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Grandmaster, The [Blu-ray]

3.8 out of 5 stars 461 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Wong Kar Wai, THE GRANDMASTER is an epic action feature inspired by the life and times of the legendary Kung FU master, Ip Man who mentored Bruce Lee. 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. Filmed in a range of stunning locations that include the snow-swept landscapes of Northeast China and the subtropical South, THE GRANDMASTER features virtuoso performances by some of the greatest stars of contemporary Asian cinema, including Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang.

Product Details

  • Actors: Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang
  • Directors: Wong Kar Wai
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese, English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: March 4, 2014
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (461 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00ET2ODX0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,820 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Carl S. Lau on October 14, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
The information on the Amazon website indicates a running time of 130 minutes which is the running time of the Hong Kong version. The Weinstein US version was dramatically shorter at around 108 minutes. The two versions are different with some scenes added to the 108 minute version and some dramatic chopping of the Hong Kong 130 minute version to get to 108 minutes. In other words, neither of the two versions is complete. It is likely that the Amazon information on this release is incorrect. I would wait until this is sorted out before ordering. So if one wants a more complete version of The Grandmaster, then one would have to buy both versions. The director, Wong Kar Wai, is never finished in terms of editing the film. So that the theatrical release in the US was the Weinstein Bros version and that is a lot simpler than the more complex version that came out of Hong Kong. But both versions would be able to stand on their own.
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Format: DVD
There are different cuts of this film, and some are much less sensible than others. The "international release" in particular has been severely cut so that some characters just appear out of nowhere. Reviews of one version may simply not make sense for a different version.

Which version is this? (how long is it?)

(Wikipedia says: "There are three versions of the film that has been released. First is the domestic "Chinese Cut" of the film that runs 130 minutes. Second is the version of the film that debuted at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival at 123 minutes. The third is the version released by The Weinstein Company that runs at 108 minutes." Note NTSC<->PAL conversions _may_ produce running times that differ by a handful of minutes; even so running times would make it clear which version/cut a disc contains.)
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I've seen the U.S. version of this film about a half dozen times in theaters. Needless to say, I'm a huge fan. But I've been wondering if, as some have suggested, it's a "dumbed down" edit for American audiences compared to the longer Hong Kong release. So when this Blu-ray's launch date was delayed, I decided to buy the HK version and I was surprised by the differences in ways I did not expect at all.

Let me start with the bad news first: if you're a fan of the film, you really need to own both versions. Both have important strengths, and neither one is a wholly satisfying substitute for the other. BUT… if you forced me to pick just one, I'd have to say the U.S. release would be it, and that's not the conclusion I expected to reach. Here are the pros and cons of each:

HK PROS:

1) It fully fleshes out a few characters who have been edited down to cardboard cutouts in the American release. In particular, you'll be astonished at how much more there is to the stories of The Razor, Madame Ip and Ding Lianshan (the guy who only shows up in the cigarette lighting scene with Ip in the U.S. version.)

2) There is just a little more background information to many things throughout the film, which makes for a more complete story.

HK CONS:

1) It eliminates the amazing scenes of Gong Er, both as a child and an adult, practicing martial arts in the snow!!! These are some of my favorite scenes in the whole movie, and I was shocked to find them gone in the longer version.

2) It doesn't mention that Ip Man trained Bruce Lee! Again, I was shocked, since this is such a key revelation in the U.S. release, and it brings Ip's story full circle. Maybe the assumption was that Asian audiences would just know this.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I suppose being Bruce Lee's former teacher and someone who had made the martial art Wing Chun known around the world, the curiosity around his life became so strong that directors Wilson Yip and Herman Yau had their turn in bringing his life to the big screen. Wilson Yip's "Ip Man" was a film with a lot of fiction around it, which focused entirely on action sequences with Donnie Yen in the title role. Herman Yau's "The Legend is Born: Ip Man" was an unspectacular martial arts drama but a little more subtle and certainly not as bombastic as Wilson Yip's films.

Well, finally the highly anticipated biopic about Ip Man directed by Wong Kar-Wai has finally arrived. A little different from his usual films, as the film goes for refreshing ideas and themes rather than decadent emotions, it is a film that has a lot of hype as with any other film directed by him. People should be aware that one needs to temper their expectations with Wong Kar-Wai's "The Grandmaster". It is a film about a true-to-life figure and is a period piece that brings the concept of how martial arts can apply to living. Wong Kar-Wai takes on a premise that he has not done before that his fans would have reason to celebrate. This review is based on the 130 minute film released in Asia, I have heard that another cut of the film was debuted internationally.

1930s China. Ip Man (Tony Leung) is a rich, young martial arts master who does not want to compete and yet he finds himself thrust into the limelight as his peers push him into a sparring match with Chinese Martial Arts chairman Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang). The match was more technical than a display of skills as Ip Man asserts his inner skill to get the best of Yutian.
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