Sunday, July 14, 2019

Master Z: Ip Man Legacy - Fantasia 2019 Movie Review

The Movie: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

The Director: Yuen Woo-Ping

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

The Story: While keeping a low profile after his defeat by Ip Man, Cheung Tin Chi gets into trouble after getting in a fight with a powerful foreigner.

The Review:
The Ip Man series of movies which stars Donnie Yen has been a real treat for fans of martial arts history even if it is an exaggerated and stylized version of the man's life, it's still a lot of fun to watch. Master Z is the first official spin off of what I guess we can call a franchise and the story focuses on Cheung Tin Chi who has been in a bit of a downward spiral since losing a challenge fight with Ip Man as seen in Ip Man 3.

Visually, this movie follows it's predecessors by maintaining the look and feel of the time period which is late 50's, early 60's Hong Kong. The movie is filled with bright colors, neon signs, and opulent set pieces and the action is just as bold with Michelle Yeoh, Tony Jaa, and Dave Bautista filling out the primary cast of characters. Tony Jaa has a really small role in the film only popping up a couple times at random moments although I get the impression his character is setting the table for something bigger in future movies.

It's always interesting to see American and English actors playing roles in Chinese or Hong Kong produced cinema and especially in period pieces as the performances often come off as wooden and kind of fake although I think that's actually intentional as a way to fit the time period as well. That being said, Bautista fits in nicely and is able to show off some of that fun personality that earned him a spot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and, of course, having a sports entertainment background in the WWE, he is more than capable of holding his own in whatever fight scenes he is involved in.

The Verdict:
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy pits the martial arts master up against drug lords and corrupt cops in a story that is very familiar but still works thanks to strong performances and a visual style that is beautiful to look at at. With legendary film maker Yuen Woo-Ping in the director's chair, you really can't go wrong.

Master Z: Ip Man Legacy is an official selection of the 2019 Fantasia International Film Festival.

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