Stunningly beautiful but a surprisingly stifling and inert aesthetic object despite the film's constant motion. I can appreciate kung fu as abstract art/modern ballet up to a point but why is this film so pleasureless? It's a gorgeous museum piece with all the life sucked out of it.
'In the Mood For Kung Fu.' A mournful and elegiac film that just so happens to take place in the world of martial arts. "The Grandmaster" has more in common with the work of Terrence Malick than it does the other Ip Man films to see release. While I doubt many would call this Wong Kar-wai's finest hour, as ever he displays a talent for capturing the bittersweet nature of a love that cannot be consummated.
While I did feel I missed out on not seeing the full Chinese cut as well as not knowing the full historical context, from a cinematic standpoint it's unbelievable. Kar-wai is one of my very favorite filmmakers and this certainly didn't disappoint. It's gorgeous and the fighting was not only astounding to marvel at, it was incredibly romantic and poetic. That coupled with themes of loss and nostalgia made this great.
Not a martial arts film, not even a tribute to martial arts, it's a love letter. There was something sad and nostalgic about the martial arts family systems, Wong Kar Wai domesticated Kung Fu so much he made it relatable to anyone. It's not WKW's best and his usual subtle touches go out the window, but it exposes the other "Ip man" films as the mindless propaganda they are.
Epic in scope and sumptuously shot, Grandmaster is ambitious in every sense of the word. The performances are spot on throughout perfectly analogous to Kung Fu philosophy and honour. It was so stirring it had me wanting to rush out and take up martial arts. The structure is at times confusing and feels as though it's trying to take in too much, perhaps a longer edit may have helped. 4 stars