Jet Li has made some really remarkable films and it is sad to say that Tai Chi Master is not one of them. It’s silly, pretentious, and utterly appalling.
Junbao (Jet Li) and Chin Bo (Siu-hou Chin) have grown up together teaching each other masterful techniques deadly to their opponents. But after they both get kicked out of the Shaolin temple, Chin Bo betrays Junbao for money from the government of China and becomes a ruthless killer.
I am in complete awe at how bad this movie really is. Before getting to anything worthwhile, poorly rendered subtitles rapidly flood the screen in a manner so fast any average person would have to pause the DVD to read them, and three prolonged fight sequences of ridiculous kung fu antics will have eyeballs rolling. It becomes very frustrating within a few minutes. Tai Chi Master is the worst Dragon Dynasty picture I have seen, the worst Jet Li movie I have ever seen, and a top contender for the worst kung fu movie I have ever seen.
Having complete respect for Jet Li’s remarkable talent, this film avoids exploiting them in a manner that is agreeable to some extent. Instead, Director Woo-Ping Yuen creates some of the most unintentionally funny and outrageously stupid moments in the history of kung fu cinema. This is a film that begins idiotic, becomes moronic halfway through, and ends up being preposterous in the finale.
It’s incredible to be able to have such coordination to execute some of these antics and I admire that. However the film is never beautiful, rarely enjoyable, and constantly frustrating. The whole DVD is a mess. The subtitles are too fast to read and if you listen to the dubbed version of the film, the characters say something completely different from the subtitles. I just don’t get it.
I was expecting something similar to Iron Monkey or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. This is nowhere near as good-looking nor is it anywhere near as astonishing as those films. It irks me that Jet Li agreed to make such a sloppy film.
It’s nearly unwatchable, thanks to the rapid fire of incoherent subtitles and the torrent of stupidness that makes up the entire movie. It is best to save your money and keep your distance from this messy, poorly structured DVD. 1/5 stars