In the world of Chinese martial arts cinema, one franchise reigns supreme in our minds. Whether or not you’ve seen it, Donnie Yen’s Ip Man series is probably something you’ve heard about. Why? Because Ip Man was a real person, made famous as the man who trained Bruce Lee to be Bruce Lee. In fact, he’s gained so much popularity that it seems like Bruce Lee is the phony while Ip Man was the real deal, the person we should all be focusing on, instead. Now, because he was a real person, they couldn’t copyright the character, so multiple films have used his character in varying ways, but none of those films were as good as the Ip Man franchise. When I first of Master Z: Ip Man Legacy, I figured it was just another unofficial film. However, it is connected to Donnie Yen’s franchise. It is simply a spinoff. Is that a good thing or a bad thing, though? Let’s find out!
After being defeated by Ip Man, Cheung Tin Chi is attempting to keep a low profile. While going about his business, he gets into a fight with a foreigner by the name of Davidson, who is a big boss behind the bar district. Tin Chi fights hard with Wing Chun and earns respect.Mandarin Motion Pictures
The easiest way to start this review would to be to look at the good. I love the Ip Man franchise. In general, I have it scored pretty highly (89% average between the three). While my family may laugh and jeer at me, thinking I’m overly biased in favor of martial arts movies, I argue instead that Ip Man had everything. Sure, the fights were very well choreographed, but it went beyond that. The fights were unique, unlike anything I’d ever seen before, the characters were all pretty original and memorable, the story had a lot of value attached to them, and honestly, the movies looked pretty professional, standing out among a lot of other similar movies, so for this movie to be a part of that franchise is already a great thing.
Carrying over from Ip Man 3 is Cheung Tin-chi, played by Jin Zhang. I remember this character pretty well from the third Ip Man film, and for a movie to follow a somewhat villain is pretty cool, and if I would’ve made a spinoff, I’d probably focus on his character, too, since it was pretty memorable. I also liked the other characters in this movie, like his son and Dave Bautista, which actually surprised me. I don’t typically like a lot of Dave Bautista’s movies outside of Guardians of the Galaxy, because none of them are really that great…but his role in Master Z: Ip Man Legacy was pretty good. He was very reminiscent to Marvel’s Kingpin. He was big, strong, hulking, and darn near Impenetrable , giving off the idea that he was invincible. Also, the fact that he was a culinary genius helped make his character that much more unique and layered…but it still lacked real motivation. He was still a bad guy just to be a bad guy. Everything about why he was doing what he was doing was shallow, like they came up with it last minute.
That’s unfortunately where the bad begins…the writing. There’s very little to be desired when it comes to how this movie was written. The story was incredibly flat and conventional when it comes to mafia-like films. The action was great, but even that wasn’t as unique and different as to what Ip Man brought to the table. So, even though most of the fighting was excellently choreographed and a lot of fun to watch, it was super conventional and left me thinking it wasn’t anything new. So, while the story was conventional, it wasn’t unique enough for me to really care enough to pay attention to what was happening, so that left me feeling like the pacing was a little wonky. I understood what was going on, but I also felt like it had no end in sight. That made the movie feel long, and action films like this shouldn’t feel like a never-ending story.
This may be a spinoff, but having Ip Man in the title itself was just one way to get more viewers. This isn’t an Ip Man movie. It’s barely even the right fighting style. It has it’s moments, but unfortunately, it’s the type of martial arts film that you should only watch for the fight sequences and nothing else.
TOTAL SCORE – 57%
Current 2019 Rankings:
Overall: 28th Place out of 55 Movies
(In a tie with Pet Sematary)
Action: 11th Place out of18 Movies
2019 DNA ANALYSIS
The following films are closely-related to this film when it comes to the bare bones – how the movie was technically made on a cinematic level. This is based off on how categories and subcategories are scored exactly the same.
The Weird Sibling
(Closest-resemblance by both category and subcategory with identical scoring)
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is the only other 2019 movie to score exactly the same in all subcategories for any given category. In this instance, it scored the same in every subcategory of the BTS and ENTERTAINMENT categories, which makes up 1/3 of the DNA score.
The Immediate Family
(Closest resemblance in only scoring the same in the category total, but the subcategories can be scored differently; minimum of 3 matching category scores; must be the same genre)
The Distant Cousins
(Same rules as immediate family, but it can be any genre)
See You Yesterday
Netflix’s See You Yesterday had some strong cultural messages mixed in with the exciting science fiction theme of time travel, but it was also doomed to be a little bit forgotten in the long run, just because it was a little cheap and couldn’t benefit off of a bigger budget. The category totals were the same in the PEOPLE, NARRATIVE ARC, and ENTERTAINMENT categories.
PEOPLE SCORE (11/20)
Acting (3/4) | Characters (2/4) | Casting (3/4) | Importance (1/4) | Chemistry (2/4)
WRITING SCORE (4/10)
Dialogue (1/2) | Balance (1/2) | Story Depth (0/2) | Originality (0/2) | Interesting (2/2)
BEHIND-THE-SCENES SCORE (7/10)
Visuals (1/2) | Cinematography (1/2) | Editing (2/2) | Advertising (2/2) | Music & Sound (1/2)
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE (7/10)
Introduction (1/2) | Inciting Incident (1/2) | Obstacles (1/2) | Climax (2/2) | Falling Action (2/2)
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE (3/10)
Rewatchability (0/2) | Fun Experience (1/2) | Impulse to Buy or Own (0/2) | Impulse to Talk About or Recommend (1/2) | Engaging & Riveting (1/2)
SPECIALTY SCORE (25/40)
Spinoff (5/10) | Ip Man (0/10) | Martial Arts (10/10) | Halfway Decent (10/10)