Box art for The Grandmaster

The Grandmaster

  • Rated PG13
  • HD and SD formats available

action & adventure, drama

From director Wong Kar Wai and starring Tony Leung and Ziyi Yang, THE GRANDMASTER is an epic action film inspired by the life of Ip Man, the legendary kung fu master who trained Bruce Lee.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
1 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
1 out of 5
4 out of 5

Beautiful martial arts, some violence, uneven storyline.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Grandmaster is a martial arts biopic about Ip Man, the legendary Wing Chun master who trained Bruce Lee. Director Wong Kar Wai is one of the world's most respected filmmakers, but this is one of his less acclaimed movies. Expect plenty of martial arts fighting, and though the film's focus is primarily on artistry and beauty, there's still some bone-crunching and spraying blood. "F--k" and "ass" each appear once in the English subtitles; sexuality isn't an issue, though scenes take place at a brothel (they're not graphic). One character becomes addicted to opium, and many characters, including the hero, smoke cigarettes. The same subject was covered -- quite differently -- in 2008's less artsy but more enjoyable Ip Man.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about The Grandmaster's violence. Did the fighting strike you as artistic, violent, or somewhere in between?
  • What does the movie teach viewers about martial arts other than fighting?
  • Does the fact that the main character smokes cigarettes make him less appealing?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all The Grandmaster reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Still, a butchered Wong Kar-Wai movie is better than most filmmakers' purest work, so even if the plot occasionally zips by at too quick a clip, The Grandmaster is a lush, albeit rushed, meal that's worth consuming on the big screen.

- Alonso Duralde, TheWrap, Friday, August 23, 2013

Rotten: The action choreography (by the great Yuen Woo-ping) feels oddly rhythmless; likewise, Wong's depictions of the larger-than-life characters achieve little emotional resonance.

- Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fresh: Granted, "The Grandmaster" is not a primer on Chinese philosophy. Yet it may score as crossover cinema for Wong fans and Lee fans.

- Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times, Thursday, August 29, 2013

Audience Reviews

3 stars

I have already seen the first two Ip Man movies, which starred Donnie Yen, and they were great. The Grandmaster seems more like an overall explanation from beginning to end of Ip Man rather than devoting one movie to a certain time period. Thank goodness this movie was subtitled. I can't stand foreign flicks that are dubbed or in chopped English. The beginning fight scene was a bit overwhelming in the rain. It was difficult to follow the camera movements. Every other martial arts scene was well crafted and done with pinpoint accuracy. I've knocked it down a few pegs because of the storyline. It starts as a journey about the arts, then turns into a love story, and comes back to the arts. It still leaves you wanting a more thorough conclusion to the arts side of things than the love side of the story. Tony Leung was perfectly fine as Ip Man. Ziyi Zhang is the go-to actress for anything martial arts and Chinese. Good to see her do a film again that was released here in America. Overall, the cinematography and camera direction will keep you admiring the Grandmaster, it just may slow down to a crawl in too many parts for some.

- fb1544220109, Monday, September 2, 2013

2 stars

One of the most visually stunning movies with some of the best fight sequences I've seen in a long time, The Grandmaster ultimately becomes a dud because of the choppy story and garbled timeline. In this film, around 15 years go by and nobody ages. The lack of explanations of some scenes makes The Grandmaster even more difficult to follow. The fight scenes were pretty random. It's worth seeing for free down the road for the fighting and beautiful backdrops and cinematography, but you won't get enthralled in the story. I wouldn't say you have to see it either.

- cenzano38, Sunday, September 1, 2013

5 stars

More like a poem than a movie. The camera work is splendid. The acting beautifully stylized and the action sequences delicious.

- bathshebamonk, Friday, August 30, 2013