Flash Movie Review: The Grandmaster
I had no idea when I entered the intensive teacher training program, I would be part of the last class that would be taught by a yoga master. On the first day of class we were introduced to two yoga teachers and their assistants. They would be with us through the entire program, adjusting us into positions we did not realize we were capable of doing. As all of us blended into one cohesive body of students, I began to notice one of the instructors was the “go to” person to demonstrate the poses. He was amazing to watch as his body would willingly move into positions that looked to me like they would break him in two. I had a new appreciation for the strength of the human body because of him. When he told the class we were going to be his final graduating class I could see the sadness in the assistants, besides all the students. I will never forget his words to us about our future with yoga: Let your body remain in a fluid state, only displaying a muscle when it is needed for a pose. His genius with yoga was only matched by the artistry of the martial art skills of Ip Man, played by Tony Leung (Internal Affairs, Hero), in this dramatic biography. Inspired by a true story, the movie was about the life of Ip Man; the man who trained Bruce Lee. From writer and director Kar Wai Wong (2046, In the Mood for Love), this was one of the most exquisite martial art films I have ever seen. Ten years in the making, the editing and fight scenes in this movie were immaculate. Playing the daughter of a martial art master, Ziyi Zhang (Hero; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) was nothing short of breathtaking as Gong Er; I could not take my eyes off of her. She had such a screen presence, with believable martial art skills; I loved the character she played. Tony was an interesting choice to play the famous master; he had a quiet calmness that demanded respect. There was so much detail given to every visual aspect in this action film that I only wished the convoluted story would have been clearer. The movie went from Ip Man’s story to the Japanese occupation of China to Gong Er’s revenge to the division between the southern and northern martial art families; I found it bogged down the picture. If this beautiful movie had a stronger script it would have truly been a wonderful tribute to a gifted master; instead, I do not feel it did justice to Bruce Lee’s master teacher. Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese with English subtitles.
2 1/2 stars