Martial arts films are genre films by excellence. You know what to expect going in. The best martial arts films are the ones that deliver on that expectation. If you have a movie with a martial arts expert that has retired from practicing, you know you’re going to see that character taking back the mantle to confront a great injustice or the death of a loved one. You can’t make one of these movies without a hero moment. The audience wants to cheer and applaud, and you better give them a chance to do just that.
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy is directed by Yuen Woo-Ping and written by Chan Tai Lee and Edmond Wong. It is a spin off the Ip Man franchise, based on his rival, Cheung Tin-chi (Max Zhang) who has retired from martial arts and has established a grocery store. One day he intervenes as a group of hoodlums lead by Tso Sai Kit (Kevin Cheng) are harassing Nana (Chrissie Chau) and Julia (Liu Yan) for money. That sets off a chain of events that will involve the leader of the triad gang, Tso Ngan Kwan (Michelle Yeoh), and the foreign owner of the steakhouse, Owen Davidson (Dave Batista).
The story starts small and brings the cast in gradually in a very natural manner. The movie does give each character a distinct personality and unique traits. It also has some legitimately awesome fighting scenes. Some involving wires and some where you’re not quite sure if the performers did that through wires or physical prowess. The story might be predictable, but the writing is solid all things considered. If you want to have fun, you will and there’s enough humour to lighten up the mood.
Highly recommended for martial arts enthusiasts or anybody looking for an action comedy. Expect some wicked martial arts choreography. Expect over-the-top duels for honour and pride. Add in some decent character-driven plot with sets and wardrobe keeping the time period. The cinematography is quite good, the colours pop out of the screen. Once you get a taste of action, it’s hard to see anything else. This movie has exactly what you want from it and knows what kind of movie it is. All your expectations will be met, improved upon and exceeded.
That will do for now.