Master Z: Ip Man Legacy review by Bobby Blakey
When Donnie Yen took in the role of Bruce Lee’s Master Ip Man in the 2008 film of the same name fans were blown away by the fights making it one of the most popular martial arts films in some time. It’s success spawned two sequels in 2010 and 2015 that were met with yet more acclaim. While we all thought it was done they went into production for a fourth film in the franchise, but that’s not all. While waiting for that they have yet another film spawned off the events at the end of Ip Man 3 with Master Z: Ip Man Legacy starring Dave Bautista, Liu Yan, Michelle Yeoh, Tony Jaa and Max Zhang reprising his role of Cheung Tin Chi with legendary action director Yuen Woo-Ping at the helm. Can this film live up to the Ip Man name or will it lose the fight?
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy follows Cheung Tin Chi who tries to make a life with his young son in Hong Kong, waiting tables at a bar that caters to expats following his defeat by Master Ip. But it’s not long before the mix of foreigners, money, and triad leaders draw him once again to the fight. I am always skeptical these days with anything related to the Ip Man films because the Yen trilogy is so great it is hard to follow. I loved the idea here and hoped for the best and thankfully was not disappointed. There are some elements that I felt fell short, but as a whole I still loved the film.
Zhang was a great addition to the Ip Man franchise in the third film and he is fully front and center here. He carries the film to perfection offering up another hero to root for within this same universe without feeling the need to compete with the other films. Getting to see the aftermath of losing to Ip Man makes it feel like a bigger universe than the one film and one that I am glad they chose to explore. Zhang is not only great as an actor here he brings some pretty awesome martial arts to the table as well. I must admit as much as I loved him I was more excited to see Yeoh, Bautista and Jaa here but wasn’t sure how much they would really get to do, but they all deliver.
Yeoh’s role is pretty tame for the majority of the film, but when she finally gets to cut lose brings her vintage fluid style showcasing her great skills as both actress and martial artist. Bautista plays a different kind of role that I was not expecting which is something I continue to love about the actor. As the story unfolds he gets more to do including a great major fight sequence. If I had an issue it was really with Jaa’s role, but mostly due to it being underused. He gets time to fight and do his thing like only he can, but it is the kind of role that doesn’t always fit or make a lot of sense in existing in this story. There is a completely different film there that I would love to see.
In the end this is not only a great companion piece to the Ip Man series, but also stand on its own. While you don’t have to see the others films as it does recap it for you it helps to know the story and see it to make it a bigger epic to get more invested in the character. This is a must have for fans of the Ip Man franchise so join the fight and grab your copy of Master Z: Ip Man Legacy available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Well Go USA.