Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Forbidden Kingdom

The Forbidden Kingdom. A new martial arts tale for American audiences, starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan! Together on screen for the first time ever! This alone should bring plenty of folks out to see it. On this Sunday matinee, it brought three of my friends(well, two really) and myself out to see it on the big screen.

First let me apologize to that third friend. They thought we were seeing another movie, due to a miscommunication. During the opening credits it dawned on me that they just realized we were seeing Forbidden Kingdom, and I was greatly amused but a bit contrite. There are three main elements to this movie : Jet Li, Jackie Chan, everything else. I'll address them separately.

First, Jet Li. As many of you know, I'm a huge Jet Li fanboy. I love love love him. He was great. Both as the Monkey King, and the seeker(Silent) monk. He projects his power well, and his Kung Fu is very strong, very strong indeed. I like how he talks, how he doesn't talk, and I love how he fights. If you're a Jet Li fan, you'll enjoy his performance.

Jackie Chan made me trepiditious about this movie. He hasn't been anything good in a long time. Longer then I can remember. He's so into making crappy comedy these days all of the elements of his work suffer. In the beginning of the movie when he's playing the old shopkeeper he was this old self. Bad Lines, bad delivery. He started to lose me. But, when we're in the 'other times', when Jackie reprises probably his most beloved role as the Drunken Master, all is well. He is genuinely funny, completely in character, and totally kick ass. Really good stuff.

The rest of the movie. Well, the story is fairly formulaic quest-movie stuff. While Sparrow is pretty, I don't know if any of the other characters in the movie will move you. The fact that the modern part is set in Boston is extremely laughable. Unbelievable even. It's almost not even comical it's so ridiculous. There is beautiful scenery throughout, and even though they're on the same side, and it's not the main showdown, we get a good dose of Li/Chan fighting. Enough to satisfy for sure. It felt like when we finally got to see Yoda fight, but in a longer scene.

If you're a fan of Martial Arts, or Jackie Chan, or Jet Li, see this movie. It's a lot of fun, and pretty cool. And if you know Jet Li, get me his email address. Thanks.

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