Wong Kar Wai’s long-in-the-making Ip Man film The Grandmaster finally hits the US next week, and it will be about 20 minutes shorter than the Hong Kong version of the film. Wong was in attendance at a special screening of The Grandmaster at The Museum of the Moving Image over the weekend. In the discussion after the film, he confirmed that the movie had been cut from its original 130 minutes to roughly 108 minutes. (There’s another international cut of The Grandmaster that clocks in around 115 minutes; if old reports hold true, the original 130-minute version is considered the director’s cut.)
Wong said that for the US release, he was obligated to deliver a version of the film that was under two hours. He restructured the shortened movie a bit in order to improve its flow. The Grandmaster is being distributed by the Weinstein Company, which has a long history of cutting and changing Asian movies for their domestic releases. Most recently it was revealed that Weinstein will cut Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer by 20 minutes.
So what’s missing from this US cut? I talked to Jared of Bullets Over Chinatown briefly after the screening, who’s also seen the Hong Kong version of the film. He said that the US cut is more action oriented and that a number of dramatic moments in the Hong Kong cut were missing.
The Grandmaster comes out August 23rd. Look for our review next week.