The Grandmaster Reviews
While The Grandmaster can certainly be praised for its aesthetic valor, it isn't without its faults, and most of the drawbacks lie in the storyline and underdeveloped characters, many of whom seem to play a large part in Ip Man's story but are reduced to appearing in wordless sequences or as silent onlookers, namely Ip Man's wife and "The Razor". Because they recur during the film alongside the main characters but contribute so little, it leaves the impression that some scenes are missing, as their roles are never really solidified. This can be partly understood as the result of the famously long production time and the rumored 4+ hours of film that had to be cut down, but it still detracts from the experience and raises questions.
The Grandmaster is worthy of all of the awards and praise it received for its use of artistic cinematography, but the storyline and characters somehow lack the assurance that the visuals have. It's a poetic pictorial tale that arthouse fans and Wong Kar Wai enthusiasts will enjoy, but others may find unconvincing.
In a nutshell, 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.
This is Wong Kar wei. It's fucking gorgeous to look at. You could hang any frame in your home as a piece of art. The vengeful storyline is engagingly operatic at times, but does drag out some. All is forgiven though as the fight scenes are par excellence. The wie-fu is evident as a must, but it does not over ride. This film kicks off with one of the best acton sequences of the decade.
Aside fron the action though, the drama is handled well as gender politics move in. Zhang Ziyi is a great player here. Formidable in battle, yet bloomin gorgeous.
It is a long winded affair and not for everyone. I lobed it though.