- Starring: Benshan Zhao, Chen Chang, Cung Le, Hye-kyo Song, Jin Zhang, Qingxiang Wang, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Ziyi Zhang
- Summary: The Grandmaster is an epic action feature inspired by the life and times of legendary martial-arts master Ip Man. The story spans the tumultuous Republican era that followed the fall of Chinaâ
- Director: Kar Wai Wong
- Genre(s): Action, Biography, Drama
- More Details and Credits »
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.
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.
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.
Aug 30, 2013It 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… Expand
Aug 31, 2013The 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
Nov 28, 2013There'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
Sep 12, 2013As film buffs are all acclimatized with the fact that every Kar Wai Wong’s project has to endure an excruciatingly procrastinated process of f 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?… Collapse
Sep 17, 2013It 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
Sep 3, 2013I 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
Dec 2, 2013I 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.… Expand