Tag Archives: Tony Leung

The Grandmaster is a delicate and deliberate work of art

19 Sep

THE-GRANDMASTER

Wong Kar-Wai is one of China’s most celebrated and respected directors because his aesthetic eye is unmatched, much like his the title of his latest film, The Grandmaster starring Tony Leung as Ip Man, the martial art champion of Wing Chun that has become a household name among Netflix audiences familiar with the Donnie Yen films. This interpretation easily replaces the previous versions. It chronicles his life before and after the Second Sino-Japanese war as a well-respected kung fu master selected to represent the Southern styles against the undefeated Northern Grandmaster. The film is beautifully shot and every single detail is accentuated by Wong Kar-Wai’s ability to make the familiar look strange. Tony Leung’s performance is equal to his character’s name and Zhang Ziyi’s (Gong Er) keeps the film from becoming a one-dimensional martial art film. Her presence and her character’s objective, as well as her obstacles deepens the story. The Grandmaster is a delicate and deliberate work of art.

WORD COUNT: 160

Chuck’s Grade: A

Adam’s Grade: N/A

The Great Magician is a tired act

20 Aug

The-Great-Magician

The best trick this film pulls off is getting critically acclaimed actor, Tony Leung Chui Wai (Chang Hsien) to agree to do this turn of this turn of the century farce about love, magic, and China’s strained relationship with imperial Japan. I kept hoping several of the main characters would simply disappear because the acting was so atrocious that it made it difficult to get through the film in one viewing. Actor Lau Ching-wan (Bully Lei) is supposed to be Leung’s rival for Zhou Xun’s (Yin) affection, but I did not see the appeal for such a buffoon of a character. The rest of the cast is equally unsatisfying and really unnecessary for most of the film. Director Derek Yee is a veteran artist of Hong Kong cinema and has written and directed some very good films recently (Protege, Shinjuku Incident, and Triple Tap) but he had nothing up his sleeve this time. The Great Magician is a tired act.

WORD COUNT: 160

Chuck’s Grade: F

Adam’s Grade: N/A

HERO meets his match

26 Aug

Hero is not your ordinary Chinese martial art film. It is a visual masterpiece that uses color to communicate the film’s emotion to audiences. Jet Li stars as the nameless hero that attempts to assassinate the King of Qin, but first he must figure out a way to get close enough to his target. The film is a series of flashbacks that reveal key episodes behind Li’s journey to the King’s Palace.

Director Zhang Yimou balances a worthy script with a beautiful design concept and some of the best kung fu ever seen on film.  The highly anticipated duel between Li and Donnie Yen does not disappoint the most rabid martial art fans, but the true power of the film comes from the trio of actors, Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, and Maggie Cheung creating and re-creating different levels of tension through a series of vignettes that ultimately reveals the Hero’s difficult decision.

My decision is easy. Its a great film.

WORD COUNT: 159

Chuck’s Grade: A

Adam’s Grade: B+