Friday, August 30, 2013

Opened August 23, 2013 
2 hr 10 min
PG-13 | Language, Brief Drug Use, Some Smoking and Violence
Genres: Documentary, Drama

Director Wong Kar Wai brings us a stunning adaptation of a period of life of Ip Man in The Grandmaster.  With beautiful cinematography, stunning visuals that will delight your senses with it's bold palette of colors.  As well a solid acting cast led by Tony Leung (Ip Man) and Zhang Ziyi (Gong Er).  With all of these things going for the film, it suffers from a long fragmented plot that paces like a snail on one of its bad days.

The Grandmaster covers the period of Ip Man's life approximately from the 1930's up until his death in Hong Kong.  Majority of the story though focuses on his relationship with Gong Er, whose family is from the North, Ip representing the South.  Gong Er's father is a well renown Martial Artist Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang) who is in his late years of life, while Ip is around his peak.  Yutian besides his daughter has another gifted student in Ma San (Zhang Jin) who plays the chief protagonist in the story.  Unfortunately, the story becomes more of a Gong family biopic with their infighting taking center stage most of the film.  Zhang Ziyi shines the most in the movie given the amount of screen time and emotions and scenarios she gets to play out in the film.  Often with brilliance. 

As I've said earlier what will impress you most with the film are the visuals, from the sets to the costumes to the slow panning of everyday items that jumps at you.  Like the red dye tea eggs from the celebration to the snow covered empty bench that Gong Er steps away from.  Wong Kar Wai creates a beautiful world from the cold North to the slow raining fight scenes.  It however makes the film a lot longer than it should be, distracting you from the story with such long breaks in between dialogue and action scenes.  The slow and go fight scenes through out the movie is used too frequently making the fight scene more choreographed looking than smooth actual fighting.

Overall, I would still recommend this movie.  It's not the best biopic of Ip Man but it has more than enough going for it to make it worth watching among the many other biopics of the Wing Chun master.  The movie is mostly in Mandarin with English subtitles and is playing in U.S. theaters right now.

Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars



  • Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as Ip Man
  • Zhang Ziyi as Gong Er
  • Song Hye-kyo as Cheung Wing-sing (Zhang Yongcheng)
  • Chang Chen as "The Razor" Yixiantian
  • Zhao Benshan as Ding Lianshan
  • Wang Qingxiang as Gong Yutian
  • Zhang Jin as Ma San
  • Yuen Woo-ping as Chan Wah-shun (Chen Huashun)
  • Xiaoshenyang as Sanjiangshui
  • Cung Le as Tiexieqi
  • Shang Tielong as Jiang
  • Lo Hoi-pang as Uncle Deng
  • Chin Shih-chieh as Gong clan elder
  • Wang Jue as Gong clan elder
  • Lau Ga-yung as Yong
  • Lau Shun as Rui
  • Zhou Xiaofei as Gu
  • Bruce Leung
  • Julian Cheung
  • Lo Mang
  • Berg Ng

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,