Movie Review: The Forbidden Kingdom

Mood: Gobsmacked

After a horrific start to Tuesday last week (see entry below), I was definitely keen to be taken away from my freezing soggy apartment. Having spent the day indoors sitting near a very loud noisy fan, where the temperature inside was colder than outside, I needed to get away.

J and I had agreed that I should stay at his house on Tuesday night. As is the tradition, Tight Arse Tuesday gave us a chance to see another movie on or off the list. I left J to choose the movie, as I wasn’t able to think or see straight by the time I arrived at his house.

The choice was The Forbidden Kingdom. The synopsis is below.

In "Forbidden Kingdom," American teenager Jason (Michael Angarano), who is obsessed with Hong Kong cinema and kung fu classics, finds an antique Chinese staff in a pawn shop: the legendary stick weapon of the Chinese sage and warrior, the Monkey King (Jet Li). With the lost relic in hand, Jason unexpectedly finds himself transported back to ancient China.

There, he meets the drunken kung fu master, Lu Yan (Jackie Chan); an enigmatic and skilful Silent Monk (Jet Li); and a vengeance-bent kung fu beauty, Golden Sparrow (Crystal Liu Yi Fei), who lead him on his quest to return the staff to its rightful owner, the Monkey King – imprisoned in stone by the evil Jade Warlord (Collin Chou) for five hundred years. Along the way, while attempting to outmanoeuvre scores of Jade Warriors, Cult Killers and the deadly White Hair Demoness, Ni Chang (Li Bing Bing), Jason learns about honour, loyalty and friendship, and the true meaning of kung fu, and thus frees himself.

Let me start by saying that I’m a fan of Jackie Chan and Jet Li. I think they are both fun actors with awesome martial arts skills, although they are definitely better actors when they are speaking their mother tongues.

I also like martial arts movies. Some of my all time favourite movies involve martial arts – The Karate Kid, The Karate Kid Part II, The Karate Kid Part III … you get the drift.

But, I haven’t always been a fan of Monkey Magic. Matter of fact, I can honestly say that I’m not a fan, as I was never exposed to the cult classic TV series as a child.

I found it very difficult to engage with the storyline. The movie was said to be inspired by the novel on which Monkey Magic was based, mixed with a healthy dash of what we loved most about The Karate Kid – a young man learning about honour, loyalty and friendship and the true meaning of karate. I certainly liked the Wax On Wax Off stuff, but the Monkey Magic thing kind of went over the top of my head.

In the end, I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure if I’d be rushing to recommend the movie to others. The fight scenes were great, and there were some funny lines between Jet Li and Jackie Chan. Crystal Liu Yi Fei was stunning on screen – very gorgeous girl to look at. Collin Chou and Bing Bing Li had just the right amount of evilness about them without being too cheesy and OTT. And the scenery was amazing as well.

Rating:

Continuing the Six Degrees games, there are zero direct links between Hancock and Forbidden Kingdom – no surprises there – I thought it would be difficult to make a direct link based on the actors’ appearances in movies alone. However, if we were to bend the rules a little bit, there is 1 direct but tenuous link:

1. Will Smith (I) was a guest presenter at the 68th Annual Academy Awards (1996), where Jackie Chan also presented an award.

And Bacon numbers:

Jet Li has a Bacon number of 2.
* Jet Li was in Cradle 2 the Grave (2003) with Kelly Hu.
* Kelly Hu was in Air I Breathe, The (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Jackie Chan has a Bacon number of 2.
* Jackie Chan was in Around the World in 80 Days (2004) with Luke Wilson (I).
* Luke Wilson (I) was in My Dog Skip (2000) with Kevin Bacon.

Michael Angarano has a Bacon number of 2.
* Michael Angarano was in Man in the Chair (2007) with Kuma (II).
* Kuma (II) was in Saving Angelo (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Collin Chou has a Bacon number of 2.
* Collin Chou was in Matrix Reloaded, The (2003) with Leigh Whannell.
* Leigh Whannell was in Death Sentence (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Yifei Liu has a Bacon number of 3.
* Yifei Liu was in Forbidden Kingdom, The (2008) with Michael Angarano.
* Michael Angarano was in Man in the Chair (2007) with Kuma (II).
* Kuma (II) was in Saving Angelo (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Bingbing Li has a Bacon number of 2.
* Bingbing Li was in Maang lung (2005) with Maggie Q.
* Maggie Q was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

From this little detour from the big blockbusters, the next movie we took in was The Dark Knight, arguably the MUST-SEE movie of 2008. Stay tuned for the review.

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One response to “Movie Review: The Forbidden Kingdom

  1. You know, i was about to take you to task for not knowing Journey To The West, but then i remembered that i am a geek who has a masters degree in this stuff

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