MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 265 this week

The Grandmaster (2013)
"Yi dai zong shi" (original title)

6.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 19,011 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 98 user | 243 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.

Director:

Writers:

(story), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available now. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 33 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 48 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 25 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 36 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 25 titles
created 4 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Grandmaster" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Grandmaster (2013)

The Grandmaster (2013) on IMDb 6.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Grandmaster.

User Polls

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 51 wins & 42 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

2046 (2004)
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The women who enter a science fiction author's life, over the course of a few years, after the author loses the woman he considers his one true love.

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Tony Chiu Wai Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Faye Wong
Ashes of Time (1994)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A broken-hearted hit man moves to the desert where he finds skilled swordsmen to carry out his contract killings.

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, Leslie Cheung
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Yiu-Fai and Po-Wing arrive in Argentina from Hong Kong and take to the road for a holiday. Something is wrong and their relationship goes adrift. A disillusioned Yiu-Fai starts working at a... See full summary »

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Tony Chiu Wai Leung, Chen Chang
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Tony Chiu Wai Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ping Lam Siu
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Two melancholy Hong Kong policemen fall in love: one with a mysterious female underworld figure, the other with a beautiful and ethereal server at a late-night restaurant he frequents.

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Brigitte Lin, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tony Chiu Wai Leung
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Set in 1960, the film centres on the young, boyishly handsome Yuddy, who learns from the drunken ex-prostitute who raised him that she is not his real mother. Hoping to hold onto him, she ... See full summary »

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young woman takes a soul-searching journey across America to resolve her questions about love while encountering a series of offbeat characters along the way.

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Norah Jones, Jude Law, Natalie Portman
Fallen Angels (1995)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A disillusioned killer embarks on his last hit but first he has to overcome his affections for his cool, detached partner. Thinking it's dangerous and improper to become involved with a ... See full summary »

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Leon Lai, Michelle Reis, Takeshi Kaneshiro
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Mid-level gangster Wah falls in love with his beautiful cousin, but must also continue to protect his volatile partner-in-crime and friend, Fly.

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Jacky Cheung
Action | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

In postwar Hong Kong, legendary Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man is reluctantly called into action once more, when what begin as simple challenges from rival kung fu styles soon draw him into ... See full summary »

Director: Herman Yau
Stars: Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Gillian Chung, Jordan Chan
The Ferryman (2015)
Drama | Romance

A young woman falls in love with married painter Ma Li, whose wife is unfaithful to him.

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Wei Tang, Gianna Jun, Tony Chiu Wai Leung
Deja Vu III (2012)
Short | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Chen Chang, Du Juan
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Qingxiang Wang ...
Elvis Tsui ...
...
Chia Yung Liu ...
Chiu Yee Tsang ...
Hoi-Pang Lo ...
Shun Lau ...
Xiaofei Zhou ...
Sister San
Mancheng Wang ...
Master Ba
Ting Yip Ng ...
Brother Sau
Man Keung Cho ...
Cho Man
Tony Ling ...
Foshan Martial Artist
Tielong Shang ...
Jiang
Edit

Storyline

Ip Man's peaceful life in Foshan changes after Gong Yutian seeks an heir for his family in Southern China. Ip Man then meets Gong Er who challenges him for the sake of regaining her family's honor. After the Second Sino-Japanese War, Ip Man moves to Hong Kong and struggles to provide for his family. In the mean time, Gong Er chooses the path of vengeance after her father was killed by Ma San. Written by Immanuel Ambhara

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Once Upon a Time in Kung Fu See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, some smoking, brief drug use and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

30 August 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Grandmaster  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$132,617 (USA) (23 August 2013)

Gross:

$6,594,136 (USA) (18 October 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut) | (international)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Official submission of Hong Kong to the Oscars 2014 best foreign language film category. See more »

Quotes

Ma San: Gong Yutian spoke to me about his last move: Old Monkey Hangs Up His Badge. He said the secret of that move was to turn back. I didn't understand his meaning at the time, I thought he was unable to keep up with changing times...
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 86th Academy Awards (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

The Cable Car
Performed by Paris Philharmonic Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Wong's signature themes and artistic flourishes are still very much alive, but 'The Grandmaster' lacks a focused narrative for a compelling exploration of Ip Man's life
18 January 2013 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

"Don't tell me how good your skills are, how brilliant your master is and how profound your school is. Kung fu - two words - one horizontal, one vertical. If you're wrong, you'll be left lying down. If you're right, you're left standing. And only the ones who are standing have the right to talk."

For all intents and purposes, the film began as a biopic of one man – to be more specific, Ip Man, the influential kung-fu master who was instrumental in spreading the Wing Chun style around the world and who was perhaps better known for being Bruce Lee's master. But in the midst of exploring Ip Man's life, Wong must have been suddenly struck by the thought - What exactly makes Ip Man so special? Or even better, why should a movie set in the golden age of martial arts be solely about one grandmaster?

And so, despite Leung's omniscient voice-over, 'The Grandmaster' is in fact not about Ip Man alone. Be warned therefore, if you are expecting a movie focused on Ip Man, because you're likely to be sorely disappointed – as Tony Leung reportedly is – that you're likely to know more about the Man from the Donnie Yen films.

Indeed, the narrative is the film's biggest handicap, though to be fair, it only becomes apparent later on. The first half-hour begins strongly with a rightful focus on Ip, and key highlights include his initiation into martial arts by his master Chen Heshun (Yuen Woo-Ping) and his loving marriage to Zhang Yongcheng (Song Hye-kyo). Ip's first challenge would come with the arrival of Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang), a venerable kung fu master from northeastern China looking to consolidate his power in the southeast even as he retires.

After Ip goes on to win the battle of minds with Gong, the latter's daughter Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi) stands up to challenge Ip yet again in a bid to restore her family's reputation. That duel also marks a turning point for the movie, which shifts away from Ip and explores the vendetta that ensues between Gong Er and her father's power-hungry protégé Ma San (Zhang Jin) against the backdrop of the Japanese occupation of China.

Against the better advice of her elders, she forsakes her betrothal to avenge the death of her father at Ma San's hands, which culminates in a thrilling battle set at an old railway station in Hong Kong one New Year's Eve. Where is Ip Man's involvement in all this? Admittedly there is little.

Though Wong does bring Ip back into the picture towards the end of the film, his audience is likely to have grown too emotionally detached from the character. A scene towards the end that portrays supposedly the last time Ip met Gong Er is infused with the director's signature sense of longing and regret as the latter reveals her feelings for the former, but how that bears relevance to what Wong is trying to say about Ip or Gong Er's tumultuous lives is too obscure.

In fact, throughout the film, Wong offers little insight into the person of Ip Man. What might have been a meaningful portrait of his relationship with Yongcheng is lost when the latter is practically forgotten in the second half of the movie. We learn little too of Ip's relocation to Hong Kong, and how he built up his reputable school for Wing Chun. All things considered, a more coherent portrait of Gong Er actually emerges from the movie.

Rather than regard it as a Ip Man biopic therefore you'll be better off seeing it as Wong's philosophical musings on martial artists. Fans of the auteur will recognise these familiar themes from his previous works, but Wong's treatment is still unparalleled in conveying regret, longing, and unspoken desires – whether is it Ip Man and Gong Er's mutual affection for each other, or Gong Er's lament for a life less fully lived.

Le Sourd's visuals are also particularly ravishing in the action sequences, designed with much imagination and flair by veteran choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping. The opening sequence that sees Ip Man take on a whole gang of men along a rain-soaked street is filmed with utmost clarity on the beauty and precision of the moves, with the subsequent duels between Ip Man and Gong Yutian as well as Gong Er equally breathtaking to behold.

Keenly aware of the actors' limitations, Yuen goes for elegance over spectacle. Nonetheless, both Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi also perform impressively given their lack of a martial arts background, the months of training to get them prepared physically for their respective roles paying off in the grace and confidence by which they execute their moves.

Nonetheless, Zhang easily trounces Leung in the film's dramatic scenes, the former's combination of grit and vulnerability making Gong Er a more compelling figure than Ip Man. The fault of course isn't Leung's alone, as his usual penchant for nuance and understatement unfortunately working against his portrayal in a narrative that pretty much relegates his character's account as a marker of the passage of time.

Of course, narrative was never a strong suite in Wong's films, which typically were mood pieces boosted by his signature artistic flourishes. These trademarks are still very much alive in 'The Grandmaster', which is easily one of the most beautiful kung fu movies ever made. But plot plays a much more important role here than in Wong's other films, since it is ultimately through Ip Man's experiences in life that we come to understand his deeper introspections. This is where Wong's film stumbles, relegating Ip Man to a sideshow instead of placing him front and centre – and given all that hype and expectation of Wong's Ip Man biopic, the cut we see here can only be regarded as a disappointment.


40 of 65 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
China cut version compared to American version? peterpulp-1
Story is so disjointed grimah
Who is The Razor MCalamari
In Mandarin or Cantonese? MiztuhX
The editing makes and breaks this movie HyBarry
i feel for the acting crew adultblues
Discuss The Grandmaster (2013) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?