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The Grandmaster

Action . Drama . History . Biography

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.

Actors: Tony Leung Chiu Wai , Zhang Ziyi , Song Hye-Kyo , Chang Chen , Zhao Benshan , Cung Le , Yuen Woo-Ping , Wang Qingxiang , John Zhang Jin , Julian Cheung , Qingxiang Wang , Elvis Tsui
Directors: Kar-Wai Wong
Release: 2013-08-30
More Info:
  • Manohla Dargis

    The Grandmaster is, at its most persuasive, about the triumph of style. When Ip Man slyly asks “What’s your style?” it’s clear that Mr. Wong is asking the same question because here, as in his other films, style isn’t reducible to ravishing surfaces; it’s an expression of meaning.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    In short, I'd be the happiest person in the world if Wong announced there was a four-hour cut of this film somewhere. For now, neither version is perfect, but they’re both so beautiful, so heartbreaking, that the question may be moot. Whatever its flaws, seeing The Grandmaster theatrically, in any version, should be a sacrament for any true film lover — a spiritual duty.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    An exercise in pure cinematic style filled with the most ravishing images, The Grandmaster finds director Wong Kar-wai applying his impeccable visual style to the mass-market martial arts genre with potent results.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    The Grandmaster, may well be the definitive illustration of kung fu in all its arcane schools and intricate styles. There's never been anything like it — a seemingly endless flow of spectacular images in a story about Ip Man (Tony Leung), the legendary kung-fu master who trained Bruce Lee.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    The Grandmaster sets aside traditional story structure in its last 15 minutes and becomes one of the filmmaker’s free-form visual poems, suffused with melancholy and compassion.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    Intermittently action-packed and lethargic, the movie dances around formula. By delivering an expressionistic character study with bursts of intensity unlike anything else in his oeuvre and yet stylistically representative of its entirety, Wong practically has it both ways.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Kevin Harley

    Flawed but often flooring, The Grandmaster swoons with grace, feeling and elegance. With Leung and Zhang on killer form, Wong has delivered his best film in a decade.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Craig Williams

    It's a film that prompts an overwhelming emotional response as it weaves its dark magic.

    CineVue Full Review
  • Kim Newman

    It may not be much more than six of the most imaginatively staged and filmed fight scenes in the cinema, but that’s almost certainly enough to recommend it.

    Empire Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    It’s certainly not Wong’s greatest work; it may be a masterpiece that evades the mass audience or a beautiful failure with moments of greatness. All I know is that I got lost in it, and that I would still have loved it if it were twice as long with half the action. Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    This is a story told in shards; Wong is so obsessed with visual details – faces refracted as if in a broken mirror, or fragile arcs of blood being traced out on the pavement by the feet of two feuding kung fu masters – that the story he’s trying to tell is partly obscured by them. Full Review
  • Clarence Tsui

    True to Wong’s style, The Grandmaster is infused with melancholy and a near-existentialist resignation to the uncertainties of fate.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Maggie Lee

    Venturing into fresh creative terrain without relinquishing his familiar themes and stylistic flourishes, Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai exceeds expectations with The Grandmaster, fashioning a 1930s action saga into a refined piece of commercial filmmaking.

    Variety Full Review
  • Mark Jenkins

    The director took great efforts to be true to Chinese martial arts, but he did so without sacrificing his own distinctive vision.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    What's on screen in The Grandmaster is off-puttingly disjointed, but it's also dazzling in its startling action and ravishing romance.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Peter Keough

    Who knows what they’re fighting about, but given the ecstatic ballet of fists and water, tossed bodies and smashed decor, centered by Leung’s majestic impassivity, it doesn’t really matter.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Bill Stamets

    The elegant style of the fighting sequences does more than display camera and kung fu technique — this style also shows fighters living with honor.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    Whereas many kung-fu movies are a feast that leaves us weary with sensations, the tastefully bittersweet “Grandmaster” puts us in the mood for more.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Tony Leung plays Ip Man, the real-life kung fu innovator who most famously trained Bruce Lee. His life takes in the upheavals in China from the 1930s through the ’50s, including the Japanese occupation.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Steven Boone

    The Grandmaster is a drunken love letter to experience, which helps us survive, and wisdom, which helps us face aging, loss and, ultimately, the abyss. Wong, who was called the coolest director in the world when he was much younger, is now 57. This film is about a man like him, who has proven himself in the world and enters mid-life exuding a new, sage kind of cool. Full Review
  • V.A. Musetto

    Wong extracts magnetic performances from his two stars, and Philippe Le Sourd delivers gorgeous cinematography.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Scott Bowles

    An historical opus that is equal parts ballet and biography, though the second component pales in comparison with the first.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    The U.S. cut, which Wong endorses, runs a slim 108 minutes, and has by all accounts been reshaped for American audiences, who, by and large, don’t have the same foreknowledge of Ip Man, or martial arts, as Asian audiences do.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    At the end of the day, the pesky imperative to convey information is still a driving force; more than anything Wong has ever made, the movie chokes on exposition, its more poetic concerns stifled by its surfeit of plot.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Jessica Kiang

    All of Wong's undeniable visual flair can't conceal the haphazard nature of the story.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    There are sequences in Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s new film, The Grandmaster, that are as gorgeous as anything you’ll see on a screen this year, or perhaps this decade.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Drew Grant

    The Grandmaster offers welcome relief from a moviegoing summer spent in sensory overload.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    A regal, majestic and downright arty take on this teacher, champion and philosopher whose life spanned much of the twentieth century.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Chuck Bowen

    The film, more likely to invite comparisons to the writings of Marcel Proust than the previous Ip Man films, is a gorgeous folly that never entirely emerges from its creator's head.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    Wong’s visual grandeur is, as ever, all-encompassing.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Keith Phipps

    Wong’s usual concerns overwhelm the film, and though his pairing of fisticuffs and longing is sometimes awkward, he surrounds the awkwardness with some of the most beautiful images in his career. In Wong’s world, beauty goes a long way.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    The Grandmaster, five years in the making, feels like a waste of Wong’s talents.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    Tony Leung plays Ip Man with his old-movie charisma and reserve, but the film, despite a few splendid fights, is a biohistorical muddle that never finds its center. Maybe that's because — big mistake! — it never gets to Bruce Lee.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Walter Addiego

    The film is beautiful but troubled, achieving in stretches the director's signature dreamy mood but dragged down by narrative confusions.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Randy Cordova

    The movie ultimately winds up falling between two stools, failing as both a biography and an action film. Martial arts fans will naturally be drawn to the story, but the film does nothing to open up the world to outsiders.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    The end result feels like only half a movie. That half -- the technical half, with Wong's stylistic flourishes and the film's lush technical elements -- is a heck of a film. The rest of The Grandmaster, however -- the storytelling -- is anything but grand.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • David Denby

    A superb martial discipline has ended in a commercial movie genre--not the worst fate in the world, but the comic irony of it is of little interest to a director bent on glorification. [9 Sept. 2013, p.90]

    The New Yorker Full Review
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