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
Official submission of Hong Kong to the Oscars 2014 best foreign language film category. See more »
[Ip Man thrashes a goon who demands money allegedly for his mother's funeral]
This is prayer money. Sooner or later, you'll join your mother.
Come to think of it, you remind me of my dad. Do you need a disciple?
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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 »
The Grandmaster chronicles the life of Ip Man Wing Chun (played by Tony Leung), in Foshan in the 1930s and his flight to Hong Kong after the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Ip Man's peaceful life is threatened by Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang), a retiring martial arts master from the north, is doing anything but encouraging the friendship with the south. Meanwhile his newly appointed heir Ma San (Zhang Jin) turns out to be up to no good and kills this master. His daughter, the beautiful Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi), is determined to avenge his father's death, but of course to do so she'll have to renounce a happy life with Ip Man.
Wong Kar-wai's tenth feature film is a return to form for the Hong Kong auteur. The Grandmaster looks stunning, courtesy of cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd's incredible vision. Wong once again plays with slow motion, distorting the image, filming through glass and creating a dynamic and immersive picture. This film is a visual spectacle. You could turn off the sound and still have a great experience, but don't do it, because Frankie Chan's score is a pleasure to listen to: engrossing, in the quiet scenes and epic, in the climactic scenes. The acting is definitely high-caliber, like you would expect from a Wong Kar-wai film, and Zhang Ziyi is just dazzling.
Personally, I don't have much knowledge or interest in the martial arts subgenre, which is why I was amazed by how much I enjoyed this film. I am a big Wong Kar-wai fan though and he manages once more to subvert genre expectations. From the gorgeous opening titles and the grandiose opening scene I was on board with this film. I usually get lost with the plot in films like these, but fortunately as with most of Wong's films the story is not the most important thing. His writing is top-tier and surprisingly focused. I thought the fights looked badass and well choreographed. The use of different film stock adds to the historical angle and looks really cool. Knowing Wong's films I was expecting more in terms of the romantic storyline, but reflecting on it now, I understand that he was going for a less is more approach in this one.
All in all, a very good film that can be appreciated by kung fu genre aficionados as something different and refreshing; Wong Kar-wai fans of course, for his distinctive style and people who are just looking for something to feast their eyes on.
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