Review: THE GRANDMASTER

MV5BMTQ0OTY2NTU2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTEyMjY2OQ@@._V1._SX94_SY140_When I was a child, I was obsessed with Bruce Lee and his final film “Enter the Dragon”.  So much so, that I had those sticks with the chain and almost knocked out all my teeth trying to be cool and use them like Bruce Lee.  So needless to say when a screening became available that was all about the man who trained Lee, I couldn’t get to theater fast enough.  Like they say in China…”In martial arts, there is no right or wrong…only the last man standing”.

The largest influence on Lee’s martial arts development was his study of Wing Chun, which he began at the age of 13 in 1954, after losing a fight with rival gang members.  Ip’s regular classes generally consisted of the forms practice, chi sao (sticking hands) drills, wooden dummy techniques, and free-sparring.   Ip tried to keep his students from fighting in the street gangs of Hong Kong by encouraging them to fight in organized competitions.

After a year into his Wing Chun training, most of Ip Man’s other students refused to train with Lee after they learned of his mixed ancestry, as the Chinese were generally against teaching their martial arts techniques to non-Asians.  However, Lee showed a keen interest and continued to train privately with Ip Man and Wong Shun Leung in 1955.

THE GRANDMASTER is the story of  Ip Man and serves as a mini-history lesson of 30’s Pre-war China and the significance of martial arts well into the present day.  Ip Man’s (Tony Leung Chi Wa) struggle of becoming “the grandmaster” and becoming the “last man standing” was seriously threatened when his path crossed the beautifully dangerous, Gong Er (Zihi Zhang) who came to defend the honor of her family.  They are instantly attracted, but due to rules in China at that time and the vow that Gong Er made, they would never be able to connect in they way they desired.

The fight scenes and cinematography illustrating Wing Chun were like watching a ballet on film.  Each and every scene was so colorful and perfect that I didn’t want to take my eyes off the screen.  I felt transported into a world and history that I was completely ignorant to, but now feel more enriched by being exposed to it through a beautifully executed script and phenomenal performances.

If you a martial arts fan,  fan of Wing Chun or Bruce Lee, you will thoroughly enjoy THE GRANDMASTER…

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