The Grandmaster: Hong Kong salad, paired with a fine martial arts wine, topped with kick-punch dressing

The Grandmaster Zhang Ziyi

Equal parts badass and beautiful, The Grandmaster did not disappoint the Chungking Express fan in me or the martial arts fan in me. So much care goes into the choreography as well as the writing and style of the film that it seems like it could have been directed by about three different people. This is the ultimate testiment to Wong Kar Wai as a filmmaker. The fact that the film spent a year being edited just goes to show how much care he puts into his films.

The performances are also extraordinary. Chungking Express’ Tony Leung and Hero’s Ziyi Zhang quietly command the way veteran actors often do.

Yet, these aspects may not even be the strongest point of the film; for me, that title goes to the score. Shigeru Umebayashi and Nathaniel Méchaly have given me my favorite score of the year and it added a lot to an already good film.

The only thing stopping this film from being better is the fact that they had to stick to the true story of Ip Man. This seems like something that could have been easily fixed, if only they had a Best Boy. Unfortunately, they did not (rookie mistake). Had they been able to stray from reality, it may have been even better.


8.5 heads of lettuce out of 10. (That’s pretty darn sallady!)