Subscribers! Add a note to this movie and/or put it into one of your private movie lists.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.