The US release of Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster was met with disappointment in some quarters as the film was an edited down, simplified version of the film the director released elsewhere. And for those who were hoping that the blu-ray release would contain the original, international edit will be disappointed to hear that as of right now, the just announced home video release set for November 26 will only feature the US edit.
Kar-Wai’s edit for US distributor the Weinstein Company trimmed the original 130 minute film down to 108, along the way losing several scenes and simplifying the director’s winding narrative into something more straightforward. Unfortunately, many critics have noted that this has removed many of the subtleties that the director is known for.
I’ll admit that I have not seen the film yet, in part because I knew that the US release had been edited and I was hoping that the blu-ray release would contain both versions of the film. I also have to admit some trepidation about the film being yet another telling of the life of martial arts master Ip Man, a subject that has been covered extensively in films over the past couple of years. Was there anything else to say about the man who would one day train Bruce Lee that hadn’t been said already, even if the person saying it is a filmmaker like Kar-wai?
There is hope for those, like myself, who do want to see Kar-Wai’s original vision. It is available in other country’s on blu-ray that does not contain any region encoding, meaning that it should play in any blu-ray player in any country. As to why the Weinstein Company continues to aggresively acquire foreign titles like this knowing that there is a fan base for them and then treating them so shabbily, I have no idea.
In the meantime, here is one of the short extras that will be featured on the blu-ray release.
Via DVD Active.