The Grandmaster (2013) poster
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 785 users
# of Watchers: 1,562
Reviews: 2 users
Ranked #6265
Popularity #6416
Watchers 785

"The Grand Master" centers around Wing Chun grand master Ip Man, who had several students who would later became martial arts teachers in their own right, including Bruce Lee. By the internationally renowned Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai . Edit Translation

  • English
  • 中文(台灣)
  • Español
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • Country: Hong Kong
  • Type: Movie
  • Release Date: Jan 8, 2013
  • Duration: 2 hr. 10 min.
  • Score: 7.5 (scored by 785 users)
  • Ranked: #6265
  • Popularity: #6416
  • Content Rating: 13+ - Teens 13 or older

Where to Watch The Grandmaster

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The Grandmaster (2013) photo
The Grandmaster (2013) photo
The Grandmaster (2013) photo
The Grandmaster (2013) photo
The Grandmaster (2013) photo

Reviews

Completed
The Butterfly
4 people found this review helpful
Mar 7, 2024
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 7.5

Horizontal or Vertical?

I watched The Grandmaster years ago and while I thought it was visually stunning, the story left me wanting. After watching several Wong Kar Wai films recently, I decided to revisit it and see if my perspective changed.

In 1936 Foshan, China, Grandmaster Gong Yu Tian is coming to town to pass the torch to a new Grandmaster. The consensus is that Ip Man would be a good choice but he will have to face Yu Tian. Yu Tian’s daughter, Gong Er and Ip Man eventually spar and a connection is made despite the fact that Ip Man is married and has children. Who is Grandmaster and who is horny for whom becomes irrelevant as the Japanese invade the country. Ip Man loses his home and his fortune as he and his family face poverty and starvation with much of the rest of the people. Because he belonged to the wrong political party after the war, he moves to Hong Kong around 1950. He will once again run into Gong Er, but her life has taken a drastic change.

As with the first time I saw this film, the cinematography was gorgeous and lush. Beautiful people in beautiful costumes filled the screen. Smoke from cigarettes or trains wafted and circled about as if alive. Snow and steam formed the perfect backdrop for a cataclysmic fight. As did rain and puddles when Ip Man fought a dozen men at the beginning of the film. Music as much as the standard Wong Kar Wai dark palette of green, yellow, and shocks of red set the mood.

The fights were entertaining, but more stylistic than realistic. Forced close-ups and slow motion made the fights more dance than danger, even when people were thrown through windows. Many times I wished they could move the camera back to show more of the full body motions, but with actors who are not martial artists that likely wasn’t possible. I was happy to see old school kung fu actors like Lo Meng and Lau Kar Yung make brief appearances. And I could have used much more of The Razor played by Chang Chen.

Tony Leung Chiu Wai was an elegant Ip Man, but it was hard to connect to the character with the uneven storytelling. He was also a man with a wife and children longing for another woman. Song Hye Kyo as Ip Man’s wife was mostly an afterthought. She had scarcely any lines. The romance was focused on Gong Er as was much of the film. Zhang Zi Yi gave a good performance as the daughter who vowed to return the family’s honor even if it meant her death. Another issue I had were the relentless voiceovers and intertitles, they completely broke the rhythm and mood for me, distancing me from the characters.

The Grandmaster was a striking film to look at but not as much fun to watch as the story often stumbled. And aside from the fight at the train station, much of it will fade from memory as it did the first time because there was little substance to cling to.

6 March 2024

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Completed
taehyungsfatnose
1 people found this review helpful
Dec 19, 2023
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 6.0
This review may contain spoilers

A battle you won't soon forget.

The opening film at the Berlin International Film Festival took a full 9 years to complete. Veteran perfectionist Wong Kar Wai is putting in the finishing touches, spending so much time on In the Mood for Love that the staff behind the Cannes festival worried that the film would not be able to enter the competition where it was scheduled to have its world premiere in 2000.

The year is 1936 in southern China. Gong Baosen (Wang Qingxiang) has passed his glory days and is about to retire. It is celebrated according to tradition at the Gold Pavillion brothel where Baosen challenges a younger man with the potential to take over the title of kung fu master. Ip Man (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) - Who in real life tutored Bruce Lee and trained in Wing Chun - Accepts the ordeal and takes over as the film's centerpiece.

War breaks out in Foshan between China and Japan and in the meantime Gong Baosen is murdered by his disciple Man San. Before leaving Earth, he wishes his daughter, Gong Er (Ziyi Zhang), to renounce a life in the world of martial arts, live in peace with a man by her side and not seek revenge. But can she resist the temptation with her father's fighting spirit in her blood?

The Grandmaster is told as a memoir with an eye on the past where the fourth wall is broken, jumping between romances and civil wars. The film spins on for two decades with clanging swords, pattering rain and kicks left and right. Sound, special effects and saturated lighting work together to form a kaleidoscope. Clouds of smoke and the sound of lovely strings in the background are earlier characteristics that can of course also be found in this work.

One could go on forever about the precise technical skills that make one drool with fascination. There is no doubt that the material has been handled with precision and the stylistic beauty is both a credit to the direction and script by Wong Kar Wai, as well as the impeccable work of cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd and William Chang Suk Ping who edited all of Wong's films. The camera records every little detail and every frame is a photograph or a painting.

The product is a film that, due to its dedicated cast, probably offers the most sensational and beautiful fight sequences ever seen. It provides a crash course in martial arts etiquette, different styles and holds, as well as the history of the Chinese nation with conflicts between the south and the north.

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Details

  • Movie: The Grandmaster
  • Country: Hong Kong
  • Release Date: Jan 8, 2013
  • Duration: 2 hr. 10 min.
  • Content Rating: 13+ - Teens 13 or older

Statistics

  • Score: 7.5 (scored by 785 users)
  • Ranked: #6265
  • Popularity: #6416
  • Watchers: 1,562

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