Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Grandmaster

All directors are self-indulgent.  But Wong Kar-wai takes it to a whole new level.  Wong spends ten years researching "The Grandmaster," ten years shooting it on and off, another ten years shooting the Matrix-like trailer and yet another ten years flip flopping between whether to make the English title plural or singular, struggling whether the story is about the only man that matters in the whole universe, the one and only Man,  Yip Man or it is really more about a number of grand masters.  After forty long years and countless broken spareribs from Leung Chiu Wai, Wong finally decides it's just "The Grandmaster," without the ass.

When the flag drops, the bullshit stops.  We hear enough of the back story.  So how is the movie?  Here is what my friend has to say.  I have nothing to say about the actual movie as I have not seen it yet or if ever.

I saw the Grandmasters 一代宗师 today. Kind of underwhelming. Not up to my expectations. I think Wong lost the plot somewhere. Not a great piece of story-telling. Would it be better had the movie been four hours long? I don't know. Anyway, Wong said that wouldn't happen in the next ten years. Was he trying to do to much in one movie? Possibly. The movie is educational in some ways, like introducing us to the various schools of Kung Fu, and there is romance, some fight scenes and hilarious elements as well. In the end, I was kind of lost. Zang is stunning as usual. The snow scene is very beautiful. That part should have been longer. The part of 宋乔慧 should have been longer too. No wonder she is pissed. I think Wong has taken too long to make the movie. Kind of funny because Wong only took 2 months to make the Chungking express, and yet that movie is such a classic. For all I know, this Grandmasters, with all its relative commercial success, won't become a classic despite some outstanding performances from Tony Leung and Zang ziyi.

I think I share the sentiment.

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