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Tony Leung takes on the role of Ip Man in The Grandmaster

The Grandmaster


Over the last few years there have been a surge of films focusing on legendary kung fu master Ip Man. The latest to take on this iconic character is The Grandmaster starring Tony Leung in the titular role. Could this latest adaptation of Ip Man have something new to offer that will rival the previous films or will it be down for the count?

Official Image
Anchor Bay

The Grandmaster follows 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. This time around they have taken a slightly different approach to the character while still keeping the legend intact. This version not only focuses on the varying challenges within the martial arts community but Ip Man’s relationship and interaction with Gong Er played by the always great Ziyi Zhang. This is a beautiful film, but instead of strictly the large period pieces it has a lot more visual style to enhance the overall effect of the film. The performances were great across the board. Tony Leung may not possess the martial arts prowess of Donnie Yen, but he handles himself great and brings more wisdom and intellect to the role giving it a new level not seen before. There is plenty of action that alone is great, but the visual buffet they have created is amazing. There are two fight sequences in particular shot in the rain and snow that adds a beautiful touch to the otherwise violent sequences. The rain sequence sets the tone of the whole film and is only made better by an all too brief appearance by the always awesome Cung Le as Iron Shoes whose name becomes pretty obvious as he gets in on the action.

This is one of the few of the Ip Man films that got a wider release and it is clear why. It may not be a better action film that the Donnie Yen films, but it brings so much more visual style and beauty to the action, yet keeps the legendary story movie without ever feeling like it is over cramped. Some subject matter can wear out its welcome, but the legendary Ip Man is not one of them and this film is yet another great adaptation of his life that should not be missed.

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