The Grandmaster - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Grandmaster Reviews

January 3, 2014
The movie's problems are, in part, those of a great artist trying something new. It's a fine mess.
August 31, 2013
The Grandmaster blends right in with Wong's body of work, a gorgeous meditation on the importance of sorrow and lament. This one just happens to have kung fu, too.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
August 30, 2013
It ranks with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and House of Flying Daggers as one of the most elegant and beautiful martial-arts films to play American screens.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
August 30, 2013
You leave this deeply flawed, deeply beautiful film with no doubt that you've seen an indisputable cinematic grandmaster in action.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
August 30, 2013
Wong Kar Wai is an expressionist master. A master of character - deep, rich, truthful character - especially in The Grandmaster, he is not.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
August 30, 2013
"The Grandmaster" can feel stiff at times, and something is doubtlessly lost in translation. But the precision and magic of Wong Kar Wai's camera is so captivating it doesn't matter.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
August 29, 2013
Beautiful but troubled, achieving in stretches the director's signature dreamy mood but dragged down by narrative confusions.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
August 29, 2013
Granted, "The Grandmaster" is not a primer on Chinese philosophy. Yet it may score as crossover cinema for Wong fans and Lee fans.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
August 29, 2013
As a kung fu film, "The Grandmaster," with its exhilarating fighting sequences, won't disappoint. As a Wong Kar-wai film, it rates high.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
August 29, 2013
Writer-director Wong Kar-wai has made a martial-arts movie that is truly a work of art. His "The Grandmaster" is a picture of staggering beauty.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
August 29, 2013
The director took great efforts to be true to Chinese martial arts, but he did so without sacrificing his own distinctive vision.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
August 29, 2013
The fights that dot this erratically told story of kung fu grandmaster Ip Man can leave you giddy with excitement.
Full Review | Original Score: B
August 29, 2013
"The Grandmaster" is the work of a director whose work throughout his career has been visually exhilarating, sensuous, even sublime. To that end, "The Grandmaster" doesn't disappoint.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
August 29, 2013
The movie ultimately winds up falling between two stools, failing as both a biography and an action film.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
August 29, 2013
A deliriously beautiful martial-arts saga, a mix of exuberant violence and restrained eroticism.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
August 29, 2013
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
August 29, 2013
The action choreography (by the great Yuen Woo-ping) feels oddly rhythmless; likewise, Wong's depictions of the larger-than-life characters achieve little emotional resonance.
August 23, 2013
Still, a butchered Wong Kar-Wai movie is better than most filmmakers' purest work, so even if the plot occasionally zips by at too quick a clip, The Grandmaster is a lush, albeit rushed, meal that's worth consuming on the big screen.
August 23, 2013
I've never been a big fan of Wong's phantasmagoric prettiness, but at least here it provides a welcome corrective to the usual martial-arts mayhem.
Full Review | Original Score: B
August 23, 2013
A glorified trailer by Wong Kar Wai is still something to see.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
August 23, 2013
Ip Man's story has been told many times before by other filmmakers. Wong builds upon it, establishing the noble fighter as a reflective but still ferocious grandmaster in 1936 in Foshan, Ip Man's home city in southern China.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
August 23, 2013
It's hard not to feel that with this, Wong's first feature since 2007's misbegotten My Blueberry Nights, a dear old friend is finally back in the room.
August 23, 2013
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
August 23, 2013
Wong extracts magnetic performances from his two stars, and Philippe Le Sourd delivers gorgeous cinematography.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
August 22, 2013
For those who aren't ardent students of kung fu's schools and styles, however, the movie is, for most of its length, a lifeless snore.
August 22, 2013
You'll feel decadent enjoying it, but everything is so tasty, it would be foolish to object.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
August 22, 2013
An historical opus that is equal parts ballet and biography, though the second component pales in comparison with the first.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
August 22, 2013
However much history informs this movie, "The Grandmaster" is, at its most persuasive, about the triumph of style.
Read More | Original Score: 4/5
August 22, 2013
"Don't worry about your style," Ip Man says, a statement that applies to Wong as well. Even with this shift of content, the form remains a visual marvel.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
August 22, 2013
An exquisite-looking, fitfully moving drama from the director of "In the Mood for Love."
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
August 22, 2013
More than anything Wong has ever made, the movie chokes on exposition, its more poetic concerns stifled by its surfeit of plot.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
August 21, 2013
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.
August 21, 2013
The film, despite a few splendid fights, is a biohistorical muddle that never finds its center.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
August 21, 2013
Wong has done this dynamic better in virtually all of his past work; there's a pretty dullness here that shouldn't be confused for mastery.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
August 21, 2013
It's a little like getting Jim Jarmusch to direct a film about Spider-Man.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
August 20, 2013
The 108-minute Grandmaster may not be the shimmering golden epic he originally intended, but it's fleet and silvery in its own right.
August 19, 2013
Venturing into fresh creative terrain without relinquishing his familiar themes and stylistic flourishes, Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai exceeds expectations with The Grandmaster.
August 19, 2013
A scintillating mix of explosive action choreography and suppressed emotions, but it could have used more work on consistency in tone and character development.