The Grandmaster Image

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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 76 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
    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
    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
    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
    Wong extracts magnetic performances from his two stars, and Philippe Le Sourd delivers gorgeous cinematography.
  5. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Aug 21, 2013
    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. 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
    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 27
  2. Negative: 7 out of 27
  1. 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
  2. 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. Expand
  3. 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. Expand
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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.

See all 27 User Reviews