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
The project was announced almost 10 years before its final release, due to director Kar-Wai Wong's endless perfectionism. Several other motion pictures about the Ip Man that were conceived after this announcement (most famously Yip Man (2008) and Ip Man 2 (2010)) were all released in the meantime. See more »
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...
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The original version released in Asia removes a portion of Yi Xintian's subplot. The rain fight sequence between Xintian and Ip Man shown in the trailer, for example, was removed. However, Wong Karwai then recut the movie for a special Berlin Film Festival screening by incorporating the missing scenes back, but editing out several scenes from the original version including a fight sequence between Ip Man and a Hong Kong challenger. Both versions are missing crucial segments that made all three main characters' journey feel incomplete. The actual finished movie was rumored to be 4 hours long. Wong Karwai mentioned he had no intention of releasing the 4 hour version. See more »
Extremely beautiful to look at but also also a tad too hard to follow and uninvolving.
'THE GRANDMASTER': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
Critically acclaimed Kung Fu epic about legendary Chinese martial-arts master Ip Man. Ip Man was the Wing Chun grandmaster and his most famous student was Bruce Lee. This film chronicles the years leading up to his success as a martial arts teacher. It stars Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as Ip Man and Zhang Ziyi as Gong Er, his main love interest. Kar Wai Wong directed and co-wrote the movie (with Jingzhi Zou and Haofeng Xu). Wong is famous for directing and writing other popular Hong Kong period piece dramas like '2046' and 'IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE'. I'd rate this flick about the same as Wong's others; I thought it was extremely beautiful to look at but it's also a tad too hard to follow and uninvolving.
The story focuses as much on Gong Er (Ziyi) as it does Ip Man and follows a love story between the two as they keep in contact for many years following a fight for Gong's family's honor. Ip Man had defeated her father, Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang) in a battle that was as much about philosophical ideas as combat. The film follows Ip Man's years during the Second Sino-Japanese War, in 1938, struggling through poverty with his family. It also focuses on Gong Er's attempt at vengeance against the man who murdered her father, Ma San (Zhang Jin).
The story is told in a very disjointed way and it was really hard for me to keep up with what was going on in it. I often find these epic Hong Kong Kung Fu flicks to be dull anyway and wasn't too interested in seeing this one. It did get mostly good reviews from critics though and it's nominated for two 2014 Oscars (in Cinematography and Costume Design). It definitely deserves those award nominations and is very breathtaking to look at. I also think Zhang Ziyi is one of the more beautiful and sexy women in cinema today and she gives a great performance here. I'm not sure how I feel about Leung Chiu-Wai as an actor, he's not bad in this movie but I didn't really learn to care for his character much at all. The martial-arts scenes are grand and epic though and I'm sure fans of the genre will be more than pleased.
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