Wong Kar-wai's long-awaited biopic of Yip Man is an elegant, elegiac and soulful romance of the kung fu kingdom. It's a swirl of movements, limbs, smoke, droplets, embroidered hems; the fighting is a cubist deconstruction of fists and legs, more sensuous than violent, all atmospheric, a state of mind rather than a corporal brawl.
Zhang Ziyi plays the revenge-seeking Gong Er in The Grandmaster .
In short, The Grandmaster will leave hard-core kickboxing fanboys who adore the earlier version of Yip Man starring Donnie Yen in perpetual yawn. Wong gives us an unlikely combination: a sad martial arts movie, in which heartbreak is more resonant than the cracking of bones. This is not unexpected from the director of Fallen Angels, In The Mood For Love, 2046, or more to the point, Ashes Of Time, a melancholic kung fu drama that pre-cursored the mournful air of The Grandmaster.
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