Film Review: Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy

Having been defeated behind closed doors by Ip Man, Cheung Tin Chi (Jin Zhang) leaves the martial arts world behind for a simpler life. He ekes out a living in his small grocery and takes care of his son Fung (Henry Zhang). Fate throws him into the path of two young women in trouble. Nana (Chrissie Chau) is a drug addict who is trying to quit but owes her dealer, and Julia (Yan Liu) is her best friend, who is also engaged to her brother.  When the dealer has Nana beat up for non-payment, Julia defends her, but they are badly outnumbered until they literally run into Cheung, who comes to the rescue. The drug dealer, Tso Sai Kit (Kevin Cheng) is very upset at what has happened, and he has his men set fire to Cheung’s store, intending to kill him. But Cheung manages to escape with his son.

They run into Julia, who offers to take them in, and takes them to her brother Chiu Kam Fu (Xing Yu),

who owns the Gold Bar. Julia gives them a place to live and Fu gives him a job. When Tin Chi earns some money, he treats his new friends to a birthday dinner for Fung at a local steakhouse owned by American businessman Davidson (Dave Bautista). Meanwhile, Kit’s sister Tso Ngan Kwan (Michelle Yeoh) as head of her family business, decides they need to go legitimate. Kit is none too pleased at this news. And he is also determined to kill Cheung.

Going straight is not as easy as it sounds. Hong Kong is still under British rule, and the local police are corrupt, working hand in hand with the drug dealers. Innocent people don’t stand a chance.  But there comes a time when you can’t pretend you don’t see, and you have to stand up for what is right.

Master Z is part of the Ip Man series, continuing from the third movie, after Cheung’s defeat by Ip Man.  However, as all good movies do, Cheung’s character grows from his adversities, and is a very fitting protagonist for this film. Dave Bautista is great as the villain, and I have to say I think he was a good choice for this, a better choice than Mike Tyson was. There is a lot of action and fighting in this film, and everything is beautifully choreographed, including Michelle Yeoh’s scenes. She was a great character, caught between her love for her wayward brother and her desire to run a business untainted by illegalities.

I enjoyed this film very much, and found it to be a fitting entry in the Ip Man series. I read there may be a sequel. I would love to see that. I’ll give this film 4 Stars


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