The Grandmaster

At the Movies Blog
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grandmasterThe story with this movie is that the Weinstein Company got it and made some cuts, and changed the picture in the process. I looked it up and it seems only 15 minutes was chopped out. It should’ve been an hour lopped off.

Acclaimed director Wong Kar Wai (Happy Together, My Blueberry Nights, In the Mood for Love, Fallen Angels) has filmed a movie that can be operatic at times, yet it’s not good as an action picture; and it can hardly be called a biopic.

It’s the story of Ip Man – a grandmaster that would eventually count Bruce Lee as one of his disciples.

In the 1930s, Japan was invaded by China. Different styles of kung fu started cropping up based on geography. Ip Man blended a few of the styles, helping better defend his country.

I grew tired of kung fu movies as a kid and as an adult, I like them even less. They’re often shot so beautifully, though.

The fights in this weren’t choreographed particularly well. And for every well-shot scene (the first fight in the rain), we end up seeing a similar fight later in the movie.

They also lose a bit of excitement when we sort of know the outcome and realize nobody is going to be hurt really bad.

You get a fight scene, followed by long boring moments and more characters brought into the story. They’re never fully developed either. It was hard to care about any of them.

There comes a point where you just have to sit back and appreciate the scenery. It’s certainly entrancing, but because the tone of this is all over the map, you’ll end up just scratching your head.

I need to find out from one of my karate friends why in fight scenes, they always have a group attack a single person one at a time. I remember wondering that while watching Bruce Lee movies as a kid. Surely a master at martial arts could dispense lesser talents one at a time. Just as if a group of 25 people attacked Mike Tyson one at a time, he’d easily be able to drop them. Yet you get five guys to jump on him, a few get black eyes, but he’ll eventually lose the fight.

It would’ve been nice to have some humor to create a bit of levity, but really – the movie had a number of problems. Unless you’re a hardcore martial arts fan or lover of the legendary Wong Kar Wai – this is a movie you should skip. If you insist on seeing it, keep in mind it’s two hours and 10 minutes long. Bring a pillow.

It gets 1 ½ stars out of 5.







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