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 graceless compared to, say, the martial arts films of Zhang Yimou. ButThe Forbidden Kingdomis really aimed at kids, not aficionados of epic fight movies. On that score, the movie aims to please and does so for the right audience. --Tom Keogh
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 … more
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 … more
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.
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 … more
One of the most famous myths out of Asia is that of the Monkey King. Found in all countries with a Buddhist tradition, this very long novel has never (to my knowledge) been translated into an English language Hollywood production... until now. Fortunately, the producers cast the world's two most famous martial arts actors, Jet Li and Jackie Chan, to star in it. Having read the Monkey King story, I can say that this movie only loosely follows the original legend. However, it has not been romanticized … more
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 … more