Before the Trailer, We Thought: One of the biggest names in world cinema, Chinese director Wong Kar-Wai has largely been MIA since the tepid reaction to his first foray into English-language filmmaking with 2007's Norah Jones starring "My Blueberry Nights." The news that his next project would be the martial arts Ip-man biopic "The Grandmaster," was overshadowed by countless delays and speculation about how the director would handle a film as action-focused as this. Now with a hugely successful Chinese release and Berlin premiere behind it and a steady stream of clips released in the months since, we've been waiting to get our first full look at the film for quite some time, hoping for a return to form from the celebrated filmmaker.
And Now: While the ridiculously tacked-on car commercial-esque opening narration's horizontal-vertical remarks does little for first impressions, the imagery of the trailer is much more enticing, promising that Wong has lost none of his visual flair in recent years. The trailer itself is short and sweet, showing the titular character standing off and easily overtaking an opposing gang, all in the middle of a gigantic thunderstorm.
It's fairly generic stuff, but that doesn't diminish the excitement of seeing a director of this caliber's take on the material, giving us one of the most visually exciting trailers to come out this year and promising a fresh, new step for the director, who has largely worked within romantic dramas, albeit each with their own stylistic trademarks, for the entirety of his career.
The trailer does however leave the content of the film itself in question. While "The Grandmaster" is being billed as a biopic of the legendary Kung Fu master's life from the 1930s on, the trailer's focus lies only on the film's extremely elaborate fighting scenes in building anticipation for The Weinstein Company's August 23rd U.S. release. But when the director is clearly having as good of a time with the material and the content looks as impressive as this, it's hard not to get excited.
For more information on the film, check out Eric Kohn's Berlin review here.