THE GRANDMASTER Blu-ray Review
The Grandmaster is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay this week. It tells the story of legendary Ip Man. The story of Ip Man has been told before, most recently in a film titled Ip Man and it’s sequels starring Donnie Yen. An Ip Man TV series starring Kevin Cheng aired March through May of 2013.
Where the prior films focus more on action than story, The Grandmaster focuses more on the history of Ip Man’s life and legend. Written and directed by Wong Kar Wai (Happy Together, In the Mood For Love and My Blueberry Nights) the film stars Tony Leung as Ip Man who changed martial arts forever. The story is set during the turmoil of 1930s and is part historical drama and part action film. It also stars Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Chang Chen (Red Cliff). Yuen Wo Ping (The Matrix, Kill Bill) choreographed the heart stopping fight sequences.
The opening fight sequence where Ip Man takes on a group, facing off against the leader of the group is not only a thing of beauty becaks of Kar Wai’s visuals and Wo Ping’s amazing choreography. The use of slow motion coupled with the pounding rain adds up for a fight sequence that will leave your mouth agape. The fight sequences throughout the film are equally stunning. Another amazing sequence that will have you on the edge of your seat takes place in a train station with trains flying by.
Authenticity is an important element for a martial arts film. Leung and the rest of the cast have spent years mastering their crafts as both actors and martial artists. It is called martial arts for a reason, and The Grandmaster takes the beauty to the next level.
For fans of period dramas, The Grandmaster has something for you as well. The characters and engrossing storyline do a wonderful job of capturing the feel for the time period and people. The production design and costumes are fabulous. It is on the same level as 1987’s best picture winner, The Last Emperor directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. The Grandmaster recently made the Best Foreign-Language Film Shortlist as Hong Kong’s submission.
Anchor Bay has done a great job of creating a wonderful Blu-ray presentation thanks to the 1080p digital transfer and the Mandarin language DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The film features a lot of close up scenes and the detail is amazing thanks because of the transfer quality. The sound mix brings the the film to life, especially the fight sequences. The Blu-ray features some great special features listed below.
- The Grandmaster: From Ip Man to Bruce Lee – Take a closer look at the relationship between Ip Man and Bruce Lee.
- A Conversation with Shannon Lee, Daughter of Bruce Lee
- The Grandmaster Behind the Scenes
- The Grandmaster According to RZA