Friday, August 23, 2013
In the beginning of the film, we find Gong Yutain (Qingxiang Wang), the grandmaster of the North, has retired and appointed his apprentice Ma San (Jin Zhang) to be his successor. Ma San is very selfish, arrogant, impatient, and impulsive, and will prove to be an issue later in the film. Meanwhile, southerners want Ip Man to represent them and become grandmaster, and when put to the test, Ip Man is gracefully victorious. He faces many challenges, as grandmasters from all over China test him, and without breaking a sweat, he triumphs. Gong Er (Yixuan Wu), a great friend of Ip Man and the daughter of Gong Yutain, honors her father both as a mentor and martial artist. She has great desire to be his successor, but the tradition won't allow it. She too challenges Ip Man, only to find he is worthy of the respect that all of China has given him. Sometime afterwards, the Second Sino-Japanese War consumes China, and Ip Man is forced into poverty with his wife Cheung Wing-sing, and children. Ip Man refuses to use any of Japanese food and resources to survive extreme poverty, and as a result, he looses two of his daughters to starvation. Meanwhile, apprentice Ma San betrays his master Gong Yutain.
As a true practitioner of martial arts and scholars of it's valid advancement, I strongly believe this film will change the direction of martial arts films. Wong Kar Wai decided not to focus on excessive use of special effects to show fantasy style fighting, but instead relied on very close and personal fighting scenes, where the combatants rarely stepped within an inch from one another, creating plenty of suspense and anxiety, without being overly dramatic, yet still retaining the illusion of the supernatural; very different than what I am used to seeing in most martial arts film.
I feel that Wong Kar Wai and the entire cast would agree, and worked diligently to show martial arts for what it is, and not what modern media has made it seem to be. Wiley also said, that he cares not about the image of martial arts, but rather "self-enlightenment and self-defense in the real world. Therefore, if challenged because of skepticism, a true practitioner of martial arts will defend him/herself in a realistic Martial manner. As long as that ideology is upheld, the superficial is irrelevant." When I further asked him "What do you expect to see in the film The Grandmaster?" he responded, "Just an entertaining movie." I think Andre will be happily disappointed!
A brown belt in Karate, Rashuan Williams is an award-winning social entrepreneur and the CEO/Founder of Phresh Philly. Find him on facebook and twitter. [Rashaun came to Tinsel & Tine through Christopher “Flood the Drummer”® Norris (Techbook Online)
LAMB Score 5 out 5
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