I must admit that this is the very first time I have been disappointed with a movie directed by one of my favourite directors Wong Kar-wai. Since falling in love with the man unique style in 2004 with 2046 and watching nearly his entire repertoire feature films since including Fallen Angels (1995), As Tears Go By (1988) and Chungking Express (1994), even his first English language film My Blueberry Night’s (2007) was very good. Here comes ‘the but’. His latest movie, for which he also wrote the story, The Grandmaster (2013) is a martial arts drama based on the life story of Ip Man a Chinese martial artist who specialised in Wing Chun ‘a form of self defence utilising both striking and grappling while specialising in close range combat’ or so I'm told. Ip Man was also credited with training global martial arts star Bruce Lee.
I think if was aware of these facts before I watched the movie then it may have been more enjoyable, as it was it had a very jumbled narrative which at times made it difficult to understand what was going on. The most enjoyable scene in the film is at the end where we witness a verbal love scene between Ip Man and Gong Er that is reminiscent of Wong Kar-wai’s previous work.
|A very inviting brothel.|
The film stars one of my favourite Chinese actresses Zhang Ziyi as Gong Er whose previous movies have included The Road Home (1999), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Hero (2002), Purple Butterfly (2003), 2046 (2004) and the Academy Award winning Memoirs of a Geisha (2005). Tony Leung who has worked with the director on six other occasions and also appeared in Infernal Affairs (2002) and the erotic thriller directed by Ang Lee Lust, Caution (2007) that won him two Best Actor Awards portrayed Ip Man.
|Zhang Ziyi at the films premier.|