The Grandmaster - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Grandmaster Reviews

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½ July 22, 2016
If I didn't know chinese, I would be missing out so much. Half the subtitles were wrong, and it seemed liked a lot of characters floated in and left without much resolution. The American cut isn't as good as I thought it'd be.
½ June 27, 2016
I prefer the Ip Man movies with Donnie Yen. I found myself confused about 2/3 into it. Lame! No Donnie! No Likie!
April 24, 2016
a good story of the up and coming master that trained bruce lee and moved martial arts in to the world. great action and a cast of actors that makes the movie great history ride of a legend.
April 8, 2016
It's been awhile since I've seen this movie, but I remember being disappointed. A couple of Wong Kar Wai's dramatic films are some of favorite movies ever, and I love martial arts films, but combining the 2 styles turned out to be a letdown. In typical WKW fashion, the cinematography is amazing, which lent well to highlighting the choreography of the fight scenes. However, the story did not feel as developed, and as a result, I wasn't as invested.
January 9, 2016
A bit of a drag but some interesting cinematography
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2015
Wong Kar-Wai seems only concerned about his irritating aesthetics in this hugely unfocused mess that even includes a useless narration and inexplicably irrelevant characters like The Razor - not to mention the use of a theme from Once Upon a Time in America for no clear reason.
October 15, 2015
So compelling and elegant in some aspects, as messy and fragmented in others. A missed chance to make something great.
September 23, 2015
The Grandmaster tells the tale of wing chun legend Ip Man, played by Tony Leung. In true Wong Kar Wai fashion, the film circles around the events of the protagonist's life in sophisticated and stylish shots and rich cinematography. Each still is framed with great care and craftsmanship, and the great attention provided to color, costume and composition detail makes for an incredible picturesque visual experience. The combat choreography is meticulously done, and with the use of exceptional camera-work and tasteful slow-motion pays homage to martial arts classics while being equally innovative.

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.
September 16, 2015
Sorry, but in the setting/context of the Japanese invasion/occupation of China, martial arts, even (or especially) supernatural martial arts, seem really dumb. It's a decadent bourgeois fantasy of the decadent aristocracy. (The momentous period from Japanese invasion in 1938 to communist victory--unmentioned here--in 1949 takes up less than four minutes of the movie.) I mean, Ip Man, the hero, literally wears a (distinctive) fedora.
September 13, 2015
Yet another picture based on the life of Ip Man. This version overstretches, covering too many aspects of the martial artist's life and so is quite mixed in terms of tone. Most of the fight sequences are well choreographed though.
September 4, 2015
Sometimes, you unconsciously decide to throw away nearly two hours of your life. Never forget, foreign movies nearly always suck...
August 27, 2015
Really tedious, and not involving at all.
½ August 9, 2015
A more dramatic approach on Ip Man's biopic...
July 11, 2015
150711: This film is history and philosophy fused with art. Wonderfully entertaining.
½ July 4, 2015
Inspiered by the life of Bruce Lee's master Ip Man, Womg Kar Wai takes us on a spellbinding tale of Ip Man's rise to greatness through tumults with the families controlling various regions of China.
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.
June 21, 2015
This movie captured me. I am no martial arts movie fan but I was mesmerised. Poetic, artistic, emotional and dark.
June 17, 2015
Stupendous coreographies in the biopic of a martial arts leyend.Good choice of a sunday evening
June 15, 2015
Hard to follow and a slow pace but visually amazing in a noir style and incredible choreography. Definitely a must see.
½ June 12, 2015
This is less a biopic than an impressionistic painting inspired by the life of Ip Man, in the medium of wuxia film. Beautifully shot.
June 7, 2015
This is a beautiful looking film with some spectacular fight scenes that covers an interesting period in China's history. It's the 3rd biographical film I've seen about IP Man, probably the best out of the 3 but the thing it's lacking is dramatic punch like the other 2. This has the edge over the other 2 due to style and superb choreography but it's still lacking something which means it's difficult ti care about the characters. Plus it would be nice if one of these IP Man movies covered the period later in his life when he trained his most famous student; Bruce Lee.
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