Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Grandmaster by Cesar Cabrera

Another tale of the overly-populated legend Yip Man from the early 1930's till his initial classes of Wing Chun. But this goes in a new view and a new taste as a martial art film and the biopic of Yip Man. This was the most interesting thing I have seen all year, especially since it's been a while since I've seen a martial art film. 90% of the fight scenes that are shown in slow-motion, so instead of showing how fast-paced or quick the legendary martial artists fight, they show the art and the philosophy of their style of fighting; how it flows with nature so eloquently and with ease. Like water. It's amazing to see that. Initially, I felt a bit boredom of watching that. Then when the film was over, I felt ashamed for thinking that way. The cinematography was incredible, nonchalant in every angle and a breath taker.

They also showed a bit of a secret tragic romance as well. Personallym I thought this was going to make me dislike it more, but they didn't show the sad romance Nicolas-Sparks-style or anything related to that, it was very deep and understandable of the choices they made and to me, that is what made it more interesting. Their still motions says so much of their feelings, it's almost like you don't need to hear them say it, you can see it in their eyes. Brilliant.
There were some things I had issues: First was the timeline, they go back and forth from months to years apart from the current settings that it gets confusing on whether I was watching back then or now. And second was the lack of notice of the secondary characters. There were so many characters and their types of martial arts that you would want to see more of them but they don't, not enough. You see them. Talk and/or Fight. Done. Bye-bye, character leaves. I'm sure they were important for Yip Man and impacted his life.

The setting was absolutely stunning in its facsimile style from the 1930's, in addition to the showcase of the type of clothes and tradition that existed at that time. The setpieces were very accurate.

The actors were brilliant. For me the one who caught my attention was the beautiful Ziyi Zhang (from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Rush Hour 2 - not to mention she looks the same since then), I felt like this was a film about her character much more than Yip Man, performed by Tony Leung. Don't know if that's a good thing or not, but she really grabs command of the film well. The rest of the cast was good, but like I said before they didn't show enough and I could have gotten more of them.

Overall, this is a new look on the martial arts film that I haven't seen for quite some time. Go watch it on the Internet where you can find the full version, 130 minutes rather than the cut version, which was 104 minutes.... Shit. This is for me the most beautiful film I have seen of this year and this decade.