This master is more art than martial

editorial image

Maybe it’s because of the Easter holidays, but it’s pretty slim pickings on the DVD front this week.

The box set of the BBC action-drama show The Musketeers is out, but I’ve only seen a couple of those and, to be honest, I preferred the Dogtanian cartoons of my youth.

Other than that I could only see one new release worth spending some time on and that is The Grandmaster, a Chinese film following the life of kung-fu expert Ip Man.

Ip Man was a legendary grandmaster of the Wing Chun style of kung-fu, and the man responsible for bringing this once secret style to the masses during the 20th century.

The style even made it as far as the Borders, where some years ago this very reviewer was schooled in the dangerous fighting art.

You can imagine my excitement when this film came onto my radar then.

Well, kind of. Ip Man has already received the movie treatment in a couple of films over the past five or so years.

Martial arts movie icon Donnie Yen took the lead in Ip Man 1 & 2 and did a great job, so can this new film bring anything to the table?

The film dots about the life of Ip Man, charting a move from his native Foshan to Hong Kong in the 1930s during a time of great upheaval in Chinese society.

Tony Leung plays Ip as the martial arts expert battles his way through domestic kung-fu confrontations and the chaos of the second Sino-Japanese war.

Writer/director Wong Kar-wai is famous for crafting visually-striking movies and this one is no different. The film looks fantastic and the set pieces are dripping with style.

However, the story itself gets a bit lost in this attractive mix. The flashback style doesn’t do the narrative any justice and outside of the impressive fight sequences, the pace of the film can feel ponderous.