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The Forbidden Kingdom

A movie by Rob Minkoff

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  • Aug 25, 2008
Two of the biggest icons in 20th Century martial arts band together for the first time in a great adventure film. We are all familiar with Jet Li's work as being primarily serious and very intense, whereas Jackie Chan's movies tend to be more comical when using his style of Kung Fu. This film blends the two styles together brilliantly in a fun, moving and intense fantasy adventure film.

Relatively unknown actor Michael Angarano plays Jason Tripitikas, a martial arts fanatic who, one day while making another regular visit to Lu Yan's Pawn shop discovers a legendary staff previously owned by the Sage and Warrior The Monkey King. That night Jason is forced into tricking the owner into letting in a group of robbers who shoot the elderly owner. Jason is told by the owner that he must take the staff and return it to its rightful owner, so he runs off with the staff in hand. On the roof he's dragged over the edge by an unseen force which transports him a few hundred years into ancient China.

Jason wakes up in ancient China completely bewildered by what just happened. He wakes up in a small village which is then attacked by Jade Warriors but is saved by the drunken immortal Lu Yan (Jackie Chan). Yan tells Jason the story of the staff and how it used to belong to the immortal Monkey King (Jet Li), but whilst in a battle with the Jade Warlord (Colin Chou) he's tricked into putting down his staff and is encased in a Jade prison. Managing to cast the staff away, a prophecy foretells that the staff will one day be returned to the King and the battle can be ended once and for all.

I have to be honest and say that this film isn't something we haven't seen before. It's simply a blend of the 20th and 21st century martial arts based movies, such as The Karate Kid and Crouching Tiger. Crouching Tiger in the choreography and style of the fight sequences, The Karate Kid in the way of geeky kid becomes a master at the martial arts. This type of thing could put a lot of people off, and to be honest I wouldn't blame them. Personally, the main appeal of this film is the fact that it stars both Jet Li and Jackie Chan.

Now Michael Angarano I think to some will just be a small time actor given a surprisingly big role. To many people including myself, he's simply an actor we've never heard of that kind of looks like Shia Labeouf. Although he's not really a big name movie actor, he certainly delivered in this role and it should lead to much bigger things for the 21 year old. Chan as always is great in his fighting sequences and his general comic role, this time as the loveable, yet skilful drunk. Li is as always quite the serious character, but at times breaking his own cliché and actually becoming quite fun.

The fight sequences, especially the one pitting Chan against Li is something to be experienced and the skill of the two is just astounding. It's genuinely hard to believe that, Jet Li at 45 and Chan at 54 can still pull off some of the amazing moves that they did at the start of their careers. It's by no means a bad movie, but it's one only for those that are fans of both Li's and Chan's previous work. I wouldn't say it's quite suitable for the whole family as there is quite a big of graphic violence in it. That being said, as long as a responsible parent is making the decision, then I have no doubt this can be enjoyed by the whole family anyway.

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More The Forbidden Kingdom reviews
review by . December 06, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
A kid who's into martial arts movies becomes the unlikely protagonist of an epic struggle between good and evil in ancient China. When the aging owner of his favorite pawn shop is shot by local toughs, he entrusts Jason with returning an ancient staff to its rightful owner. It turns out Jason can't do that without passing into another world, where the ruthless ambition of the Jade Warlord threatens to overthrow a peaceful empire. When he gets there he's way out of his league, and finds help only …
review by . March 21, 2009
Ni Bing Bing
Jet Li and Jackie Chan: two of Hong Kong's most renowned superstars. Who would win in a fight? Who's faster and more agile? This question has been in every Martial Arts fans' mind and this project has been a long time in the making, Asian film fans have all but given up on the idea after the little melee in 1995 called "High Risk" wherein Li would play a bodyguard to Chan. It was said that Chan turned down the project because of his character's lack of creative depth, while someone I know who worked …
review by . April 09, 2009
The Forbidden Kingdom is a story about a martial arts movie fan who is taken away to ancient China to return a staff belonging to the Monkey King. It's a very nice story. The movie has lots of action and very well choreographed fight sequences. Starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li, this is a very well done movie with a story which will appeal even to those who aren't martial art movie fans.
review by . November 15, 2008
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. Jason is a Kung Fu movie fan   2. An encounter with an elderly Chinese storekeeper leads to a quest and a golden staff belonging to the Monkey King   3. A fall leads to a trip (or vice versa)   4. He wakes up in ancient China   5. Evil henchmen of the Jade Warlord cause staff problems   6. Drunken Immortal (Jackie Chan) takes over Karate Kid portion of movie   7. The henchmen …
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Steven Stewart ()
Ranked #47
Currently studying Law at University, my main interests revolve around Politics. I read quite a lot and love learning about History. Not just the history of a specific time, place and person, but I'm … more
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Getting martial-arts superstars Jet Li and Jackie Chan together in the same action film is like a fantasy come true, even ifThe Forbidden Kingdomis more of a children's movie than an instant kung-fu classic. Yes, Li and Chan square off in a lengthy, acrobatic fight scene that is a lot of fun, though it can't be what such a scene might have been even a decade ago: careful editing now compensates for the 54-year-old Chan's slower moves and reflexes. Still, Chan doesn't disappoint as Lu Yan, a drunken immortal in ancient China who mentors a modern-day American kid, Jason (Michael Angarano), the latter having slipped into the past while in possession of a magical staff that belongs to the imprisoned Monkey King (Li). In order to get back to his own time and help an old friend (also Chan) wounded by thugs, Jason accompanies Lu Yan and a lovely warrior, Golden Sparrow (Liu Yifei), on a journey to return the staff. Along the way, a (mostly) silent monk (Li, again), who has spent his life in search of the staff, joins their mission. He helps Lu Yan train Jason in fighting and adding more muscle to the party as it comes under siege from a violent witch (Li Bing Bing) and pathological warlord (Collin Chou). Screenwriter John Fusco(Hidalgo)and director Rob Minkoff(The Haunted Mansion)have made a slightly chintzy, Western version of a Chinese swords-and-sorcery tale. The gravity-defying, flying-through-the-air-while-fighting choreography looks pretty choppy and ...
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Director: Rob Minkoff
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: April 18, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: John Fusco
DVD Release Date: September 9, 2008
Runtime: 1hr 45min
Studio: Lions Gate
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