Similar to Ipman who took on the foreigners (and trained Bruce Lee), there was Master Hou who was doing the same. The brisk marital arts historical drama The Grandmaster of Kung Fu is new to Blu-Ray from Well Go USA.
Director Cheng Siyu understands lean and economical approach is the key to a successful retelling of the oft-told tale of The Grandmaster of Kung Fu.
Master Hou (Dennis To) is the elite tier master of martial arts that knows that a competition by combat between rival martial arts schools means nothing. So much so that he turns up late to the competition that will determine the new “president” aka Grandmaster of Tianjin Martial Arts Association in the Tianjin region of China. His prestigious nature does not allow him to let hurt/harm the ego-centric foe he faces, thus losing the position.
No matter though, the Japanese Army, in the form of a Colonel and Aikido Master (Yang Yongfeng) have come to Tianjin to destroy those martial arts schools. The Colonel and Hou end up in a battle of wills that ends in a winner-takes-all match between the two. Treachery, deception, and bravery, all play a part in the final match that will determine the fate of the region at least for a time.
Running at 75 minutes the film wastes no time in getting into the plot mechanics of the story they’re telling. If anyone has seen the story of Ipman in its many iterations will know this story. The simple yet effective framework of a competition has been used by martial arts films since well before the Shaw Brothers made it famous. Here director Cheng Siyu uses that to his advantage cutting all the fat out and leaving the necessary.
The result is a film that puts the martial arts and the themes first and the characters secondary. The Grandmaster of Kung Fu isn’t a great film, but it isn’t a bad one either. It’s proficiently told earnestly and with an eye for the real star, the action. In that regard, The Grandmaster of Kung Fu delivers the goods.
The transfer provided to Well Go USA is excellent. The sharp image is a well-balanced representation of this digitally shot feature.
They include the following;
Theatrical Trailer (1:14)
The Final Thought
The Grandmaster of Kung Fu is a solid martial arts film.