HOME PAGE
Movie Videos
Films by Year
Films by Director
Films by Actor
Films by Actress
Films by Alphabet
Film Characters
Film Franchises

2013 MOVIES
2013 Action
2013 Adventure
2013 Animation
2013 Biography
2013 Comedy
2013 Comic Book
2013 Crime
2013 Drama
2013 Family
2013 Fantasy
2013 History
2013 Horror
2013 Musical
2013 Mystery
2013 Romance
2013 Sci-Fi
2013 Sports
2013 Thriller
2013 War
2013 Western

Writing Deadlines
Script Services
Screenplay Contest
TV Script Contest
1st Scene Contest
Short Story Contest
Essay Contest
Play Contest
Book Contest
Poetry Contest
Horror Contest
Fantasy Contest
Comic Book Contest
Classic TV Contest

Movie SCENES
Movie ACTORS
Movie ACTRESSES
Movie DIRECTORS
PICTURES
Movies GENRES
Movie TRAILERS

FREE MOVIES
Horror MOVIES
WATCH MOVIES
WATCH TV

MOVIES best of
TV best of
SEX best of
SPORTS best of
TODAY'S VIDEOS

SEX PHOTOS
ACTOR PHOTOS
ACTRESS PHOTOS
CELEBRITY PHOTOS
DIRECTOR PHOTOS
JESUS PHOTOS
MAGAZINE PHOTOS
MOVIE PHOTOS
MUSICIAN PHOTOS
POLITICIAN PHOTOS
SEXY SYMBOLS
SPORTS PHOTOS

YouTube Reviews
TV YouTube
Movie YouTube
Walking Dead
Breaking Bad
Girls
Homeland
The West Wing
Boardwalk Empire
Subscribe To This Site
XML RSS
Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines
 

THE GRANDMASTER, 2013
Movie Reviews!

Search 1,000 of MOVIES
CLICK and WATCH MOVIES ONLINE!
WATCH VIDEO MOVIE REVIEW:

  MOVIE POSTERTHE GRANDMASTER, 2013
Movie Reviews

Director: Kar Wai Wong

Stars: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Ziyi Zhang, Jin Zhang

Review by Joshua Starnes

SYNOPSIS:

The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.

REVIEW:

Over the half-century since the rise of his most famous pupil, legendary kung-fu master Ip Man (Tony Leung) has grown into something of a folk hero in China and it's easy to see why. Living through two World Wars and the creation of Communist China, and more importantly - depending on your point of view - popularizing Wing Chun style kung-fu in China and eventually the rest of the world, Ip Man's life is filled with potential for compelling action and drama. Plenty of people have figured this out already (Donnie Yen has practically made a career out of the man); the sky should be the limit for skilled artists and craftsmen.

Instead "The Grandmaster" lacks focus or drive as co-writer and director Wong Kar-wai flails among the elements of Ip Man's life for something to hold onto and coming up with little except that late in life he taught Bruce Lee.

This is too bad considering all he lived through. Growing up the son of a wealthy civil servant during the troubled 'opening of China' he watches the life he'd known disappear in the fires of World War II and the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, and the resultant rise of the Mao Tse Tung. In between, and occasionally for an actual discernible reason, people wail on each other stylishly.

Neither action film nor traditional drama, "Grandmaster" is Kar-wai's attempt to encompass not so much the events of Ip Man's life as the feeling of having actually carried them out. It's an interesting conceit and one which seems particularly suited to Kar-wai's talents as a director, especially in the film's ethereal action sequences. On the surface they seem like classic bits of Hong Kong wire-fu from master choreographer Yuen Woo Ping, but Kar-wai seems only tangentially interested in the blows and blocks. Instead he treats the set pieces more like the poetry they're often described as, masterfully edited by long-time collaborator William Chang, who has given up fast-paced jump cutting for a slower, more cerebral pace. Almost every aspect of Ip Man's life is treated this way, from his stoic observations of the China's transformation to the handful of genuine relationships "The Grandmaster" bothers to engage in.

The problem is that Ip Man, by his own admission, wants nothing more than to practice kung-fu, which presents us with a film that wants nothing, either. He's presented as a man of great wisdom and learning - a requirement for his kung-fu mastery which requires skill in philosophy as much as in punching - which means he tends to stand around and talk obliquely (when he talks at all). That's a not a lot to hang your hat onto and even actor as talented as Tony Leung can't create in a vacuum, though he gives it his all. Kar-wai, and co-writers Zou Jingzhi and Xu Haofeng, approach Ip Man with such distance it's impossible to empathize with him.

The filmmakers attempt to get around that by branching out to the struggle for who will control the legacy of kung fu; a struggle so central (in Kar-wai's telling) to China's national identity, and which Ip Man himself seems intended to represent, that he can't be bothered to partake in most of it. Though the retirement of kung-fu's great master Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang) creates a split in Northern kung-fu, a split Ip Man is chosen to heal; it is Yutian's daughter Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi) who both takes up the fight ad engages Ip Man's heart. It is in "The Grandmaster's" occasional asides to see how her life is developing that film becomes genuinely engaging. This wouldn't be a problem if it was called "Gong Er."

The lack of narrative drive from Ip Man's own life forces Kar-wai to leave his hero behind to focus on the people actually fighting the good fight, but without bothering to define or in any way make us care for them slowly drains the life out of "The Grandmaster." In and of themselves the excursions to the frozen North are captivating. Ziyi's confrontation with her father's arrogant successor (Zhang Jin) on a train platform hints at the film "The Grandmaster" could have been but isn't - beautiful, ineffable, mournful. Try as he might, Kar-wai can't or won't bring the same kind of life to Ip Man himself, even when hinting at the unrequited love between Gong Er and the married Ip Man. Instead, he must remain unchanged and unchanging, a living symbol for the China that disappeared with the war.

That might not be entirely Kar-wai's fault as the US cut of "The Grandmaster" has had 22 minutes removed from it, leaving fight scenes intact for the action aficionados but without the connective tissue for the story that would make them matter. Instead we must satisfy ourselves with Ip Man observing the transformation of China through the 20th Century as he is forced by time and tide to take up teaching kung-fu for a living, in the process accomplishing the one thing that has kept him in our memory introducing Bruce Lee to kung-fu. As denouement's go it's not much of one, though perhaps strangely fitting for this film of Ip Man's life which from the start seems more interested in the people around the man than the man himself.

A rare miss from a master filmmaker, "The Grandmaster" leaves audiences with the same regret which surrounds and dims Ip Man for so many of his years; the tantalizing sadness of 'what might have been.'

ACTORKar Wai Wong
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORZiyi Zhang
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORTony Leung Chiu Wai
Best of the ARTIST

ACTORHye-kyo Song
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORCung Le
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORChen Chang
Best of the ARTIST

CLICK and WATCH MOVIES ONLINE!




2013