The Grandmaster Image
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 68 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Aug 22, 2013
    100
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 29, 2013
    88
    The Grandmaster sets aside traditional story structure in its last 15 minutes and becomes one of the filmmaker’s free-form visual poems, suffused with melancholy and compassion.
  3. Reviewed by: Clarence Tsui
    Feb 10, 2013
    80
    True to Wong’s style, The Grandmaster is infused with melancholy and a near-existentialist resignation to the uncertainties of fate.
  4. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Aug 22, 2013
    75
    Wong extracts magnetic performances from his two stars, and Philippe Le Sourd delivers gorgeous cinematography.
  5. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Aug 21, 2013
    67
    At the end of the day, the pesky imperative to convey information is still a driving force; more than anything Wong has ever made, the movie chokes on exposition, its more poetic concerns stifled by its surfeit of plot.
  6. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Aug 20, 2013
    63
    A regal, majestic and downright arty take on this teacher, champion and philosopher whose life spanned much of the twentieth century.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 30, 2013
    40
    The end result feels like only half a movie. That half -- the technical half, with Wong's stylistic flourishes and the film's lush technical elements -- is a heck of a film. The rest of The Grandmaster, however -- the storytelling -- is anything but grand.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 26
  2. Negative: 7 out of 26
  1. Nov 28, 2013
    10
    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
  2. Aug 30, 2013
    10
    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. Expand
  3. Aug 27, 2013
    9
    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. Expand
  4. Feb 3, 2014
    6
    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.
    Expand
  5. Sep 17, 2013
    5
    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
  6. Sep 28, 2013
    3
    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.
    Expand
  7. Dec 2, 2013
    1
    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:

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

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

    Drama
    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.
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See all 26 User Reviews