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21 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where martial arts meets historical drama
If possible, I'd recommend watching the current (2015) release on Blu-ray, for a better edit and presentation.
This isn't your typical martial arts movie. Nor is it an outright historical drama or a bio-pic or a philosophical debate or a political thriller or a lovelorn romance. The Grandmaster brilliantly blurs the boundaries between these genres so it's all of the...
Published 2 months ago by Rowena Hoseason

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars I therefore found it rather tedious waiting for the action scenes which were short lived
I found that there was a lot of dialogue which I was unable to follow (it is in French with no subtitles). I therefore found it rather tedious waiting for the action scenes which were short lived. Also a lot of the dialogue scenes are in semi darkened rooms and so there is not much scenery to admire either. I'm sure if you are fluent in French and are an "art...
Published 2 months ago by A. J. Montgomery


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where martial arts meets historical drama, 31 Jan. 2015
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Grandmaster (DVD)
If possible, I'd recommend watching the current (2015) release on Blu-ray, for a better edit and presentation.
This isn't your typical martial arts movie. Nor is it an outright historical drama or a bio-pic or a philosophical debate or a political thriller or a lovelorn romance. The Grandmaster brilliantly blurs the boundaries between these genres so it's all of the above. And it contains some stunningly shot fight sequences which are both brutal and beautiful in the extreme.

The story is set in China and it starts in the 1930s when the country is invaded by the Japanese. Prior to that, an elder statesman of the martial arts has passed the baton to a younger generation, and in doing so attempts to draw the north and south of his country closer together. War disrupts his noble aim; his family legacy of a unique fighting style is threatened, and the inheritor of his title suffers personal loss, eventually fleeing to Hong Kong. After many years he establishes a martial arts school and a new form of fighting. And makes history.
That bare bones summary doesn't do any justice to the sweeping ambition and subtle beauty of this film. The fight sequences vary in length and intensity. Several of them - the rain sequence, the snow fight, the razor fight, the battle of the bread - offer astonishingly levels of choreography, skill and multi-layered meaning. The personal stories of the protagonists wrap several storylines into the greater plot, highlighting family honour, personal dedication and bitter loss against a backdrop of social and political turmoil.

The result is an intensely satisfying film, one which is far more arthouse than action-adventure. The timeline jumps around to cram in the passage of the years, and I got the impression that the English subtitles were skimping somewhat on the full depth of the dialogue. But overall this is a life story well worth watching.
9/10
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars in the name of love..., 10 Aug. 2013
By 
bohobozo - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: THE GRANDMASTER(Blu-ray Region All) (Blu-ray)
What are you looking for here?
An all action martial arts movie, or something more?
I hope you'll find this film is more than traditional fare, because it's a very different take...extraordinary - unique.

An episode in [and profile of] the life and times of Ip Man, the real and legendary grandmaster of Wing Chun around the middle of the last century, his trials and tribulations.
It is about love and the devotion to martial arts , it's not a martial arts action movie.
The lasting impression is one of the dedication, determination and denial that the students practice for their art.
A life of discipline - and perhaps, in this case, sacrifice.

In the leading roles, Tony Leung is at his best, Ziyi Zhang is outstanding and both are totally convincing as disciples and skilled practitioners.
But this is a Wong Far Wai movie - visually stunning and thoughtful.

Wong Kar Wai is a perfectionist, exacting director, determined to get what he wants out of every frame.
Time is nothing to him, the result is all.
And as a result this film is one of the most poetic movies I have ever seen.

So take a look with an open mind, to see it for what it is and not for what you think it might be, for this is the work of one of contemporary cinema's grandmasters.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martial arts meets historical drama, 31 Jan. 2015
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This isn't your typical martial arts movie. Nor is it an outright historical drama or a bio-pic or a philosophical debate or a political thriller or a lovelorn romance. The Grandmaster brilliantly blurs the boundaries between these genres so it's all of the above. And it contains some stunningly shot fight sequences which are both brutal and beautiful in the extreme.

The story is set in China and it starts in the 1930s when the country is invaded by the Japanese. Prior to that, an elder statesman of the martial arts has passed the baton to a younger generation, and in doing so attempts to draw the north and south of his country closer together. War disrupts his noble aim; his family legacy of a unique fighting style is threatened, and the inheritor of his title suffers personal loss, eventually fleeing to Hong Kong. After many years he establishes a martial arts school and a new form of fighting. And makes history.
That bare bones summary doesn't do any justice to the sweeping ambition and subtle beauty of this film. The fight sequences vary in length and intensity. Several of them - the rain sequence, the snow fight, the razor fight, the battle of the bread - offer astonishingly levels of choreography, skill and multi-layered meaning. The personal stories of the protagonists wrap several storylines into the greater plot, highlighting family honour, personal dedication and bitter loss against a backdrop of social and political turmoil.

The result is an intensely satisfying film, one which is far more arthouse than action-adventure. The timeline jumps around to cram in the passage of the years, and I got the impression that the English subtitles were skimping somewhat on the full depth of the dialogue. But overall this is a life story well worth watching.
9/10
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece by the great Wong Kar-Wai, 27 Jun. 2014
By 
Robert Blenheim (Daytona Beach, Florida) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: THE GRANDMASTER(Blu-ray Region All) (Blu-ray)
THIS IS A REVIEW ON THE ORIGINAL CHINESE UNCUT (130 min.) VERSION!

It was finally time for the great iconoclastic Hong Kong director to turn to martial arts action in his intense and atmospheric telling of the great grandmaster teacher, Ip man, and he doesn't disappoint.

Wong Kar-wai brings the poetic beauty of his cinematic genius displayed in such works as "In the Mood for Love" to martial arts action executed with a precise rhythmic heightening reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah at his best, bringing out the sensations of living through the Japanese invasion of China during WWII. The cast is magnificent, especially Tony Leung as the Ip man, and Ziyi Zhang as Gong Er perfectly embodies a kungfu mistress trying to avenge her father. A masterpiece by Wong to put on a level with his finest work.

My only gripe about this Blu-ray release (which looks stunning in its clarity of picture and color, highlighting Wong's penchant for rain and darkness) is that the special features (unlike the feature itself) do not have any English subtitling -- so unless you read Chinese you won't be able to know what Wong or his crew and cast are talking about. The feature does, however, have full subtitling.

A worthy addition to your Blu-ray library.

PS: One other reviewer criticized the editing of this film which, to me, smacks of putting down the film for not being more conventional. Sometimes it is difficult to put aside expectations of what one wants a film to be in favor of what the actual film on the screen is. "The Grandmaster" is, in fact, brilliantly edited. Wong is, if nothing else, a perfectionist in taking years to mold his assembled footage into his own personal rhythmic poem, idiosyncratically emphasizing downbeats and rests as precise as a great composer. What you see here is Wong Kar-wai's personal vision, take it or leave it. But let's not denigrate it for not being a conventional action picture or someone else's Ip man film. I wouldn't change a frame, or a single edit. It strikes me as a perfect diamond for this exceptional, if eccentric, cinema artist.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I therefore found it rather tedious waiting for the action scenes which were short lived, 29 Jan. 2015
By 
A. J. Montgomery (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Grandmaster (DVD)
I found that there was a lot of dialogue which I was unable to follow (it is in French with no subtitles). I therefore found it rather tedious waiting for the action scenes which were short lived. Also a lot of the dialogue scenes are in semi darkened rooms and so there is not much scenery to admire either. I'm sure if you are fluent in French and are an "art film" aficionado that you might appreciate the film more than I did.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Whatever electricity existed in Ip Man, it stayed within him., 11 April 2014
This review is from: The Grandmaster (DVD)
‘The Grandmaster’ is Wong Kar-Wai’s lavish new film, chronicling the legendary Ip Man (Tony Leung), a Wing Chung martial-arts master who famously taught Bruce Lee.

Kar-Wai traces Ip Man’s journey right back from when he had to prove himself as a martial artist in 1930′s Foshan, China. Ip Man’s peaceful existence is threatened by the arrival of Gong Yutian, a Grandmaster from northern China who announced his retirement. Famed for the 64 Hands technique, he appoints Ma San (Zhang Jin) as his heir in the North, and feels the South should have an heir too. Discussions lead to fights from various masters attempting to challenge Gong, but Ma San dismisses everyone. Gong Yutian’s daughter Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi) tries to convince her father not to continue the fight, as she feels nobody is worthy, including Ip Man. Unhappy with his masters position, Ma San kills Gong Yutian. Gong Er seeks retribution, beginning a three-way tussle between herself, Ma San and Ip Man.

‘The Grandmaster’ places great emphasis on the philosophies of kung fu, specifically the stripped-down style of Wing Chun. Ip Man is its greatest exponent, and Kar-Wai unveils the isolation and loneliness in this dedicated hero. Time jumps forwards, back and forwards again to examine his unconsummated relationship with Gong Er. Leung and Ziyi play their parts well, but something is amiss in their great lost love. The fight scenes are exquisitely framed, but these too feel contrived and lack any imagination. The opening fight scene where Ip Man floors dozens of men in the rain at night is heavy on the close-up slo-mo action. I’ve never been too impressed with films which obscure the real beauty of fight movements. Parts of the story were incoherent, destroying any mystery the film had accumulated. And what happened to his wife and children? Too many characters were either underused or overdone.

As with most big budget Chinese films, ‘The Grandmaster’ looks phenomenal. Even with some cod kung fu philosophising (“In life, as in chess, when a move is played it stays on the board”) and poetic observations, ‘The Grandmaster’ falls flat as a character study of a legendary martial artist and teacher. Inexplicably, by the end of the film its Gong Er who seems to be the Grandmaster. Whatever electricity existed in Ip Man, it stayed within him. Perhaps thats what Kar-Wai intended? I doubt it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good film with excellent cinematography, 12 Mar. 2014
By 
E. Junoy (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Grandmaster (DVD)
I would have preferred to have watched this with english subtitles, unfortunately amazon uk is not selling this yet, otherwise a good historical period drama film with excellent photography and costume design.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece!, 5 April 2015
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This review is from: The Grandmaster [DVD] (DVD)
I'll keep this short and sweet. Filmed beautifully, acting spot on! Fight scenes are some of the best I've ever seen. If you like martial arts movies then check this out. It will blow you away! Up there with the best ever!👊👊👊
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NO ROAD HOME, 6 Dec. 2013
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
The film was a bit confusing with a lot of north vs. south kung fu fighting while the Japanese had invaded the land. The story centers on IP man and Zhang Yongcheng, their relationship, fighting known as the 64 hands, gaining the Gong family legacy, and a button. Not being overly familiar with the story of IP man, I found myself scratching my head as the tale seems to assume you know it as well as knowing Chinese culture. I do not and for that reason, I didn't get much from the film which was lengthy and at times a docu-drama. If people weren't fighting, they were talking. It appeared as if China took old newsreels, colorized them and stuck them into this production. The film also includes some ridiculous anti-gravity fighting.

If you are not into kung fu or know the history of Ip man, this is not your film.

Parental Guide: 2 written f-bombs. No sex or nudity.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What's that all about?!?!!!, 13 Feb. 2014
By 
A. Lowe (UK) - See all my reviews
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I was enjoying the film then it ends "suddently". Well, that certainly the impression gave my wife and myself. Quality is good. Packaging is good. But the story, was going well, then it was as if the script writer was got rid of and someone else finished it.
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