues, sepia tones and variants of blue/red benefited from UHD’s wider color gamut, appearing warmer and pleasing to the eye. There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. I wasn’t especially impressed with its application although some of that may be owed to the nature of the photography. There were instances where bright elements (such as the bullying encounter in the schoolyard) looked appreciably vibrant but, none really stood out.

This Ultra HD rendering makes the most of the film’s elements, which are excellent. Looking at the 1080p version, which is solid in its own right, the difference is noticeable, but not what I would describe as night and day. That being said, there is no question about which of the two makes for the more engaging viewing experience.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR10 presentations for Ip Man 4: The Finale, I found the HDR renderings to be very close. As I alluded to earlier, this film’s elements aren’t consistently lent to use of overtly bright color but, I did take a close look at the rendering of contrast, chromatic depth and delineation during scenes containing dark and bright highlights. When I switched back and forth between the DV and HDR10 renderings, I felt that the DV presentation revealed better definition in the darkest portions of the image, and slightly deeper primary color reproduction. These differences aren’t especially noteworthy, but in the grand scheme, made for a more pleasing image. At the end of the day both looked excellent, leaving me satisfied with what I saw.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that made engaging use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a blend of atmospherics and discrete effects. When applied it creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The sequence involving the earthquake in San Francisco is a good example as falling debris rains down from above.

Where this mix excels is in its use of the platform at ear level. There are a multitude of hand to hand fight sequences that show off the track’s blend of effects and smaller object sounds that create a wonderfully involving listening experience, that broadens the soundstage. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere as well as the integration of discrete object placement. I think that it complimented the source material and drew me into the film when it mattered most.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

 

Audio: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

 

Ip Man 4: The Finale comes to Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

This is an excellent high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective. Colors range from warm and vivid to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. Framed at 2.39:1 the images onscreen have excellent depth, and a stimulating visual aura. I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. Ip Man 4: The Finale looks great on Blu-ray.

The 7.1 soundtrack doesn’t disappoint. This is an active audio presentation that utilizes the entire system to create an involving listening experience. Sound staging is quite good as both the front and rear channels are seamlessly integrated. Sound effects traverse the room during the action sequences. Dynamics are energy filled and impact felt with discerning articulation and clarity. This is an active mix that makes regular use of the low frequency effects to accentuate its dynamic presence. The result is that where appropriate, points of contact resonate with tactility. Dialog has refining presence with clear vocal character and excellent room penetration. This is an entertaining audio presentation that compliments the film while making for a solid home theater experience.

NOTE: This title also includes an English Dubbed DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Ip Man 4: The Finale Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Ip Man 4: The Finale Blu-ray
  • Making of Featurette
  • Trailers

Final Thoughts:

Ip Man 4: The Finale is the final installment in the internationally acclaimed film series based on the life of the iconic Grand Master of Wing Chun. While not as fresh or entertaining as the first two installments in the franchise, it is certainly better than the last one and, musters enough action to close things off with a bang. It comes to Blu-ray from Well Go USA in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo featuring video quality and lossless sound (including a Dolby Atmos immersive listening track) that shine in Ultra HD and standard high definition on Blu-ray Disc.

When all was said and done Ip Man 4: The Finale is derivative and mildly entertaining. Given that it closes out the story of Master Ip, it is deserving of a place in my collection alongside the first two installments. If you’re a fan it’s easily worthy of purchase consideration otherwise, a rental should suffice.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems


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