Wong Kar-wai’s first martial arts movie The Grandmasters is still in production. The film company has kept cast costumes and content confidential. The first two film posters were unveiled at Los Angeles’ American Film Market on November 1. The costumes of Tony Leung Chiu-wai who played Wing Chun master Yip Man in the film and lead actress Zhang Ziyi appeared for the first time and immediately became the focus of the foreign media.
In it Tony Leung wears a white straw hat and long black coat in the night rain. The foreign media were very interested in his look and even described it as the birth of a Chinese Dark Knight (Batman). In another promo image, Zhang Ziyi is in the midst of using Ba Gua Zhang (the eight diagram palm technique) – her eyes were full of self confidence. Foreign media pointed out that in a white straw hat, Yip Man was completely different from the image of Yip Man that has appeared in films before. Everyone was the most surprised that without any kung fu background Tony Leung actually had unspeakable kung fu power.
Since The Grandmasters film started production, everyone has been the most curious about Tony Leung abilities. After a year of training, his figure could be seen on the poster for the first time. Even foreign media described him as looking radiant. The film’s action director Yuen Woo-ping even described Tony’s current condition as “the peak”. He said that he never worried about his agility because Tony had a high ability to comprehend and absorb quickly. Although he and Donnie Yen played the same character but they each had their own style. He greatly praised Tony’s current status for the film’s action scenes. “I never worried about him,” he says, “Talking about body figures, Tony looks better than Donnie Yen. It is unbelievable that there is strength in Tony’s kicks. He does have the potential to film action films.”
Tony Leung in the past year suffered a lot too. Responsible for instructing, Wing Chun Grand Master Yip Man’s disciple Duncan Leung Siu Hung admired Tony’s spirit to overcome hardship. He pointed out that Tony’s progress was slower than the average student, half a year more than expected. During the period he stopped training for awhile due to his arm injury. However he recovered and returned to form very quickly. Unlike Donnie Yen who had a kung fu background, Tony Leung had an advantage that Donnie Yen did not have. He was able to start from zero like a blank piece of paper. Tony gradually and clearly absorbed the spirit of Wing Chun kung fu completely. Every one of his moves now is very naturally convincing, whether punching or with a staff he was able to perform the Wing Chun school feel. He also pointed out that director Wong Kar-wai at first asked Tony to truly spend time to train and made him understand that slow and steady wins the race.
Kar-Wai is a brilliant filmmaker, and both Leung and co-star Ziyi Zhang are really fantastic actors. The Grandmasters film should be making its way to the festival circuit in the middle portion of 2011, so expect a lot more about this film soon.
With martial arts getting more popular in the Thirties, more people seek to learn them via the professionals at Foshan in Southern China. Some of the experienced masters like to challenge their counterparts and undergoing battles. To have their whole concentration, it is their practice to lock up the venues and no one is allowed to leave during battles. No food and no rest before reaching any results. Ip Man is a young rich man extremely talented in martial arts, but he chooses to keep a low profile. Yet this doesn’t keep him out of these troubles ahead. One day he is trapped in this battleground so he has to use every means in order to get out of there. The masters are amazed by his abilities. Master Kung and his daughter Kung Yi are amongst, and the latter is attracted to this newcomer. A high warlord is assassinated by his own guard Yi Xian Tian. All masters in Foshan vow to take Tian down no matter what….