April 23, 2008

The Forbidden Kingdom

Over the weekend I watched The Forbidden Kingdom, the first martial arts film to star both Jet Li and Jackie Chan. This pairing of legends is just part of what makes this a great movie.

For anyone who's seen older martial arts films (say, stuff from the 70s), this will bring back fond memories. The quality is far superior to those older films. It's more in line with modern classics such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (though this film doesn't drag on as that one did), House of Flying Daggers and Hero.

What's a bit different about this film is that, while it does feature plenty of gravity-defying stunts (or, as my father puts it, "People flying around"), it also includes a lot of Chinese mythology. The plot revolves around Monkey King, plus we get to see the Jade (Celestial) Emperor.

Even more impressive, Taoism also has a solid part of this movie, some of the key teachings being used during the young American's training. And not just simply quoted, as these things usually are, but very deftly demonstrated or explained.

Yes, I did mention a young American kid who's the chief hero of the film. It's his journey and transformation that we follow. As is typical, just about everyone in the movie speaks english, though this is well handled.


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