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Film Review: Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy (2018) - The Best Ip Man Film Among All

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

FILE PHOTO: A Poster of MASTER Z: THE IP MAN LEGACY (2018). ©Mandarin Motion Pictures Limited
FILE PHOTO: A Poster of MASTER Z: THE IP MAN LEGACY (2018). ©Mandarin Motion Pictures Limited

The best action franchise after Infernal Affairs (2002; two sequels in 2003) , this Ip Man (2008; one sequel and a prequel in 2010; 2013; 2015; 2018; 2019) universe represents nationalistic enthusiasm of contemporary Hong Kong Chinese citizens in general.

It actually reflects gradually severing complaints against the rule of man in political and social issues in the part of China.

This can be embodied through this UK colonial era and its official governmental corruption in crony capitalist crimes, especially drag dealers=mafias who infiltrate the ruling upper class, and they are highly camouflaged in the face of generous business society.

Furthermore, their paid government officials are protecting their business. The antagonist role Davidson who played by the ex-pro wrestler Dave Bautista engages in that way, a typical Hong Kong Caucasian ruing class capitalist.

Hong Kong's crony capitalism is consciously and indirectly criticised in this film.

Respect for Cheh Chang New Martial Arts Film Tradition

The main action line is the protagonist Cheung Tin Chi (played by Max Zhang) who was defeated in Ip Man 3 (2015) fights against drag dealer mafias in the bar district (Sis Ha and Tso Sai Kit) and Davidson.

In short, this line is similar to The New One Armed Swords Man (Dir. Cheh Chang; 1971) in which the protagonist Lei Li (David Chiang) seeks a revenge for brutally killed friend Feng Chun-Chieh (Lung Ti) after lives a depressed life and low profile.

FILE PHOTO: A Still Image of THE NEW ONE ARMED SWORDS MAN (Dir. Cheh Chang; 1971).  ©Shaw Brothers Studio
FILE PHOTO: A Still Image of THE NEW ONE ARMED SWORDS MAN (1971). ©Shaw Brothers Studio

Action Design is new but Wiring Actors is too obvious

In technical aspects, the only obvious flaw is that the wired actions among multi-camera sequences mostly wired robotically before actual jumps take place in physically acceptable moments.

In other word, it wired the actors before the actual jumps by the actors themselves. Wired actions should not be overly used in this obvious way. Wiring actors before their own actual jumps is too obvious in this film.

It hurts both realism and surrealism to the certain extent because it appears to be 'wire', a 'technic'. I did not see any other surface flaw in this entire film. The film production quality is the best among all Hong Kong films of 2018.

Rule of Law versus Rule of Crony Capitalism

The mostly touching plot of this film is the reluctant police officer played by Philip Keung arrests his boss, Davidson-paid chief inspector played by Brian Thomas Burrell after finding tons of drags in the last street confrontational sequence of this film. Chinese police officers finally recovers the rule of law by 'betraying' the colonial British Caucasian authority.

This political positioning is correct and impressive even in the after 1997 Hong Kong society. It is the classical catharsis in films about colonialist oppression, such as Casablanca (1942). The will of the Chinese police officer (Philip Keung) embodies patriotic consciousness and enthusiasm of Hong Kong Chinese people. As the result, this spin off is superior than Ip Man franchise's any other films.

FILE PHOTO: A Still Image of CASABLANCA (1942). ©Warner Bros.
FILE PHOTO: A Still Image of CASABLANCA (1942). ©Warner Bros.

Production company: Mandarin Motion Pictures Cast: Max Zhang, Liu Yan, Michelle Yeoh, Naason, Kevin Cheng, Dave Bautista, Patrick Tam, Chrissie Chau, Philip Keung, Brian Thomas Burrell, Adam Pak, Tony Jaa Director: Yuen Woo-ping Screenwriters: Edmond Wong, Chan Tai-lee Producers: Raymond Wong, Donnie Yen Executive producers: Edmond Wong, Anita Wong Directors of photography: Seppe Van Grieken, David Fu Production designer: Raymond Chan Costume designer: Joyce Chan Editors: Kong Chi-leung, Chow Kai-pong Music: Day Tai Casting: Cheyenne Peng Venue: Busan International Film Festival World sales: Mandarin Motion Pictures

In Cantonese, dubbed 107 minutes


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