For Chinese audiences, the wait is finally over. Wong Kar-wai's "The Grandmaster," the director's first film since 2007's "My Blueberry Nights," opens today in China after three years in production and nearly a decade in development. Sadly, English language audiences will have to be a bit more patient for Wong's version of the life of legendary martial artist Ip Man (Tony Leung); its American release date is still undetermined (it'll next appear at the Berlin Film Festival in February).
In the meantime, you can whet your appetite for "The Grandmaster" with an early review of the film from Twitch's Asian Editor, James Marsh. His verdict? He thinks it's "an action-packed visual feast" and "one hell of a beautiful kung fu movie:"
"'The Grandmaster' remains first and foremost a Wong Kar-wai film, employing a very slow, deliberate pace throughout and dedicates long periods of time to watching its characters ponder the great mysteries of life, or more often, wallow in their own regrets and missed opportunities. But this is interspersed by some truly fantastic action, which should delight kung fu fans and arthouse cinephiles alike. In 'The Grandmaster,' Wong Kar-wai has crafted the best-looking martial arts film since Zhang Yimou's 'Hero,' and the most successful marriage of kung fu and classic romance since 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,' and is more than deserving of that film's measure of international success."
Marsh also compliments the "intensity and imagination" and "breathless sensuality" of the fight choreography by Yuen Woo Ping. A visual feast? Intensity and imagination? Breathless sensuality? Yep; sure sounds like a Wong Kar-wai movie. Now if we could just see the damn thing ourselves.
Read more of "Review: 'The Grandmaster' Brings Class to the Ip Man Legend."