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Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

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Watched this mess yesterday on Netflix US. It was disappointing on multiple levels. 葉問外傳:張天志 is the Chinese name (traditional characters.) The fact that I watched a US release meant that the spoken dialogue was Cantonese and the subtitles were English. No way to practice Mandarin, not even a little bit. 

 

I've seen all the other Ip Man movies and greatly respect the workmanlike performance of Donnie Yen. This sequel credits him with being a co-producer. Publicity blurbs say he had a lot to do with the film's fight choreography. The lead actor, Master Z, is played by Max Zhang (張晉) and he's the real deal as far as his martial arts skills. He has appeared in supporting roles in tons of Wuxia and Kungfu movies. Unfortunately he has only one facial expression that I was able to discern. So he gets high marks for inscrutability and low marks for emotional range. 

 

Michelle Yeoh (杨紫琼) has a prominent role as leader of a triad gang who wants to clean up and legitimze the operation against the objections of her wild and unscrupulous younger brother Kit (played by Kevin Cheng -- ) She has one good fight scene that harks back to her younger days in Crouching Tiger twenty years ago.  (She is presently 57.)

 

The plot is predictable, but that's not a surprise. Set in "old Hong Kong," the cast contains an "adorable kid with an irresistable smile," a "pretty but wayward bar girl with a heart of gold," her dutiful older sister who also has eyes for Mister Z.  This lineup of cliches contains the obligatory corrupt white-face police commissioner and his band of flunky native officers who are in cahoots with a restaurateur who is importing and wholesaling heroin on the side. 

 

Actually this guy, the restaurant owner, pretty much steals the show. He is a huge ex-professional wrestler named Dave Bautista who at one time was world heavyweight champion. From the minute we first meet him, we start hungering for a showdown. We want to see what he's got. But the first few times he's on camera, he is friendly and helpful and so damned nice to everyone that I had to wonder how the director was going to turn him into a villan and engineer a confrontation. 

 

Eventually it happened and predictably the hero, Master Z, all 95 pounds of him, gets nearly demolished before he deigns to unleash his bad-ass Wing Chun. The boring back story is that long ago he had his own thriving martial arts studio and was considered a shoe in as the "next great master." But he got whipped one day behind closed doors by Ip Man himself and since then he took a vow to only use "ordinary" street-fighter type kung fu, not the near-magical Wing Chun.

 

He had been living with this secret shame until Dave Bautista just about polished him off without even breaking a sweat. The audience is shown a dream-like image of Master Z's wooden practice dummy as he lies on the floor, head reeling, nose bleeding. This was intended as an "OK, the gloves are off" moment. The honest, humble hero has been pushed too far. There will be Hell to pay.

 

He gets up and twists his hands into some new positions and balances differently on one foot instead of two and unleashes the Wing Chun tornado on Big Dave. The music and lighting change. We know that now he cannot possibly fail. 

 

Maybe it takes a devoted martial arts afficionado to appreciate the subtlety of this stuff. I found it hokey and unconvincing. In the real world, the big guy would have ripped his head off and bounced it against the wall. 

 

The showdown has a second part in which a group of downtrodden native police officers suddenly turn against their corrupt British commander, the crowd cheers, and the house lights come up on a new day of peace and prosperity.  

 

This film does not measure up well in comparison to its predecessors. I would pass on a chance to see it again. 

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mungouk

There seem to be quite a few Ip Man movies out there... which ones are worth watching, and do any of them have Mandarin dialogue?

 

 

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Flickserve
8 hours ago, mungouk said:

There seem to be quite a few Ip Man movies out there... which ones are worth watching, and do any of them have Mandarin dialogue?

 

The Donnie Yen ones have Mandarin. I haven't watched no.4 though

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ChTTay
13 hours ago, mungouk said:

which ones are worth watching,

They have comical foreign villains in some of them. I can’t remember which one (fairly sure the 2nd?) has some evil Brits in there. 
 

I enjoyed the first Ip Man movie but even glimpses of the others have put me off watching. I think I watched the 2nd one then just stopped taking notice. 

 

I like Dave Bautista though. He did great in Guardians of the Galaxy. 
 

 

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ChTTay
17 hours ago, abcdefg said:

In the real world, the big guy would have ripped his head off and bounced it against the wall.

I’m fairly sure In early MMA bouts there were some contestants using some of the more traditional martial arts (like Wing Chun). They didn’t do too well. 

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abcdefg
6 hours ago, Flickserve said:

The Donnie Yen ones have Mandarin. I haven't watched no.4 though

 

Here's a short review of that one: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/59361-叶问4-ip-man-4-opened-today/

 

I saw all the Ip Man films on the big screen at theaters in Kunming. They had Mandarin dialogue and Hanzi subtitles so far as I recall. I suspect that the producers of "big budget" films like these build in subtitles in several languages to allow for international distribution. A local theater chain can then turn one set on and another one off at will to suit the anticipated audience. 

 

Quote

@ChTTay -- They have comical foreign villains in some of them. I can’t remember which one (fairly sure the 2nd?) has some evil Brits in there. 

 

"Twister," the bare-kuckle British boxer, comes to mind, as does the evil and corrupt police commisioner (Charles Mayer.) 

 

image.thumb.png.da39e5f3698a24db35e0602671c0ee04.png        image.thumb.png.7d8b4ae755e34399fb0888afb5418e8c.png     666219847_CharlesMayer900.thumb.jpg.77441e1df73c5940564bccde6621436a.jpg

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