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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 »
Tony Chiu Wai Leung,
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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
Wing Chun is a Chinese martial art that emphasizes short-range practical combat with direct punches and blocks and low kicks. Its practitioners are trained to quickly approach and engage opponents at close range. This can negate the longer range of taller opponents by attacking from inside their offensive perimeter. See more »
I can see why some people might not like "The Grandmaster". Martial artists who want an accurate biopic of Ip Man will be as disappointed by this as by the earlier film "Ip Man"; on the other hand, such a film would probably be deadly boring to anyone else. On the other hand, people wanting a straightforward kung fu flick will also be disappointed. This is a kung fu art film, and as such, it excels. Every shot is a picture, and the film should be watched accordingly. If you don't like the kind of film where the camera pans away from a fight to zoom in on some raindrops, don't watch it.
The story is a little confusing, not least because it is as much about Gong Er as Ip Man - in fact it should have been called "The Grandmasters" (a title Wong Kar-Wai briefly considered). The understated flirtation between the two of them is a rather thin device to keep the two story-lines together and the main reason I'm not giving this film a ten. Having a real person fall in love with a fictional character just seems pointless. The other thing I knocked off a point for is that the stories of the other masters - Ma San and The Razor - seem to have been mostly left on the cutting room floor. Ma Sen thus comes across as a cardboard "bad student" and The Razor seems superfluous.
From a martial arts point of view, it's fun watching the different styles and the disputes between them. Again, nothing actually happened like it did in the film, and the fights are stylised representations of what a fight between masters of different styles would look like, but the moves are recognisable as Wing Chun, Hong Gar, Bagua and so forth. Zhang Ziyi studied a lot of Bagua while preparing for the film, and it shows. A martial arts (or even a martial arts film) background is not necessary to enjoy the film, though; the cinematography alone carries it.
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