Streaming giveth and it taketh away. The end of September is nigh, which means that a bunch of movies and TV shows are leaving streaming services (or simply shuffling around). Last Chance Binge is here to remind you that the clock is ticking on some excellent titles.
My top selection is The Grandmaster, a gorgeous martial arts action movie starring Tony Leung, who recently made his Hollywood debut in Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — and essentially stole the movie out from the lead.
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Shang-Chi introduced many mainstream moviegoers to the charismatic Tony Leung, the veteran Hong Kong movie star. And the Marvel film would not have worked as well as it did without Leung's magnetic performance as Xu Wenwu. His final scene illustrates why he's known as "the man who speaks with his eyes" in China.
If you fell in love with those eyes and want to see more of them, you've got a satisfying journey ahead of you in exploring Leung's oeuvre. You could really pick at random from any of his films, but The Grandmaster's departure from Netflix provides the perfect starting point. It's the most recent of Leung's collaborations with iconic director Wong Kar-wai and features the martial arts skills that the actor so aptly displayed in Shang-Chi.
So if you loved the beautiful, balletic standoff between Wenwu and his future wife, Ying Li (Fala Chen) in Shang-Chi — my favorite action scene in the whole movie — get ready. Leung has a similar crackling chemistry with Zhang Ziyi in their fights in The Grandmaster.
In The Grandmaster, Leung plays Ip Man, the real-life master of the southern Chinese style of kung fu called Wing Chun (he trained Bruce Lee). But the film isn't really a biopic, more of an epic poem that explores artistry, loyalty, honor and unity. The story picks up in the 1930s, when Ip Man is living with his family in Foshan. His quiet life is disrupted by the arrival of an aging grandmaster who wants to crown an heir in the southern China. He challenges Ip Man to a fight, which the latter wins.
In turn, the grandmaster's daughter, Gong Er, challenges Ip Man in a bid to regain her family's honor. A stunning, passionate battle ensues, at the end of which Gong Er prevails. Their soulful connection is put on hold, though, when war erupts in the country. Ip Man falls into poverty and moves to Hong Kong to teach martial arts. He and Gong Er meet again, but recapturing the past is never simple.
Watch The Grandmaster on Netflix (opens in new tab) before it leaves on Sunday, September 26.
For more of Leung's smoldering eye acting, check out Wong's In the Mood For Love on HBO Max (opens in new tab). For more martial arts prowess by Leung and Zhang, watch Hero on HBO Max (opens in new tab).
Notable movies and shows leaving streaming soon:
In addition to The Grandmaster, check out these expiring titles:
Scream trilogy: The irreverent take on teen slasher flicks is still funny and scary, even if you know what happens to Drew Barrymore in the opening scene. (Leaves HBO Max Sept. 30 (opens in new tab))
Star Trek seasons 1-3: Several Trek series, including the original flagship and Voyager, are heading over to Paramount Plus. (Leaves Netflix Sept. 30 (opens in new tab))
Taken: Liam Neeson is taking his very particular set of skills elsewhere (Leaves Hulu Sept. 30 (opens in new tab)).
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