Are you ready for some more action from the IP Man universe? A stylish and thrilling new spinoff from the series of films inspired by the real life Wing Chun master and teacher of Bruce Lee is coming to North American theaters next month!
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy, directed by legendary filmmaker and action choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping, and starring Max Zhang, Liu Yan, Michelle Yeoh, and Dave Bautista (with a special cameo by Tony Jaa!) opens on April 12.
A trailer for the film dropped earlier this month:
How does Master Z fit into the Ip Man legacy?
In 2015’s Ip Man 3, Donnie Yen’s titular character faced off against a rival named Cheung Tin-chin (Max Zhang). Master Z: Ip Man Legacy follows Cheung’s continuing story in the aftermath of that great martial arts confrontation.
The Ip Man himself serves as a producer on this film, but Yen handed full creative control to the highly respected Yuen.
“He was very eager to participate, but he was far too busy to. He’s making his own films and he has his own business to attend to,” Yuen said in an interview with the South China Morning Post. “He has a lot of confidence in us. He knows what I would deliver as a director.”
Explaining the differences between his film and the rest of the franchise so far, Yeun went on to say “Master Z is not Ip Man. Although we’re making a spin-off film, it’s about a stand-alone character that is very different from Ip Man’s personality and approach. Ip is more of a humorous and polite person, whereas Cheung Tin-chi is more introverted. He doesn’t reveal much of his emotions even when he’s with his son. The two characters have different personalities – even their moves are different.”
There is also a more direct followup to Ip Man 3 in the works. Donnie Yen announced that he’d be making Ip Man 4 in the fall of 2016. Production wrapped last year. The film will be about the master visiting his prize pupil, Bruce Lee, in Seattle after he decides to open a Wing Chun school of his own. Further details and a release date for Ip Man 4 are still pending.
What is Master Z: Ip Man Legacy about?
Following his defeat against Ip Man, Cheung Tin-chin abandons his Wing Chun practice and and tries to live a normal civilian life. When a good deed on his part attracts the attention of a drug trafficking business, though, he must call upon his Wing Chun skill and spirit to fight his newfound foes. His formidable opponents include a gangster with a chip on his shoulder (Kevin Cheng), a triad leader who is trying to go straight (Michelle Yeoh), and a foreigner with ties to the drug trade (Dave Bautista).
What is pro wrestler and actor Dave Bautista doing in a wuxia film?
Learning from the masters!
“This is the first Chinese production that I had ever done, and they do things a bit differently. I was struggling at first, and they wanted to kind of adjust things and I said, ‘Don’t! I will adjust to you, because I want to learn this. I’m here to work with Woo-Ping, and watch him, and study him, and see how he works,'” Bautista told EW in a recent interview. “I really have a lot of respect for him. It’s really an honor just to say I worked with him.”
His co-star admits to being a bit afraid of the wrestler during their fight scenes. “He’s so much taller than me, and his fists are so huge, that even if his punches didn’t land for real, you would still feel the pain,” Zhang told the South China Morning Post.
How cool is Michelle Yeoh?
The very coolest. The 56 year-old actress and martial artist, who has been enjoying a new wave of fame stateside thanks to her breakout roles in Crazy Rich Asians and Star Trek: Discovery, is still one of the most talented and most compelling action stars in the game. She’s also one of the toughest. Not only did she film Crazy Rich Asians and Master Z: Ip Man Legacy at the same time, she didn’t miss a beat with her incredible stunt work, either.
“We all knew that Yeoh is a fierce fighter,” Yuen said of her work on the film. “It’s memorable to me that even after she was bruised during one take – she tends to get bruises often – she would ask for another take and keep going.”