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THE GRANDMASTER

 
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At Theaters: 8/23/2013 On Video: 11/26/2013
Rated: PG-13 Length: 1 hr. 48 min.
Internet: Web Site Movie ID: 600168
Studio: Weinstein Co.
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Storyline Heading
Six years in the planning and three years in the making, THE GRANDMASTER is an epic action feature inspired by the life and times of the legendary kung fu master, Ip Man. The story spans the tumultuous Republican era that followed the fall of China's last dynasty, a time of chaos, division and war that was also the golden age of Chinese martial arts, filmed in a range of stunning locations that include the snow-swept landscapes of Northeast China and the subtropical South.
DETAILED STORYLINE
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Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Action Drama - While this Hong Kong-produced, Cantonese- and Mandarin-language historical action drama does feature a number of martial arts fights, the tone of this film is not so much of a typical kung fu action film but a more somber and austere drama. The arty style of director Wong Kar-Wai gives the film older appeal beyond the usual martial arts target audience. Fans of stars Tony Leung and especially Zhang Ziyi will enjoy though the former, despite the premise of the film, has what feels like a more secondary role. Brutal fighting may make the film of cautionary note to parents.
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Cast and Crew Heading
Tony Leung HERO, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
Zhang Ziyi MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON
Chang Chen CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON, 2046
Dir/Prod/Wri: Wong Kar-Wai MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS, 2046
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Production Notes Heading
Characters
Historical Timeline
Wong Kar-Wai's Journey to THE GRANDMASTER
The Making of THE GRANDMASTER
An Interview with Tony Leung
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Content Heading
PROFANITY: 1 F-word; 1 other.
SEX/NUDITY: None.
VIOLENCE: Many martial arts fights with no blood; shootings.
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Alcohol and tobacco.
ACTION: Numerous martial arts fights.
COMEDY: Some comic lines and situations.
DETAILED CONTENT
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Critic's Review Heading

Roger Ebert Full Review
Good The fight scenes, devised by Wong and grandmaster choreographer Yuen Wo Ping are majestic dances and, at times, philosophical conversations.

USA Today Full Review
Good With some of the best martial arts fighting in years, "Grandmaster" connects as a biography of Bruce Lee's trainer, Ip Man.

Note: The rating above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.

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Opinion Heading

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D ETAILED S TORYLINE
It begins as the story of Ip Man (Tony Leung), the legendary teacher of Bruce Lee and a master of the Wing Chun school of kung fu. It becomes the portrait of a bygone era and a lost world.

Ip Man was born in Foshan, in the south of China, to a wealthy family. His wife Zhang Yongcheng (Song Hye Kyo) is the descendant of Manchu nobility. Pursuing a single-minded passion for Wing Chun, Ip Man is often seen at the Gold Pavilion, an elegant brothel that serves as a meeting place for Foshan's kung fu masters and whose women possess a few martial arts secrets of their own.

In 1936, China is experiencing political turbulence and the threat of division. The Japanese have invaded the northeastern provinces collectively known as Manchuria. Grandmaster Gong Baosen (Wang Qingxiang), whose home is in Japanese-occupied Manchura, and who is the leader of the martial arts world of Northern China, arrives in Foshan. He had been to Foshan previously to initiate exchanges between the martial artists of the North and those of the South but this time he has come at the invitation of the Southern masters to hold a ceremony at the Gold Pavilion to celebrate his impending retirement.

An integral part of the ceremony involves a challenge and display of martial arts skills with a younger man. During a similar ceremony held at home in the Northeast, Gong's disciple and successor Ma San (Zhang Jin), a Xingyi master, performed this role. Master Gong's daughter Gong Er (Ziyi Zhang), who is the sole inheritor of her father's lethal Bagua-style '64 Hands' technique, also arrives in Foshan to witness her father step down. It is here where she encounters Ip Man. Who is qualified to take up the Old Master's challenge? Challenge leads to challenge, and masters contest masters.

Meanwhile, the ongoing Japanese occupation of the Northeast sets the stage for a betrayal that will shake Master Gong's world. It will also cause Gong Er to make a decision that will change the course of her life.

Gong Er and Ip Man meet again in Hong Kong in the 1950s; a new world populated by old alliances, lasting grievances, and fragments of past lives and desires. Ip Man, despite having lived through difficult and terrible times after the Japanese invaded Foshan, will not be defeated by hardship. He opens a school for Wing Chun in Hong Kong and soon acquires devoted disciples (including, in reality, Bruce Lee) and popularizes this form of kung fu: it has spread throughout the world and remains popular to this day, taught in countless schools all over the world.

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