Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Grandmaster, US Version

Finally saw The Grandmaster, or one of the versions (the US) - seemed like half of the movie was about Zhang Zi Yi's character, one-half of a (fictional) doomed romance; Yip Man's wife hardly had a role in it at all. (She did speak; was it dubbed by a Chinese speaker? I don't think Song Hye Gyo can speak Cantonese so well.) I suppose Wong Kar-Wai decided to focus on one of his favorite themes, impossible romantic love, and didn't use anything else that would have made the movie more of a historically accurate biopic.

There is an extra scene after the initial credits -- a montage of fight scenes and the like not scene in the movie. Extra footage that was not included in this cut? Makes me wonder how much of the extra footage shot for the movie is usable for an extended version; however, Wong Kar-Wai may never get around to making one, even if he is interested.

The way some of the scenes were shot in slow-motion or almost at a standstill had the effect of making the images seem artificial, almost as if they were done with CGI (maybe some were?). The fight scene at the train station reminded me of a commercial -- could they have been shot better? I think so.

The fight scenes are decent; like Donnie Yen's Ip Man movies, they are an artistic representation Wing Chun but probably not realistic depictions of how it would be used. Though I wish there were some footage of the fights that Bruce Lee or William Cheung or any of Yip Man's other students participated in back in the day to use as a basis of comparison. I think I would watch the movie again because it is something to look at, despite some of the filming techniques used. But I wish it were more historically accurate and focused more on Yip Man.

Variety article on WKW and the movie

a review of the movie by a Wing Chun practitioner

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