If the trailer for The Grandmaster feels at all familiar, then you’ve probably seen Ip Man, Wilson Yip’s 2008 kung fu dramatization about the life of the martial artist who trained Bruce Lee; at first blush, The Grandmaster appears to follow the same blueprint as Ip Man. The major difference, though, is that Wong Kar-wai is steering the ship, and as good as Ip Man is, Wilson Yip is no Wong Kar-wai as far as color palettes, composition, and cinematography are concerned.

One of China’s most celebrated filmmakers, Wong hasn’t made a feature since 2007’s My Blueberry Nights made a quiet debut on the world stage before being more or less forgotten. (A shame, since it’s actually quite good.) That makes the imminent arrival of The Grandmaster all the more exciting, even if seeing Wong work on a martial arts picture may strike some as a bit odd.

Here’s the official synopsis:

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. 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.

While Wong is best known for making human dramas about isolation and missed connection (not to mention smoldering romance), his 2000 masterpiece In the Mood For Love and its 2004 sequel, 2046, both hint at the director’s love of good martial arts yarns. Perhaps The Grandmaster is just an instance of Wong indulging that love at long last; if so, he’s picked a great fight choreographer in Yuen Woo-ping (of The Matrix, Kill Bill, and Drunken Master fame) to help him realize his vision, and it’s wonderful to see the Chinese auteur reunite with his go-to lead, Tony Leung, as well.

The Grandmaster likely will take as many liberties with Ip Man’s life story as Yip’s film did five years ago, but the film looks absolutely gorgeous – and besides that, Wong is an incredible storyteller. Here’s hoping it’s as good as early reviews indicate, but we’ll find out later this summer.

The Grandmaster arrives in theaters August 23rd, 2013.

Source: Apple Trailers