Jet Li and Jackie Chan star as The Silent Monk and Lu Yan in Director Rob Minkoff’s The Forbidden Kingdom. I could have sworn Jet Li said he wasn’t doing anymore martial arts movies, but maybe I’m insane. I have to say, it’s a good thing he did stay on the kick fast, punch hard train because I enjoyed this movie.
Jason Tripitiks, played by sorta newcomer Michael Angarano(24, Will and Grace) is a kid who’s in love with martial arts films. After being bullied into robbing the pawn shop where he gets his films, he’s transported to ancient China and finds himself on a mission to return the long lost legendary stick weapon of The Monkey King. He meets up with Lu Yan, a master of drunken fighting, who promises to train Jason to fight in order to complete his mission.
Did you get all that?
I was going to talk about the acting in this film, but that’s not really the point of these movies, is it? Li and Chan have done this kind of thing a hundred times and they know what they’re doing. Michael is loveable as Jason and that’s all that really needs to be said about that.
The nice thing about this movie is it’s fun. The entire cast has great chemistry and you can tell they’re having a good time. The fact they I could see how much they were enjoying themselves made me enjoy myself more. The script is actually funny, filled with the typical rivalry that comes when two masters try and teach the same student. I was impressed because it’s hard to write something as commonplace as that and still write jokes that are funny.
The fight sequences aren’t really anything spectacular if you’re familiar with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon style of fighting, (Yuen Wo Ping choreographed both films) but they’re still fairly impressive, and yes, Li and Chan do duel. The guys are fantastic athletes and martial artists. I continue to be impressed by them both.
The only real drawback in this movie is the CGI. What’s there is beautiful and well done, but there was so much of it that it became distracting.
So, if you’re looking for something light and fun, consider giving The Forbidden Kingdom a shot. It’s rated PG-13 for mild violence so it’s okay to take your kids, little brother or sister.