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The Forbidden Kingdom

A movie by Rob Minkoff

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Kung fu for kids - think "Neverending Story" meets "Drunken Master" and "The Bride with the White Hair"

  • Dec 6, 2009
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 in the guise of a drunken warrior (Jackie Chan) and a pacifist priest (Jet Li), and of course, a beautiful young woman of his own age on a revenge quest. It's the classic tale of a reluctant hero, entering into a fantasy world and discovering in himself the confidence and skills needed to face up to his problems in the real world. It's a westernized version, for kids, of the classic wuxia film, with larger than life heroes fighting in ways that defy gravity and the other basic laws physics, but look pretty impressive. It's a nice introduction to the martial arts film for young people, and I found it surprisingly enjoyable. Consider it the next step for kids who like martial arts and action films but who are a bit too old for Kung Fu Panda. It's an intriguing update, for this generation, of eighties films like The Neverending Story.

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More The Forbidden Kingdom reviews
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 …
review by . August 25, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
About the reviewer
Nathan Andersen ()
Ranked #28
I teach philosophy at Eckerd College, in Saint Petersburg, Florida.      I run an award-winning International Cinema series in Tampa Bay (, and am co-director of … 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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