User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 75 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 56 out of 75
  2. Negative: 10 out of 75

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  1. Jul 15, 2014
    The grandmaster is the biographical movie about the legendary Ipman- thats what the trailer and synopsis tells.But in fact the story revolves around Gong -Er the last daughter of the Gong family and Ip man is a mere supporting cast.The movie's visuals are exemplary.Each scene in the movie is like a painting.Although well shot,the movie is overdrawn and filled with actors who brood all the time.There is no humor in this movie.The narration is confusing and muddled.With 2hr duration,this film is outrageously long.I won't recommend this film,just watch the fight scenes from youtube or vimeo because those are just beautiful. Expand
  2. May 22, 2014
    Muy buena historia es lo que mas me gusto. no tienes que ser un fan de las artes marciales. tiene accion drama. la fotografia es de lo mejor y como mesclan lo videos reales me gusto.
  3. May 11, 2014
    Director - Kar Wai Wong Starring - Tony Chiu Wai Leung, Ziyi Zhang The Grandmaster is a film about Ip Man, a master of Wing Chun and the teacher of one of the world's greatest and best known martial artists, Bruce Lee. However, do not expect to see Mr Lee, there is only the merest mention of his name in the final moments of the film. Also, do not expect a movie chock full of action; although there are obviously fight scenes, most are short, bloodless and at times just there to showcase the amazing martial arts styles.

    There has been a previous film about Ip Man, entitled, surprisingly, Ip Man (2008) and starring Donnie Yen. Where that film was more action (presumably to capitalise on Yen's ability), this is more subdued and reflects on the history of not only Ip Man, but the essence of Kung Fu, in particular the style of Wing Chun. The script is littered with wise sayings and philosophical teachings giving the impression that The Grandmaster wants to delve behind the fighting and be driven by the characters.

    In Tony Leung the film has a strong lead. He exudes charm and is convincing in his role as a Wing Chun master (Leung is better known for his dark and brooding roles in films such as Infernal Affairs and In the Mood for Love). He stars alongside Ziyi Zhang as Gong Er, the daughter of another Grandmaster who has a love/hate relationship with Leung's Ip Man. Zhang is beautiful and graceful, the perfect ice maiden. However it is this very quality that sometimes makes it hard for the audience to fully sympathise with her character; her facial expressions rarely go beyond a steely stare. Given she is part of the film's more sentimental storylines, it is hard for the viewer to truly understand what is going on, especially in the dialogue free parts.

    Unlike the previously mentioned Ip Man, this film spans a much longer time-line, from 1936 China to Hong Kong in the 50s. The Second Sino-Japanese War, which is central to Yen's film, is a small section which is only there to show us why Ip Man leaves China in the first place. Indeed large blocks of text flash up thorough out the picture to give us information and remind the audience that this all really happened.

    The film is beautifully shot; Kar Wai Wong uses the elements to dazzling effect. Snow, rain, blossom, steam... all are used to create a wondrous sight and visually stunning pieces (the sequence at the train station is a perfect example). The white plains of Northern China, described as harsh by characters, are nothing short of breath taking under his direction.

    If you want a film that gives us an Ip Man of action, then I highly recommend Donnie Yen's 2008 movie. However if you prefer a more character driven and thoughtful piece, then this will be more than satisfying.
  4. Apr 7, 2014
    The fight scenes are good, as well as the directing in these particular scenes. I also enjoyed the soundtrack. The acting by the main cast is good enough.

    However, the directing in the rest of the scenes is a little annoying. Kar Wai Wong did the same thing in another movie i saw by him: My Blueberry Nights. Never understood it really.

    The story is a complete mess. I don't know who's
    story this is. It's also too slow-paced, stretched over 2 hours. So i was extremely bored. And i had a very hard time understanding what was happening. The movie is in Chinese; and since they talk really fast, the English subtitles disappear very quickly.

    So aside from the action sequences, and maybe the last few somewhat emotional scenes, where the two leads meet one last time, i didn't enjoy this film at all.
  5. Feb 3, 2014
    I think Yip man role spared no one among Chinese and Hong Kong actors. For the past few years movie based on Yip man get released every year. Especially the directors and producers are very enthusiastic to make a movie about this man. They are trying to pick the story from what the earlier movies had failed or missed to tell. In such perception this is done. I am very much surprised to see this movie to get nominated for the upcoming OSCAR (2014) ceremony. Is this movie really worth for that honour, well that is why I am here to brief in this review.

    Truly, I am not understanding the motivation of director and writer what they wanted to tell about Yip man. It was not actually a complete Yip man story. A tale fairly balanced between a charcter called Gong Er and him with the backdrop of Sino-Japan war. Technically it was very stylish and rich, but storywise it is a vastly letdown. When movies are based on someone's real life, filmmakers can change a few things to suit cinematically. That means they should not bore the audience with unimpressive and uninspiring scenes. Yeah, I did not find one single portion of the movie that attracted me.

    They showed stories that happened between 1930 to 1972. Over 40 years of span in the movie what I saw was the pieces of stories without exciting ones. Honestly, I think Donnie Yen's 'Ip Man' movie series were the best so far. The American Academy Award people had failed to grab those golden opportunities and now they are holding this movie's tail. Without any doubt Danish drama 'The Hunt' going to win the OSCAR and soon everyone will forget this movie.
  6. Jan 17, 2014
    It was OK.
    I felt like the story was somewhat disjointed. Some beautiful scenes and some great fight sequences. Felt like it was too protracted of a movie, and the plot itself was not really good in my honest opinion. In relation to the other Ip Man movies, I'd say this is the one I like the least.
  7. Jan 12, 2014
    Extremely dissappointed. The movie is a beautiful shell filled with empty meaning.
    Ip Man dissapears from the movie and the spectator misses the goal of the film. A nice naive good-looking film with a completely disaster structure.
  8. Dec 2, 2013
    I just don't like this movie, the word that I would use to describe it is: Ridiculous.
    I can't place this movie anywhere, I don't know if it was supposed to be like it is, or if it is a failed attempt at something else, I didn't like it from start to end, it lacks everything, nothing really to be salvaged, even the action sequences looked... let's say, not good.

    I saw it when it came
    out so I don't remember how good it was in each category, but the movie genre says it is an:

    Like I said, didn't saw anything special about the action sequences, looked like implausible martial arts choreography.

    Seriously? This is at least an insult to the viewer intelligence, claiming this to be even remotely biographical is criminal.

    Pure boredom between bad martial arts action sequences.

    I can't see a reason to watch this movie, I can't see myself in any type of mood that would had allow me to enjoy this bad piece of cinema.
  9. Nov 28, 2013
    There's no accounting for taste, I know, but the next-to-last scene between Tony Leung and ZiYi Zhang should be required for any actor. (I am a professional actor.) So much feeling and information passes between these two people without a hint of "selling"---doing nothing more than actually inhabiting the deepest feelings. It's a tour de force. Personally, I love the movie, but I can't imagine anyone walking away from such a scene and not being moved. It's hard to shake the feeling that a reviewer who called this stupid is not revealing more about themselves than they intended. Expand
  10. Oct 11, 2013
    This movie is funny becuse you know some people in the cinema going to like it. That's why i love this film. it made me so happy that other liked this!
  11. Oct 4, 2013
    The movie was disjointed and confusing. To top it off there were way too many slow scenes with bittersweet music that put me to sleep... The first half of the movie is decent, but then it becomes a big yawn fest.
  12. Sep 29, 2013
    This is not your usual kungfu movie. The Grandmaster is epic journey of the life of Yip Man. With great story, awesome setting, and even better soundtrack; Grandmaster is easily an Oscar level movie in my personal opinion.
  13. Sep 28, 2013
    Rains drops shine like diamonds. A choreographed battle becomes a dance of graceful, powerful movement. The violence becomes beautiful. With this incredible fight scene director Kar Wai Wong opens The Grandmaster.

    Then Wong replicates the same techniques over and over again, ad nauseam, expecting fancy camera angles and beautiful set designs to carry an entire 90-minute feature. The
    result, a film where absolutely nothing happens.

    Phillipe le Sourd’s cinematography here resembles that of Christopher Doyle’s in Hero (2002). That is to say, it’s amazing, but just in case we didn’t recognize its amazingness in the first scene, the second scene, or even the tenth, scene Director Wong insists we better recognize. Wong pummels the viewer with le Sourd’s blazing techniques. Identical shot after identical shot render le Sourd’s imagery utterly meaningless.

    This film stars the great of Zizi Zhang of Crouching Tiger (2000) and Hero fame. Here she plays a supporting character, and, oh yeah, is totally wasted as an actress. The disorganized mess of direction spends more time showing slow motion side angles of her pretty face than probably any other single device in the film. Zhang’s combat is graceful as always, but this gets boring fast as there is no discernable purpose to all her fighting.

    The main character Ip Man flees whatever Chinese town he’s from as the crisis of a Japanese invasion occurs, but we don’t even care. Eventually Zhang’s character and Ip Man magically meet up in Hong Kong, but by this point, thanks to the miasmic mess that has spewed fourth since the beginning of the film, the only think we do care about as viewers is the amount of time left until the credits roll.
  14. Sep 23, 2013
    Estetizzante? Eh sì, estetizzante già a partire dagli splendidi titoli di testa tutti giocati su colori che continuamente si mischiano e si perdono. Poi ci sono gli insistiti primi piani degli attori, un’accurata ricostruzioni di interni sia in una Cina d’anteguerra che pare fuori dal tempo, sia nella più urbana Hong Kong degli anni Cinquanta e il chiaroscuro fortemente contrastato in cui risaltano i visi e gli oggetti spezzato solo dal biancore della neve della terra del nord. Per non parlare poi dei combattimenti, in cui la violenza stilizzata in fascinose coreografie che li fanno davvero assomigliare a balletti (già l’idea del coreografo apposito intrigante come poche) o, infine, della pioggia che batte impietosa nei momenti di confronto più duro e qualche parentela con ‘C’era una volta in America’ ce l’ha e difatti ecco spuntare il ‘Tema di Deborah’ nella scena dell’addio in una buia strada secondaria. La vendetta di Gong Er si consuma invece sotto la neve in una stazione felliniana e si potrebbe andare avanti ancora, ma diciamocelo con franchezza chi se ne frega? Perché l’elenco di cui sopra che pure potrebbe continuare fonte di un vero piacere per gli occhi ma anche per il cervello e il modo migliore per goderne lasciarsi andare al flusso delle immagini, come ascoltando una sinfonia inutile star lì a contar le note: vero che se la scrittura avesse la stessa qualità, lo stesso rigore della parte visiva staremmo a parlare di un capolavoro e non solo di un ottimo film, ma la pellicola regala comunque splendidi momenti. La biografia di Ip Man maestro di kung-fu il cui allievo migliore e più famoso Bruce Lee stata più volte trattata dal cinema di Cina e dintorni: Wong Kar-Wai, che stato uno dei primi a pensarci, arriva da buon ultimo a causa, si racconta, di una maniacale cura al montaggio che ha portato via almeno un anno. La sua scelta suoi anche il soggetto e, seppur in collaborazione, la sceneggiatura di raccontare per quadri prendendo pochi momenti significativi e legandoli con didascalie (in cinese anche nella versione italiana e lette da una voce fuoricampo): la scelta del maestro del nord Gong Yutian di fare di Ip Man il suo discepolo al sud, il rapporto dello stesso Ip con la di lui figlia Gong Er, la guerra che sconvolge la vita del protagonista, la sua lenta rinascita da profugo a Hong Kong dove ritrova Gong Er che, dopo aver vendicato il padre, sembra non avere più scopo nella vita. Una narrazione in cui non tutto funziona, con personaggi che appaiono e poi spariscono, ingenerando qualche disorientamento (ho confuso per un bel po’ Ma San con il Rasoio e, comunque, non ho ancora ben chiaro il ruolo di quest’ultimo nell’economia generale della storia), ma comunque un difetto che, dato tutto il resto, si perdona facilmente. Altrettanto succede con un finale un po’ tirato per le lunghe, anche se giustificato ‘teoricamente’, visto che i protagonisti mettono in pratica l’ultimo degli insegnamenti di Gong Yutian, la capacità di guardarsi indietro. Del resto, l’arte marziale vista come una filosofia di vita un assioma che ben conosciamo, ma, attenzione, se questo un film sul kung-fu, teorico e pratico, non meno importante la storia d’amore tra Ip Man e Gong Er. Un rapporto stilizzato anch’esso e puramente platonico, fatto di sguardi e dialoghi asciugati con cura (a volte si ha un po’ l’impressione che tutti quanti parlino per frasi fatte): all’inizio, lui fedele alla bella moglie e alla famiglia, mentre quando i due si ritrovano lei non ha più niente da dare. Un sentimento impossibile che comunica l’infinita varietà di sfumature e possibilità che possono intercorrere tra un uomo e una donna, una situazione ben diversa da quella presente nel kung-fu dove come afferma di Ip Man ‘esistono solo due parole: orizzontale e verticale. Commetti un errore: orizzontale. Sei l'ultimo che resta in piedi e vinci’. Expand
  15. Sep 17, 2013
    It is a movie about Yip Man, Chineese martial arts master who trained Bruce Lee. If I had to characterize the movie in one word, I would pick "eclectic". It is a movie about a real person but not docu-drama. It is an action movie but quite slow most of time. It is very artsy but not consistently and sometimes lacking taste. Some episodes are just weird. Overall, it did not appeal to me. Expand
  16. Sep 15, 2013
    Reasons why 'The Grandmaster' failed to me ~

    * Don't expect to watch an Ip Man movie.
    The movie tells a story about several grandmasters and Ip Man is in the middle. It seems the main premise was about the Gong Er and the teaching of the '46 hands'. The story bounces between Ip Man, Gong Er, Ma Sin, and etc. It was all over the place. Ergo, I never gotten the chance to relate to
    the characters. I wish the film focused on one character.

    * Pull the camera back, please.
    Granted the film was at times had inspiring cinematography, but it feels congested with back to back close ups or half-body shots with unnecessary or misplaced change of shutter speed to normal frame rate film editing. There was scene where Ma Sin and the Grandmaster was talking to each other. I never caught on until 45+ seconds of dialogue. Why? There was no establishing shot where you know there are two people in the room. But the funniest of them all is the freaking close ups of feet and icicles!

    * Don't expect to watch a Kung-Fu movie.
    A top with close-ups. I like to watch a martial arts film where I can see both fighters duking it (and subtract the change shutter speed frame rate too). The fight scenes were really short. It seems the director don't trust the actors remembering fight choreography. The longest fight scene was Gong Er vs. Ma Sin which was the climax of the film (again, not a Ip Man movie). My experience of the film, it is more artsy than Kung-Fu.

    * It needs a bit of editing love.
    I do like artsy films. I do like the film's cinematography and scene lighting, but the fight scenes was cuts were too fast while dramatic scenes were too long. In some dramatic scenes, there people turning their heads as if it was the opening scene of Michael Jackson's 'Smooth Criminal' music video. Heck, one point they reused the same head turn of an old guy wearing a hat with a yellow-green-ish lighting. It was unnecessary fillers throughout the film. There was a scene were Gong Er take a puff of opium and then she lays down on her bed. Within that scene, there were about four shots in her bed that were very similar and it lasted about 60 to 120 seconds.

    I walked out the theater without any redeeming feelings to say 'The Grandmaster' is good or bad or good-bad film. It was just awful. If I was exposed to the director, Kar Wai Wong, other films, I may have a different view. If I knew his other works. I would expect “The Grandmaster' an artsy film. With the exposure of Ip Man and 'a film of the martial arts teacher of Bruce Lee' being the main tag-line of the description and trailers, I expected a Kung-Fu film. Biggest film trolled ever!
  17. Sep 12, 2013
    As film buffs are all acclimatized with the fact that every Kar Wai Wong’s project has to endure an excruciatingly procrastinated process of filming and editing since IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (2000, 9/10), an almost six-year gap between THE GRANDMASTER and his first misfired Hollywood foray MY BLUEBERRY NIGHT (2007, 8/10) does manifest Wong’s perverse assiduity and forbearance on his own artifact, apart from the sporadic but stretching-out shooting spells, Wong is also universally distinguished for other idiosyncrasies such as script-less improvisations for his cast, the stylish oriental aesthetics dramatized by the over-sentimental score, larger-than-life characters uttering aphorisms with philosophic undertones and last but not the least, the cinematography brimful of vim and vigor (on this occasion, Philippe Le Sourd is the new DP).

    I’ve been consistently vouching for Wong simply because he is my favorite Hong Kong director, albeit his perceptible slump of his career orbit in the noughties, even his less-successful esoteric saga-tale 2046 (2004, 9/10) has won me over without a hitch. THE GRANDMASTER reunites Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang as rivals-cum-mutual-attracted-contemporaries Kung Fu masters Ip Man and Gong Er, spanning over 50 years in the tumultuous southern China from the beginning of 20th Century, despite of its 130 minutes length (I watched the Chinese theatrical version), the film somewhat stymies its audiences from getting a comprehensive grip on Ip Man, the nominal protagonist, instead, it leans heavily on the plot of Gong Er’s obstinate revenge for her father’s demise, maybe Chinese viewers have already fed up with a plethora of Ip Man on screen (notably Donnie Yen’s Ip Man series), so this approach lends Ziyi Zhang a rare platform to outshine Tony Leung in rendering a meatier portraiture of a woman’s fortitude and pluck in the male-dominant Kung Fu métier.

    The dazzling action sequences are scattered wantonly among Wong’s slow-paced, micro-distant frames zero in his players’ amber countenances, the opening fight manages to achieve an ultra clarity of splashing raindrops in the Stygian night, and the subsequent ones are all meticulously shot with slow-motion interactions and two thumbs up for all the actors, name-checking Tong Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Max Zhang and Chen Chang for their strenuous endeavor in their martial arts training.

    While Japanese composer Shigeru Umebayashi continues his collaboration with Wong,
    Stefano Lentini’s adaption of soprano piece “Stabat Mater” imprints on one’s mind profoundly in this otherwise over-scored Kung Fu spectacle. My first viewing may fall short below my much-hyped anticipation, the disjointed narrative (most obtrusively is the largely-subtracted subplot of Chen Chang’s Yi Xian Tian) and underdevelopment of Ip Man’s own storyline cast a shadow in Wong’s latest offering, one might compulsively wonder who is the real grandmaster here, the taciturnly suave Ip Man or the intrepidly determined Gong Er?
  18. Sep 9, 2013
    I am a fan of Chinese Martial arts films such as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "House of Flying Daggers", and "Hero" so I went to see this film. While it was beautiful to look at, the story, what little there is, didn't hold my interest. It is crucial that the two leads have chemistry for this slow, plodding story to succeed, and I felt ZERO chemistry between them. I enjoyed the look and soundtrack of the film but never was engaged. Expand
  19. Sep 7, 2013
    I enjoyed this movie a great deal. Though it should be stated up front that this particular movie is in a very different style than the previous movie depicting the life of Ip Man, and that it takes a few liberties with his story for the sake of a major portion of the plot.

    The majority of fight scenes were choreographed as if two opponents were dancing on a stage and just as beautiful
    to watch. The pacing might be a bit slow for some audiences but lets be honest, that isn't the audience this movie is going for with its incredibly artful approach and major emphasis on story instead of just endless fights for no reason so the pacing argument doesn't really hold much weight.

    Virtually the only complaint I had after walking out of the theater was that there were some scenes which seemed unfinished or like something else was meant to be there but was obviously not. After looking into this I quickly discovered that it is because there was actually something else there in other versions. American audiences are receiving a version that is about 20 minutes shorter than the cut shown to other audiences and that 20 minutes is all story that is missing. So while the version in America suffers from unfortunate editing it seems that the full version/director's cut/international version/whatever you want to call it likely does not. Of course the only way to confirm this will be to wait until the DVD/Blu-Ray release which will hopefully be a director's cut. Even without those 20 minutes it is incredibly satisfying to watch and I would completely recommend this movie to anybody even remotely interested.
  20. Sep 3, 2013
    Kar Wai Wong creates wonderful Chinese art films ("Chungking Express," "In the Mood for Love"). This is his attempt to put "art" to martial arts. It's a broad-stroke bio of kung fu master Ip Man with the following structure: a physical encounter, a slow serious conversation, some narration, repeat. Visually, this is rich and masterful. The fights are fast, flashy and reality based. For martial arts history buffs, this might work, but anyone seeking a sumptuous film like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" will find the slow pacing and affected style to be a disappointment. (In Chinese with fast subtitles) Expand
  21. Sep 3, 2013
    I was expecting a lot more with, both, the critic and user reviews, but people are obviously still drawing some smokey parallels between the artistry, of both film and story, of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" to "movies" like "The Grandmaster". Let's just say that "The Grandmaster" is stuffed full of slow motion kung fu choreography and long glances between Ip Man and Lady Gong, but it's less of a film than empty kung fu porn interspersed with a vignette of family revenge. Ip Man isn't really a character in this movie, but an avatar to join the kung fu porn from scene to scene. Then he disappears for nearly half of the movie so Lady Gong can do her thing. So, calling this movie "The Grandmaster" is problematic, because the only coherent story in this film isn't really about Ip Man, or even the Old Grand Master, but his daughter rescuing the honor of her family from the punk who her father, the old Grand Master, gave his fighting legacy to. Ip Man's story in the movie is so lightweight, that it feels secondary, if even a story at all. In the end, you leave wondering what the point of the movie was at all. Now, movies don't always have to have some super precise and epic story, but we are supposed to care about the path that Ip Man took to Grandmaster, at least that's what I thought was the point, and the writers spent barely any part of the movie telling that story in anywhere near an effective manner. Ip Man was underdeveloped. The love story was underdeveloped. The history was not woven into the story effectively. I love artistically executed films, but Wong Kar Wai has become a master of style over substance. This movie tries to do 2 things that could have their own story, one of Ip Man's path to Hong Kong, and the other of Lady Gong's quest to recover her father's legacy. It only tells one of these stories decently (Gong's) and the other it completely fails. So, we basically have a 2 hour movie with about 30 minutes that really grabs you. This is not a good movie. Don't let the decent score fool you. Everyone who I went to see the movie with agreed... If you want to see a movie about Ip Man, see "Ip Man". If you want to see a beautiful kung fu movie, see "Crouching Tiger". "The Grandmaster" is chaff. Expand
  22. Aug 31, 2013
    The first 2/3 of this movie is interesting and beautiful. Then, it is Hong Kong 1952 and a flashback to 10 years earlier occurs. The movie then goes to a whole new and mesmerizing level for the final third of the film.

    There are many things to enjoy about this movie. Go see for yourself and enjoy the cinematography, editing, acting, action choreography, script, music and overall tone
    and mood of this gorgeous movie. Expand
  23. Aug 31, 2013
    stupid ass movie that doesnt really deliver any story. if you took out the long glazing film school shots and just watched the boring fight scenes you' d probably be done in 30 min. who the is "the razor". this guy gets some screen that time doesnt mesh into the main story. GOng er doesnt even get a rematch with IP man who's got to be most boring protagonist I've ever watched. There's a reason Bruce Lee made the kinds of films that he did, this romanticized crap is something he was against. Expand
  24. Aug 30, 2013
    Definitely the best one among numerous martial arts films! This movie is more than Kung Fu. It is a sound story introducing a fundamental spirit of Chinese culture. Stronger on Kung Fu does not necessarily mean a stronger image. It is vision and breadth of mind.
  25. Aug 30, 2013
    It is not just Kung Fu, it is spirit. Keep the light burning.

    The Grandmaster is, at its most persuasive, about the triumph of style. When Ip Man slyly asks “What’s your style?” it’s clear that Mr. Wong is asking the same question because here, as in his other films, style isn’t reducible to ravishing surfaces; it’s an expression of meaning. The New York Times
  26. Aug 27, 2013
    It's an absolutely beautiful film beautifully shot, engaging story, and elegant action sequences. Ziyi Zhang is phenomenal in portraying her story of loyalty and commitment. I was enthralled throughout.
  27. Aug 23, 2013
    Unlike martial arts film in the wuxia style, such as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," that are typically set in a fantasy pre-modern era, "The Grandmaster" is set against the specific backdrop of the political upheaval in China from the 1930s to the 1950s, including the Japanese invasion and civil war. And though Wong said he does not know what his next film will be, he feels satisfied the years of work have come to fruition with "The Grandmaster." "I know I'm not going to make many kung fu films," Wong said. "This may be the only kung fu film I make, I don't know. I want to put everything I know about kung fu films into this film." Wong Kar Wai is known as an international master of moody romance, making films filled with a yearning melancholy. His "In the Mood for Love" was the only film from this century to make the Top 25 of a recent Sight & Sound poll of the greatest films of all time. So news that he was making a kung fu film tracing the life of Ip Man, who would famously go on to train Bruce Lee, caught many of his fans off-guard. Playing now in Los Angeles, the long-awaited film has already been the biggest commercial hit of Wong's career in China, even with its unlikely combination of a rousing martial arts story and a moving tale of romantic longing. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Sep 6, 2013
    A superb martial discipline has ended in a commercial movie genre--not the worst fate in the world, but the comic irony of it is of little interest to a director bent on glorification. [9 Sept. 2013, p.90]
  2. Reviewed by: Randy Cordova
    Sep 2, 2013
    The movie ultimately winds up falling between two stools, failing as both a biography and an action film. Martial arts fans will naturally be drawn to the story, but the film does nothing to open up the world to outsiders.
  3. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Aug 31, 2013
    The director took great efforts to be true to Chinese martial arts, but he did so without sacrificing his own distinctive vision.