Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Movie Review: The Forbidden Kingdom

Movie Title: The Forbidden Kingdom
Starring: Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michael Angarano and Collin Chou
Genre: Action/Adventure/Martial Arts/Fantasy
Directed by: Rob Minkoff
My Rating: 7/10

I haven't blogged for a while. There weren't too many great movies over the harshly cold winter, and I just lost touch. I might start posting reviews of movies I watched on Netflix here.

The Forbidden Kingdom is a movie that had a lot of potential to be great. Too much star power, too much hype, weak script and lame direction made it just the opposite.

Michael Angarano plays a bully-magnet teen in south Boston who is a big fan of Martial Art movies (like yours truly). One evening while escaping from bullies with a Chinese staff in his hand he jumps of a building. Before he reaches the ground time travels to China in the past where magic and immortality supposedly existed. His mission is to return the staff to the statued Monkey King (Jet Li) with the help of an old drunk (Jackie Chan) and a monk (Li, again). Jackie Chan could totally do without playing a drunk martial artist here. I am a big fan of the Drunken Master movies but here it just didn't fit. He did stay comical and fought well, nonetheless. Surprisingly, Jet Li cracked a few jokes himself, a rarity.

Even the work of legendary kung-fu choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping (Once Upon a Time in China, Crouching Tiger, Matrix, Kill Bill) in this movie couldn't be put to justice. There was way too much string-held jumping/flying, unnecessary magic and cliches that ruined the movie. I still enjoyed it just a bit only because of the few fight scenes. I think I'm going to add more Bruce Lee and Sonny Chiba movies to my Netflix just to make up for watching this movie. I'm sure Jet Li and Jackie Chan made good money, but I hope their agent finds them better movies with more seasoned directors.

For those who don't know, the villain in this movie is played my Collin Chou - same guy who played Seraph in the Matrix sequels. Good fighter too, also in need of good representation in Hollywood.

Teenage kids would appreciate this movie. I prefer the old Chinese movies with subtitles and fewer jumper strings. 7/10.

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