Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Final Master
Releases November 11th 2015 (Taiwan), June 3rd 2016 (Limited - USA)
1 hr 49 mins
Not Rated
Action, Adventure, Drama


Director: Xu Haofeng
Writer: Xu Haofeng

Liao Fan as Master Chen
Jiang Wenli as Master Zou - The Madame
Chin Shi-Chieh as Zheng Shan’ao - The Grandmaster
Song Jia as Zhao Guohui – Mistress Chen
Song Yang as Geng Liangchen – The Apprentice
Huang Jue as Lin Xiwen – The Colonel
Maidina as Tea Girl
Ma Jun as Head Coolie
Chen Guantai as Dojo Head

In order to open a martial arts school in the Northern Center to fulfill his master’s dying wish of passing down the art, a Wing Chun practitioner has to send an apprentice to secretly challenge and defeat eight martial arts schools.

Review by Stephen M.

The Final Master which is a tale of a Wing Chun master trying to open a martial arts school to pass on his legacy faces roadblocks from the established schools.  Stylistically not as jaw dropping as Tony Leung's The Grandmaster but rather focuses on its strength in fight choreography like Donnie Yen's Ip Man series.  But aside from the incredibly intricate fight scenes, the film lacks the coherent simplicity of an Ip Man film or the charm of its lead character.

Liao Fan plays the lead character Master Chen who wishes to open a school.  Who knew it would be so difficult as politics come into play as schools provide large incomes to their masters and backers.  Master Chen in attempting to toe the line with allegiances and trickery takes on a local as an apprentice with the mindset of using him in any means possible.  The number of characters that Master Chen has to deal with and each having their own agenda as double crosses are the order of the day, the plot becomes muddle and difficult to follow.  The ending for me was a bit unsatisfying.  Aside from Song Jia as Zhao Guohui and Maidina as Tea Girl, most of the cast lack personality to endure to, especially the male leads.

Overall I would recommend catching the film especially if you're into martial arts films.  Even though it may not be the best martial arts film you will have seen, it should be the best that you will have seen released this year thus far.  Their use of solely weapons which is not very common in movies of fighters that practices Wing Chun is quite interesting.  And especially the battle scenes with the long broad swords against Master Chen's knives is a sight to behold.  The film is out this Friday in limited release (AMC Empire 25 in New York), catch it if it's playing in your area.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,