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Review: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

Max Zhang and Michelle Yeoh star in Well Go USA's MASTER Z: IP MAN LEGACY

The cinematic legacy of Ip Man looks to continue with the next release of the franchise which saw Donnie Yen as the legendary martial artist. The major difference is that the man who is known for training Bruce Lee isn’t the main focus anymore. That role is now being handed to Master Z (played by Max Zhang), the antagonist who went against him in the previous picture.

Following his defeat at the hands of Master Ip, Cheung Tin Chi (Zhang) finds himself having no choice but to move on. In doing so, he’s busy trying to rebuild his life with his young son in Hong Kong by waiting tables at a bar. In his mind, almost everything from his previous life is worthless and his desire to fight or even train has all but evaporated. To this point, nothing has been able to alter his way of thinking, but the rise of crime in his neighborhood may be the only thing that can.

Of course, we all figured that the hotly contested fights and consistent action would drive Master Z: Ip Man Legacy more than anything. And while that’s certainly the case, I would have actually preferred more action than they actually have. What’s here is frequent and a pleasure to watch, but including more of it could have allowed for it to maintain a slightly quicker pace during certain parts when things slow down just a bit.

The vibe we get here from all of the action will likely remind you of what was seen in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to some degree. What we get within each scene has the same flow to go along with similar movements from its combatants. They’re not flying as high obviously, but the resemblance is there. The main reason for that is because the director of this movie was the choreographer of that critically acclaimed release.

To make things faster during the fight scenes in Ip Man Legacy, they tend to speed things up to where it could be a bit too jerky for some. Staying away from shaking the cameras makes this acceptable though. In modern American action, filmmakers tend to either get carried away with too much of that or too much cutting during fights. In this instance, they chose to show us all that’s happening while changing angles as infrequent as possible.

The fights are the backbone of what’s going on in Master Z: Ip Man Legacy, but there were obviously going to be moments where things settle down a bit. This gives us a chance to engage with the characters and learn about them a bit more. Through this, they’re also able to intertwine things that allow for growing conflict to build and keep everything moving forward while also generating some form of suspense.

Although the subtitle is Ip Man Legacy, there is very little of the character involved. He’s mentioned on a few occasions, but he’s not all that important to most of what’s going on. Obviously, his name is attached with the hopes of getting more attention for the film more than anything else. Based on what’s here, you could have legitimately ignored his entire existence by making a few alterations and had a movie that existed completely outside of Ip Man and his legacy.

When we do get a dose of Ip Man (played by Donnie Yen), we get him by way of flashbacks. They also reference him a couple of times, but other than that, this is all about Master Z and how he’s been handling life after the events of the last film. The connection that leads us to where we are can make things highly engaging for those viewers who enjoyed that film and will probably make what’s taking place more impactful.

Because of the action, you can still enjoy what Master Z is delivering even if you haven’t been following the Ip Man series of films. There may be a few holes to plug in, but Master Z: Ip Man Legacy is the kind of martial arts picture that delivers on its promise to give you what you want. For that reason alone I can suggest this to people. As I said earlier, you could find some issues with how it’s given to us, but I think it will please most who check it out.

Rating: NR

Director: Yuen Woo-Ping

Cast:
Max Zhang
Dave Bautista
Liu Yan
Michelle Yeoh
Tony Jaa

Film Length: 108 minutes

Release Date: April 12, 2019 (U.S.)

Distributor: Well Go USA

Country: Hong Kong

  • 7/10
    Score - 7/10
7/10
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