Movie of the Day – The Forbidden Kingdom
April 16, 2012 Leave a comment
I will admit, this is pretty much the Americanized version of kung fu films. This is the sort of movie for the kung fu addled teens whose parents wouldn’t let them rent some of the Shaw Brothers film from the rundown video rental store on the corner of the street. The Forbidden Kingdom is a wide reaching film for the masses, rather than the specific movie that kung fu enthusiasts had hoped for. To be honest, there is only one reason that you need to see this movie, actually two reasons to see this movie. Jet Li and Jackie Chan on screen together for the first time in their careers. Glorious!!!
Legendary martial arts stars Jackie Chan and Jet Li come together onscreen for the first time ever in director Rob Minkoff‘s time-traveling take on the Monkey King fable that finds an American teen transported back to ancient China after wandering into a pawn shop and discovering the king’s fighting stick. Once there, the adventurous teen joins an army of fierce warriors who have sworn to free their imprisoned king at all costs. In addition to appearing as the mythical Monkey King, Li assumes the role of a silent monk, and Chan appears in the role of kung fu master Lu Yan. Famed action choreographer Yuen Woo Ping presides over the fight sequences. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
The Forbidden Kingdom is a good film, but a bit watered down for my tastes in martial arts epics. There is a lot of filler in this movie with overt storytelling that doesn’t really go very far, even though they are taking roots of Chinese stories from Journey to the West and snippets of The Monkey King. It is kind of a shame that some of the rich story of the sources were a bit squandered, but they did make up for by bringing us the pièce de résistance.
For decades, kung fu fans have followed the careers of Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Two incredible styles of kung fu and showmanship, Li with an almost surgical precision to his style of fighting and Chan who’s off the wall, free flowing style makes his combat unpredictable. Pair these two up with the ultimate master of fight choreography, Yuen Woo-ping, and you have one of the best and most memorable fight scenes that sated that salivating masses of kung fu purists. Seeing these two trade blows and styles was worth the price of admission. It’s like watching artists paint a masterpiece in front of your eyes and it is the best part of the movie.
Here is the clip of their magic:
Overall the film is entertaining, even if for a heavily Americanized version of the Wuxia films. It is a grand looking film, with gorgeous vistas and sets, along with a big emphasis on costumes. Seems that the costume department went a bit haywire with their outfit choices. It doesn’t diminish the film as I think the problem lies with the filler of too much story. Trimming it down and condensing the sweeping story would have made it a lot better and keeping the pace of action would have made this a perfect. Still, it hit my kung fu button to the max as it brought together some of the greats in their first film ever.
*images via RottenTomatoes