Wong Kar Wai’s (王家衛) The Grandmaster <一代宗師>, a film that took a decade of preparation and nearly four years of filming, finally opened in China, Hong Kong, and Macau cinemas last week.
It has been more than five years since the acclaimed Hong Kong director released his last feature film, My Blueberry Nights, which starred Norah Jones and Jude Law, and nearly nine years since his last Hong Kong film, 2046.
Film critics originally questioned Wong’s ability in producing kung fu epics, as the director is mainly known for his works on pensive, art house films. However, Wong’s $300 million HKD film ended up exceeding expectations.
Mainland Chinese moviegoers flooded to the theaters on its January 8 release date. In mainland China, the film grossed 29.8 million RMB on its opening day Tuesday. In Hong Kong, the film earned $1.8 million HKD on its January 10 release date. The Grandmasterhas since grossed more than $225 million HKD in the Greater China box office, succeeding 2046’s record in 2004.
The Grandmaster, a biopic of Wing Chun legend Ip Man, centers on the conflicts between Northern and Southern Chinese martial arts. Tony Leung (梁朝偉), Wong’s longtime collaborator, portrays Ip Man. Zhang Ziyi (章子怡) portrays Gong Er, the confidant daughter of Gong Baolin (portrayed by Wang Qingxiang 王庆祥), a baguangzhang master from the Northeast. To protect her family’s honor and to avenge for her father’s death, Gong Er travels to the South to challenge Ip Man’s southern martial arts.
Chang Chen (張震) costars in the film as the special agent, Razor. Song Hye Kyo (宋慧喬) stars as Ip Man’s wife, Cheung Wing Sing.
Director Wong Jing: “I Have Truly Lost”
The Grandmaster opened in Hong Kong on Thursday, January 10, to great ovation and success. Numerous Hong Kong film entertainers have expressed their excitement and appraisal of the film through their Weibo, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Among the most enthusiastic critic was fellow Hong Kong director and competitor, Wong Jing (王晶), who chose to challenge The Grandmaster’s Hong Kong box office with his gangster film,Young and Dangerous: Reloaded <古惑仔:江湖新秩序>, which was also released on January 10.
Wong Jing wrote, “I am very, very impressed. Since 1988 until now, this is the first time when I felt like I have truly lost.”
Chapman To (杜汶澤), Leo Ku (古巨基), Ip Man <葉問> trilogy director Wilson Yip(葉偉信), and You Are the Apple of My Eye <那些年，我們一起追的女孩> director, Giddens Ko (九把刀) have all praised the film in their respective social media sites. Love in a Puff <志明與春嬌> director, Pang Ho Cheung (彭浩翔), wrote, “The Grandmaster in two words? A masterpiece.”
The Grandmaster will open in Taiwan on January 18 and Singapore on January 31.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.