Ip Man: The Master of Kung Fu is not Ip Man 5

Wilson Yip’s Ip Man films tell a linear story in four chapters. After the first film, each successive sequel featured Donnie Yen facing exceptional martial opponents: Sammo Hung in IP Man 2Mike Tyson in IP Man 3and Scott Adkins in IP Man 4. The films follow Ip Man’s life very loosely until the last film where Ip Man travels to San Francisco to visit Bruce Lee, an event that never happened. The last episode came out last year and it was the last film from this core team, ending with Lee attending Ip Man’s funeral (another event that never happened).

There was a spin-off to this series, Master Z: The Legacy of Ip Manwhich is between the 3rd and 4and movies. It featured Max Zhang reprising his role as Ip Man’s rival from IP Man 3, Cheung Tin-chi, and starred Michelle Yeoh in a triumphant return to the Kung Fu genre, and Dave Bautista as the villain. Knowing that the fourth would be the last, it was an attempt to keep the goose alive. Produced by Raymond Wong and Donnie Yen and written by Edmond Wong, Wilson Yip stepped down as director, handing over the presidency to the king of Kung Fu choreography, Yuen Woo-Ping. Master Z: The Legacy of Ip Man was a good movie, so there’s some hope there.

In the last entry, Ip Man: Master of Kung Futhe lead role is played by Dennis To. For having had minor roles in Donnie Yen’s Ip-Man and IP Man 2 playing two different characters, respectively Hu Wei and Cheng Wai-Kei. After that, he was cast as Ip Man in The legend is born – Ip Man because he looked like Donnie Yen. This film was not related to the productions of Wilson Yip. It was directed by Herman Yau, written by Erica Lee and produced by Sin Kwok-Lam. Nonetheless, several cast members of Yip’s franchise from his films appear in the film beyond To. Sammo Hung, Louis Fan, and Chen Zhihui have roles in The legend is born – Ip Man, albeit as different characters from those they played in Yip’s films. Additionally, Ip Man’s real son, Ip Chun, appears in the film.

After The legend is born – Ip ManYau continued three years later with Ip Man: The Final Fight. Erica Lee served as screenwriter again, but she had different producers. Hong Kong veteran actor Anthony Wong took the lead role as the elderly Ip Man, and Timmy Hung, Sammo’s son, also appears. Ip Chun makes another appearance in a different role from the previous film. It’s a sure way to get the blessing of the family estate.

There was another notable Ip Man movie, the grand master, by internationally acclaimed director Wong Kar-wai. Tony Leung plays Ip Man, and this film was Hong Kong’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at 86and Oscars. He made the shortlist for this category but in the end he failed to make the final cut. However, it earned Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design and received numerous other distinguished international film awards.

the grand master was a lavish flick from Cannes Film Festival Best Director that elevated Ip Man from typical Kung Fu film fodder to worldwide arthouse fare. Opposite Leung was Chinese global diva Zhang Ziyi in a return to the martial genre after starring in films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Rush hour 2and House of the Flying Daggers nearly a decade ago.

Kimberly B. Nguyen