Just last week we talked about a new film about legendary martial arts master Yip Man called Ip Man: The Final Fight and how popular the Wing Chung teacher has been in film lately. Now we’re seeing all kinds of commercials for another called The Grandmaster presented to U.S. audiences by none other than Martin Scorsese and The Weinstein Company.
Directed by Wong Kar Wai (Fallen Angels, My Blueberry Nights), The Grandmaster stars Tony Leung Chiu Wai as Yip Man. He’s joined by Ziyi Zhang, Hye-kyo Song, Cung Le and Chen Chang. Here’s the film’s official synopsis:
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Wong Kar Wai, THE GRANDMASTER is an epic action feature inspired by the life and times of the legendary kung fu master, Ip Man. The story spans the tumultuous Republican era that followed the fall of China’s last dynasty, a time of chaos, division and war that was also the golden age of Chinese martial arts. Filmed in a range of stunning locations that include the snow-swept landscapes of Northeast China and the subtropical South, THE GRANDMASTER features virtuoso performances by some of the greatest stars of contemporary Asian cinema, including Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang.
“Wong Kar Wai has turned martial arts into a modern dance,” Scorsese said of the film which opened the Berlin Film Festival by way of Deadline. To get a brief look at said dance, check out the TV spot followed by a more extended international trailer.
That’s not all the Grandmaster-y goodness, though. Yahoo! Movies also showed off a series of new images along with the film’s poster and a Mondo-exclusive one created by artist Vania Zouravliov that’s going on sale the day of the film’s release.
The Grandmaster opens on August 23.
Word on the street — according to IF — is that Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company are looking to cut 20 minutes from Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s 126-minute futuristic sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer (see the latest international trailer above). The film features the last remnants of humanity on a train in a post apocalyptic world. Chris Evans’ character leads an uprising to help free his fellow survivors.
The basic gist according to film festival programmer Tony Rayns seems to be that the film needs to be dumbed down for American audiences. “Leaving aside the issue of what Weinstein thinks of its audience, it seems to say the least anomalous that the rest of the English-speaking world has to be dragged down to the presumed level of American mid-west hicks,” Rayns said.
Rayns went on to say that the slices and dices would cut out character development and make the film more of a straight-ahead action flick. “Nobody (least of all Bong himself) is optimistic that his rear-guard actions against the’‘Weinstein version’ will get his original version released in English-speaking territories, but I hope that Oz, like the UK, will fight the good fight to protest Weinstein’s cuts,” said Rayns. “If the ‘Weinstein version’ flops in theatres, it may at least speed up release of what I’m sure Weinstein will call ‘the director’s cut’ on Blu-ray and DVD.”
The idea of dumbing down any film is reprehensible. Dumb films should be dumb, smart one should be smart. Maybe TWC should have actually had an idea of what they were buying when they picked up the distribution rights. However, even if and when the time gets cut from the original film, the very presence of Snowpiercer in North America will speed up the process of getting an unadulterated cut in our hands sooner, we hope. It’s far from an optimal situation, but the trailer for this movie looks so rad that we want to get our hands on it sooner rather than later.