Wong Kar-Wai’s lavish martial arts biopic tells the story of the Ip Man, the legendary trainer who became Bruce Lee’s mentor. Spanning several decades, it follows the story of intense rivalry and yearning that develops between the titular founder of the Wing Chun branch of kung fu (played by regular Wong collaborator Tony Leung) and the head of a competing school (Zhang Ziyi).
Wong Kar-Wai displayed his customary procrastination while editing the film, delaying its release once Donnie Yen had rushed into production an alternate trilogy about the Ip Man mythos. But Wong’s vision was worth the wait. Combing the lyrical style for which he made his name with stunning martial arts sequences, The Grandmaster is both a thrilling action film and a sumptuous visual experience.