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The Grandmaster aka Yi dai zong shi [Blu-ray]
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Block 2 Pictures
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:48:15.489 (regarded as the heavily cut version)
Disc Size: 44,492,752,319 bytes
Feature Size: 28,025,573,376 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.69 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: March 4th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Chinese 2553 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2553 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUB: Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
English (SDH), English, Spanish, none
•The Grandmaster: From IP Man to Bruce Lee (23:01)
• A Conversation with Shannon Lee - Daughter of Bruce Lee (6:55)
• The Grandmaster: Behind the Scenes (50:32)
Description: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 who mentored Bruce Lee. 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.
“The Grandmaster,” a hypnotically beautiful dream from the Hong
Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, opens with curls of smoke, eddies of water
and men soaring and flying across the frame as effortlessly as silk
ribbons. The men are warriors, street fighters with furious fists and
winged feet, who have massed together on a dark, rainy night to take on
Ip Man (Tony Leung), a still figure in a long coat and an elegant white
hat. Even amid the violent whirlpools of rain and bodies, that hat never
leaves his head. It’s as unyielding as its owner.
Wong follows Ip Man's life from wealthy young student of martial arts and practitioner of the wing chun fighting style (he declares his first 40 years to have been his "spring") to the Japanese invasion of China in 1938 and his subsequent struggle to support his family, his forever-chaste relationship with Gong Er (Ziyi Zhang), the highly skilled daughter of the former grandmaster, and Ip Man's rise in esteem as a formal, serious teacher ("Kung Fu is not a circus act" he offers quietly when discussing looser, street-theater fighting). And it's clear early on that the director cares less about exact historical events than how the man in the center of it never wavered from his chosen path as life threw its harshest blows. In both the martial arts challenges Ip Man accepted from opponents and in the historical upheavals that altered his destiny, he remained constant and upright.Excerpt from Dave White at Movies.com located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Grandmaster on Blu-ray is an exquisite feast of beauty with Philippe Le Sourd's cinematography, the heavy-emphasis on impressive art direction or Wong's frequent slow-motion realization within scenes. It is infused with lighting tints or masked with heavy rain. The 1080P seems to have a slight blue-leaning but there is plenty of depth and close-ups are remarkable in their detail. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate. It is pristinely clean and I see no digital manipulation in the transfer. The film's contrast produces rich atmospheric images and the higher resolution advances these qualities. Like the film, or perhaps because of it, the Blu-ray video is very impressive - often more like art than film - the HD transfer has allowed the film to express itself in stunningly attractive ways.
NOTE: IMDb notes this as the "108 min (heavily cut)" version. There is also a 130 minute version and a 122 min (international) version.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2553 kbps. This is healthy enough to push the many effect sounds around the sound stage with separations zapping and pinging from all corners of your home theatre. It is fairly crisp but depth is not a demonstrative attribute in the sound department for this film. Nathaniel Méchaly (Taken) and Shigeru Umebayashi (2046, The House of Flying Daggers) composed the score which benefits from the lossless transfer heightening moods in running beside the film with expert precision. An English-language DUB is included in simple Dolby. There are optional subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked although the film is available in region 'B' on Blu-ray.
There are a number of video supplements including the 23-minute The Grandmaster: From IP Man to Bruce Lee which looks on the historical references of the film. We get a 7-minute conversation with Shannon Lee - the daughter of Bruce Lee as well as 5-minutes of The Grandmaster - According to RZA (Robert Fitzgerald Diggs of the Wu-Tang Clan.) But the meat of the extras focuses within a 50-minute Behind the Scenes piece with footage during production and sound-byte snippets from cast, crew and director. It has informative moments imparting some knowledge as to the extent of production detail that went into achieving Wong's singular vision.
March 1st, 2014
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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