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Forbidden Kingdom review
Last Post 5/8/2008 11:30 AM by Skaramine. 1 Replies.
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5/7/2008 7:49 PM
    I’ve been a fan of Jackie Chan since the very early 90’s. I was first introduced to his movies while I lived in the Philippines. Before that, I never had really heard of him before, even though I had seen two movies he had been in. Cannonball Run and the Protector.
    When I finally did see some of his Hong Kong action flicks, I was hooked. Even to this day, despite some less than stellar films he’s done, I’m still a fan of his.
    It was also at that time in my life that I discovered Chow Young Fat and Jet Li. I wasn’t quite the fan of either of these actors (although I loved Hard Boiled), but I would watch the films they made.
    Since that point in my life, I’ve followed both of these actors as well, watching pretty much every film they make.
    So, when I heard that Jet Li and Jackie Chan were making a movie together, I was, as you can imagine, quite pleased to hear it. Two of my three favourite Hong Kong actors working together.
    For fans of both, it seems like the perfect movie.
    Was it though? That’s the big question.
    Ok, basic plot of the movie – young American kid who loves Hong Kong martial arts epics mysteriously finds himself transported back in time to ancient China, thanks to a mystical staff that an old Chinese pawn shop owner has been guarding for decades, waiting for the rightful owner to claim it.
    This young man finds himself hooking up with a Drunken Master (Chan, which considering how much fun his two Drunken Master movies were, it was a perfect role for him), and a Monk in search of a lost staff.
    Oh, and a beautiful young girl named Sparrow out for revenge.
    Throw in the mythical Monkey king, the Jade Emperor and the Jade Warlord and you have the makings of a mythical Chinese Epic.
    There, I won’t give away any more of the plot of the movie, as anyone who has seen the trailer for the film will discover, what I said here was made clear in said trailer.
    Now, the acting was average. Chan was his usual goofy self while Li was quiet and smiled a lot, although it looked like he was having a great deal of fun playing the Monkey King.
    I’d say that the story was pretty typical, one that any fan of Hong Kong Chinese martial arts may have had at one time – a fantasy of being one of these nigh unbeatable martial arts masters travelling across ancient China, fighting off evil masters and warlords.
    That’s what we’re talking about here – pure fantasy.
    A fantasy made for Americans by two of (dare I say it) Hong Kong’s biggest actors.
    Now, one thing that did set it aside from many of the past Martial Arts epics is the integration of modern special effects.
    You can make your actors do some pretty amazing things with the help of computers. And of course the typical magic you would see being performed in these old movies, well add a touch of today’s technological magic and it makes the movie all that much more enjoyable to watch.
    Visually anyhow, you can still have a movie filled with aweome special effects and it can still blow chunks.
    Still, I will say it was well done. For me, it was like many of the dozens upon dozens of old Hong Kong martial arts movies I’ve seen over past eighteen years. But it stars two (as I’ve stated several times already) of my favourite Hong Kong actors, and has modern special effects to gloss it up.
    So, it wasn’t great, but it certainly was worth my time to watch.
    I just hope that Chan and Li will continue to make movies together in the future, and here’s hoping that my fondest dream will come true… that Chow Young Fat will end up joining them for a film.
    Thing about it – Fat’s charisma, Chan’s comedic talent, and Li’s pure skill, you can hardly ask for a better mix.
    3.5 out of 5
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    5/8/2008 11:30 AM

    It's also interesting that both Li and Chan built substantial portions of their careers playing the same historical figure - Wong Fei, I believe - Li in the Once Upon a Time and Chan in the Drunken Master franchises.


    Two different styles of actors in two styles of movie, operating on the same legend.  It's good to see them actually working together and the dynamic of their interaction working well.

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