38 HKFA Coverage: Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy 葉問外傳：張天志 (2018) - Hong Kong
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
The “Ip Man” legacy continues with a spin-off, focusing on Cheung Tin Chi character as the main story played by the convincing Max Zhang. Adding to the international martial arts superstar status are Michelle Yeoh, Tony Jaa, Dave Bautista and with full creative control direction by master Yuen Woo Ping. The result is a action packed martial arts fan-fest likely to satisfy the starving Hong Kong genre fans. Forget the plot, as the prime focus remains the martial arts sequences and surprisingly beautifully crafted art and detailed set design for the period.
Max Zhang manages to grown into a leading role deserving of his vast talent. Zhang is sensationally convincing in both his intensity and martial arts prowess. With a lack of rising genre talents, Zhang is suitably charismatic, fuelled with passion as he fights and holds his own against Michelle Yeoh, Tony Jaa and Dave Bautista. Michelle Yeoh is a welcome presence and awesome to see her move so gracefully as she did back in the days. Jaa is wasted in a minor role that appears in the beginning and end of the film and while Bautista shows good presence during fight scenes, but sadly misused in a limited dimensional role as the drug lord and “Petrus” Resturant owner.
All in all, this film is unlikely to top Donnie Yen’s main series, but works well as an entree to the upcoming “Ip Man 4” finale. Yuen Woo Ping continues to be filling and comes up with plenty of creative set pieces and fight scenes. With Max Zhang likely to take the martial arts mantle in the future, this is a good enough vehicle for him to shine on. There is a lot of character back story that we still haven’t touched upon, perhaps a pending sequel is the best solution.
I rated it 7.5/10