Master Z: Ip Man Legacy Review – So Begins the Ip Man Universe

They might not be a full-blown shared universe just yet, but the Ip Man films have certainly taken a step in that direction thanks to the Max Zhang-led spinoff, Master Z: Ip Man Legacy. The original Ip Man and its sequels were box office hits in China that elevated lead Donnie Yen to newfound levels of popularity in his homeland (and, ultimately, led to him gaining international fame in films like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), so it stands to reason that an off-shoot could do something similar for Zhang. Wherever the greater Ip Man franchise goes from here, its first spinoff is more successful than not in realizing its simple, but unpretentious ambitions. Master Z delivers its fair share of pulpy entertainment and stylish martial arts fights without bringing anything particularly fresh to the genre.

Zhang, reprising his Ip Man 3 role here, stars as Cheung Tin-chi, a Wing Chun master who leaves his old life behind him (following his defeat behind closed doors at Ip Man’s hands), in favor of a quiet existence running a grocery store with his young son. While Master Z includes black and white flashbacks to key moments from Ip Man 3, the finer details of Tin-chi’s backstory are of little relevance to the narrative at hand. As a result, the spinoff serves as a decent entry point for those who’re unfamiliar with the previous movies in the Ip Man franchise, but makes for an otherwise unnecessary extension of the property. Nevertheless, it gives Zhang the chance to further demonstrate his mettle as a star (which he does) in a mid-20th century martial arts drama of his own.

Plot-wise, the Master Z script by Ip Man trilogy writers Edmond Wong and Chan Tai Lee weaves together story threads about British colonialists and corrupt police officers, the head of an organized crime gang (Michelle Yeoh) trying to turn her operation into a legitimate business, and Tin-chi attempting – and failing – to keep his head down amidst all this, no longer able to find any meaning in his practice of Wing Chun and life of combat. Suffice it to say, the movie is full of melodramatic subplots and one-dimensional villains, including the opium-dealing Tso Sai Kit (Kevin Cheng, playing Yeoh’s onscreen brother) and Owen Davidson (Dave Bautista), a brawny drug smuggler who pays off the cops and uses his posh restaurant as the cover for his crimes. Ultimately, these threads amount to little more than the catalyst for Tin-chi’s arc, which is pretty straightforward and might’ve benefitted from having fewer storylines to compete with for screentime.

Obviously, when it comes to this kind of B-movie genre fare, the major selling point is the martial arts fighting, not the story and character development that comes between it (more on that soon). Still, Master Z generally fails to subvert expections or take its plot threads in unexpected directions, even though some of them (like the one involving Yeoh) might’ve been able to sustain a whole film on their own. More frustrating, admittedly, are the movie’s regressive qualities, like the way it tends to reduce its female characters (those not played by Yeoh, that is) to either helpless damsels, victims brutalized by the movie’s bad guys, or capable fighters who’re inexplicably left out of the biggest battles. The latter criticism applies specifically to Julia (Liu Yan), a woman who helps Tin-chi and guides him on his personal journey, but is increasingly sidelined in favor of her brother Fu (Xing Yu), as the story progresses.

Fortunately, when it come to the fighting sequences, Master Z is much more successful in execution. The film was directed by the renowned Hong Kong martial arts filmmaker and choreographer Yuen Woo-ping (still best known in the U.S. for his work on The MatrixCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Kill Bill), and his near-fifty years of experience serves the action well here. Master Z‘s close-quarter combat sequences aren’t as innovative as Woo-ping’s most famous efforts, but he finds clever ways of staging the battles – most notably, during a fight set atop a collection of business signs – and shoots the action in a visually crisp and cohesive fashion that really showcases the athleticism of his performers and stunt team. It helps that Yeoh, Zhang, and Bautista all have very different fighting styles, so the various throwdowns avoid blurring together and each possess their own distinct look, feel, and rhythm.

Overall, Master of Z is a perfectly serviceable martial arts offering, if one that lacks the rich character-driven storytelling that made the original Ip Man such a noteworthy addition to the genre in the first place. The film might be as cartoony as the “Black Bat” comics that Tin-chi’s son is obsessed with, but it seems to recognize that for the most part, and rarely holds itself up as being more than a flashy, insubstantial pice of entertainment. It doesn’t really have lavishing production values either, so those who’re interested might want to hold off and catch this one at home (assuming it even makes its way to their local theater). As for those who prefer their Ip Man movies to actually feature Ip Man: fear not, Ip Man 4 proper is coming down the pipeline next.

Master Z: Ip Man Legacy is now playing in U.S. theaters. It is 108 minutes long and is not rated.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!

2019-04-12 05:04:36

Sandy Schaefer

Ric Flair Says Charlotte Has Eclipsed His WWE Legacy Ahead of Wrestlemania 35

WWE legend Ric Flair believes that his own legacy has been eclipsed by that of his daughter, Charlotte. With fans constantly debating their “Mount Rushmore” of wrestling icons, one name that continues to be an ever-present part of that conversation is Ric Flair. Best known for his work in promotions such as WWE, WCW and TNA, Flair is billed as a 16-time World Champion, and is tied with John Cena for the record of most world title reigns. Known for his dastardly heel antics, endless charisma and dazzling in-ring ability, Flair is cited as a major influence by the likes of Triple H and his “Woo!” catchphrase continues to live on today, any time a wrestler delivers a mean chop to the chest.

Following in her father’s footsteps over the past six years is Ric’s daughter, Charlotte. After beginning her wrestling education with WWE, Charlotte enjoyed a meteoric rise through the women’s division, picking up belts on NXT, Raw and Smackdown Live! and bulldozing a path for female wrestling with a series of “first-ever” moments in feuds with the likes of Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch. Earning herself a reputation for being one of the best wrestlers in the world, male or female, Charlotte broke another milestone at last night’s Wrestlemania 35, participating in the first ever women’s Wrestlemania main event alongside Lynch and former UFC star, Ronda Rousey.

Related: John Oliver Slams WWE For Not Caring About Its Wrestlers’ Health

Despite her relative youth, Ric Flair has now claimed in a heartfelt social media post that he believes Charlotte’s legacy has beaten his own. Speaking shortly prior to Wrestlemania 35, Ric writes:

Any wrestler with a parent in the business suffers the inevitable tag of being nothing more than that famous wrestler’s son or daughter, but as the offspring of the one-and-only Ric Flair, Charlotte has been forced to deal with this more than most. While this was perhaps to be expected when Charlotte was still a rookie, the record-breaking eight-time World Champion moved out from her father’s shadow long ago, but still frequently suffers the demeaning label of being just “Ric Flair’s daughter.” ESPN recently made this very mistake, incurring Charlotte’s wrath and likely inspiring Ric’s latest emotional tribute.

While very few wrestling fans would dare argue that Charlotte hasn’t done more than enough to be judged by her own merits, it’s still perhaps too early to truly claim that she has eclipsed the legacy of her father, purely because Charlotte may still have more than a decade as an active wrestler, and it’ll take some years before WWE fans see the true measure of her influence. However, given Charlotte’s current list of accomplishments and the ground she has broken for women’s wrestling, there seems little doubt that when she does eventually hang up her boots, Charlotte Flair’s impact on the business will be greater than that of her father.

More: Wrestlemania: Batista Officially Announces Retirement After Loss To Triple H

Source: Ric Flair/Twitter

2019-04-08 09:04:35

Craig Elvy

Netflix’s Jupiter’s Legacy Eyes Pablo Schreiber & Eric Bana To Star

A week removed from the cancellation of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix, the streaming giant is pushing ahead as early news indicates it is beginning the casting process for its Jupiter’s Legacy series by targeting actors Pablo Schreiber and Eric Bana. Having bought the rights to Mark Millar’s publishing company, Millarworld, and its longest running series more than a year ago, the move by Netflix is hardly surprising.

A present-day superhero epic, Jupiter’s Legacy explores the generational conflict that arises between the world’s first superheroes, who gained their powers in the 1930s to help better mankind, and their superpowered children who face the daunting task of matching their parents’ legacy. In addition to this more personal and familial struggle that occurs among the characters, the series also explores themes related to social, political and economic difference among the heroes. The elder superheroes, known as the Union of Justice, are led by brothers Sheldon Sampson, also known as the Utopian, and Walter Sampson, who also goes by Brainwave.

Related: Netflix & Mark Millar’s Comic The Magic Order Gets A Trailer

According to an exclusive from That Hashtag Show, Netflix may have found its leading men as it turns its attention to actors Pablo Schreiber and Eric Bana to play the Sampson brothers. It is believed that the streaming service is aiming to start production in April 2019, and that the proposed series will follow the brothers through both their past exploits and present-day situations. While little more is known about the plot and filming is still five months away, the show is also expected to feature characters like Sheldon’s wife Grace, aka Lady Liberty, and their children Brandon and Chloe – the superhero Paragon and a supermodel, respectively. It is believed that Netflix is interested in Morena Baccarin and Carrie Coon for the role of Grace.

The maiden season of the series will be headed up by Daredevil producer Steven DeKnight and is slated to consist of eight, one-hour episodes. Fans will recognize Schreiber from his roles on recent hits like American Gods and Orange Is the New Black, while Bana is potentially jumping back into the superhero space after playing Bruce Banner in the 2003 film adaptation The Incredible Hulk. In addition to Jupiter’s Legacy, Netflix is planning to create a new superhero universe similar to Marvel with a full slate of series and films based on Millar’s content – starting with three films (Huck, Empress, and Sharkey the Bounty Hunter) and an additional TV show (American Jesus).

With the cancellation of Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, as well as the prospect of Disney’s own streaming service, Netflix is clearly looking to jumpstart its Millarworld properties sooner rather than later. It will be interesting to see if casting actors like Schreiber and Bana brings enough star power to build buzz and interest in a comic book story that lacks the recognition of the Marvel characters Netflix is losing.

Next: Mark Millar’s Nemesis Movie Adaptation Moving Forward

Source: That Hashtag Show

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2018-12-06 01:12:11

Danis Tanovic’s ‘Legacy of Memory’ at Pera Film

In collaboration with the Bosnia Sanjak Academic Culture and History Foundation, Istanbul’s Pera Film will present a selection of movies by Bosnian director Danis Tanovic between Oct. 18 and Oct. 28Click To Continue

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