Parents' Guide to

Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Slick, exciting, but very violent martial arts movie.

Movie NR 2019 107 minutes
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 14+

Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

Master Z is a spin-off of the Ip Man series, and continues the story of Cheung Tinchi, who challenged Ip Man for the title of Wing Chun Grandmaster at the end of the 3rd movie, and lost. Now, he has left the life of martial arts behind, and works as a grocer, making just enough money for himself and his son, but when he stops on one of his deliveries to save a woman who is being attacked by a Triad boss, he is drawn back into the world of criminal activity that he has spent so long trying to get out of. In order to protect his son and his new friends, he must fight a one-man war against the Triad that has taken almost everything he has, while learning a few lessons about identity, the nature of revenge, and friendship along the way. This is a fantastic movie. So many of the major plot points have been done before, and the plot kind of goes on autopilot, but everything in this movie is designed to serve the character of Cheung Tinchi, and the jaw-droppingly awesome fight scenes. This is by far the darkest of the four official Ip Man movies. The mob, hard drugs, revenge, and many other mature themes have starring roles. You will see a man shoot a person in the head, minutes after pledging his friendship to him. A supporting character is forced to overdose on drugs. A man is beaten to death for doing what he thinks is right, and the English cops are just as corrupt in this one as they have been in the other movies. There is no shortage of violence, and sometimes, it is incredibly hard hitting. Enemies fall from great heights, and the kung fu battles frequently feature dangerous weapons, including one very memorable scene with a sword. In terms of language, there isn't much to be worried about, and nothing that would constitute more than a PG rating. The big things here are the violence and drugs, which really are like characters in this film. Well liked characters are killed, and children who might recognize him as Drax could potentially be very upset seeing Dave Bautista as a villain. However, at the core of the story are a few very important lessons. Cheung Tinchi is ashamed of his defeat, but learns that sometimes the only way to save the ones you love is to accept your past failures and use them as motivations to succeed. Cheung is an excellent single parent, who cares about his son and does everything he can to help him have a normal life, even after their house is burned down by the bad guys. On the other hand, characters in 'villainous' positions exhibit good qualities. Dave Bautista volunteers at an orphanage, and while he is in the drug business, he is also a philanthropist. A man is framed for a crime he didn't commit, and is killed for it. As with the other films, racism plays a key role, though not as strongly as in the 2nd and 3rd movies. In one scene, two non-Chinese characters decide that they can't have 'a Chinese hero.' All in all, this is a fantastic movie with great messages and killer fight scenes.
age 10+

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (2 ):

What could have been a feeble attempt to ride on the coattails of Donnie Yen's franchise turns out to be an exhilarating, tightly paced, expertly crafted martial arts romp. Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy succeeds mostly thanks to its legendary director, Yuen Woo-ping, who's best known for choreographing the poetic fight scenes in The Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and the Kill Bill movies. He's still at the top of his game here, emphasizing clarity, fluidity, and beauty of movement; the impact is still violent, but -- aside from one character's brutal murder -- it's more exciting than shocking overall.

Another winning factor is the lead performance by Max Zhang (Pacific Rim: Uprising) in a strong but sympathetic role. Tin-chi is fueled by his defeat at the hands of Ip Man, but he's not pathetic or whiny. He accepts his loss with dignity and begins to take pride in his new roles as father and working man -- yet he still chooses to do the right thing, at great risk. It's too bad that the other "stars" advertised so prominently (Yeoh, Bautista, and Jaa) have such small roles (and that Guardians of the Galaxy star Bautista's role is villainous), but once this spirited, hugely entertaining movie gets going, that marketing ploy is easily forgiven.

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