It’s a charming throwback to the martial-arts films of the ’70s and ’80s, with dazzling combat sequences punctuated by stiffly delivered exposition and hammy acting.
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The lush production design by Raymond Chan, Joyce Chan’s swanky ’60s costuming and some astoundingly clever set pieces — a duel between Tin-chi and one of Kit’s thugs atop of a strip of neon signs, a brilliantly old-school four-way fight at Cheung Kok’s offices, a whiskey glass tango with Yeoh — more than make up for any plot flaws, with the exception of the shameful underuse of Tony Jaa as a mysterious assassin.
Yeoh’s fantastic as usual, making an impressive series of moves while not disturbing a single hair on her period Joey Heatherton hairdo.
A lively, fun one.
The film is a reminder of the potential of these films before they became weighed down by blockbuster-ready excesses.
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy, like any old-school popular entertainment, contains sentimental moments and broad comedy as well as all that action. If you don’t already have the Ip Man habit, it’s a fine place to start.
The studio set recreation of Hong Kong’s famous Bar Street, along with the gaudily delectable costumes throughout, give Master Z a dreamy heightened artifice. More than once, the film seems on the verge of breaking into a vintage Hollywood musical.
Top-class fighting and fabulous production design overcome the stale plot.
But you know what they say about most martial arts movies, come for the fights, stay for the fights.
So really, what's great about "Master Z" isn't the way that its creators transcend their chosen formula, but rather how they perfect it.