Sagas can’t go on forever, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker isn’t the only one coming to an end. Director Wilson Yip Wai Shun has been given the task of bringing the fabled Ip Man series to its final conclusion. Who or what is the Ip Man? Yeah, I don’t know much about it either as my only connection to Master Ip comes in reviewing the spin-off movie Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy featuring Dave Bautista and Michelle Yeoh.
Quick background. The highly popular series in China began in 2008 starring Donnie Yen (Star Wars: Rogue One), who plays Ip Man, a grandmaster of Wing Chun from Foshan, China. While Ip Man was a real person and a grandmaster, his life serves as a mere outline for the films. Ip Man 1 through 3 recounts his adventures during Japanese-occupied China and his love and devotion to his wife and son.
“…Master Ip decides to send his son to the United States to attend school and start a new life away from Kung Fu.”
In Ip Man 4: The Finale, the aging Ip Man is told that he has throat cancer (which is how the real Ip Man passed). Knowing that his time is done, Master Ip decides to send his son, Ip Ching, to the United States to attend school and start a new life away from Kung Fu. This decision is not received well by Ip Ching, who would rather stay home and learn Kung Fu from his father, than return to school where he’s bullied.
Father knows best, and Ip Man hops on a plane to San Francisco to look for a private school. Upon his arrival, Ip Man is faced with division in the Chinese Community of San Francisco, particularly with the CBA (Chinese Benevolent Association) consisting of Grandmasters in various disciplines of Kung Fu and let by Tai-chi Master Wu Yue (Wan Wang Hua). Their problem is with one of Ip Man’s pupils, Bruce Lee (Chan Kwok Kwan Danny from Shaolin Soccer). Bruce has been appearing on television and movies and writing books teaching white people kung-fu and popularizing the discipline. The CBA insists that Master Ip renounce now Master Lee, or they will not recommend Master Ip’s son to attend a prestigious private Bay Area school.