Saturday, September 13, 2008


The Forbidden Kingdom (Chinese: 功夫之王) is a 2008 Hollywood martial arts-adventure film from Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company directed by Rob Minkoff. It is the first film to star together two of the best-known names in the martial arts film genre, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. The action sequences were choreographed by Yuen Woo-ping.

This time-traveling take on the Monkey King fable finds an American teen transported back to ancient China after wandering into a pawn shop and discovering the king's fighting stick. Once there, the adventurous teen joins an army of fierce warriors who have sworn to free their imprisoned king at all costs. In addition to appearing as the mythical Monkey King, Li assumes the role of a silent monk, and Chan appears in the role of kung fu master Lu Yan.

I am always down for a movie that stars Chan that isn't called The Tuxedo, but for a movie that stars Chan and Li both fighting together, is not something that can be missed. Although, The Forbidden Kingdom is no Hero, House of Flying Daggers or Crouching Tiger, it is still a nice piece of work that stars two of the biggest kung fu guys in the game.

I have always enjoyed Chan, when he was at his best with Rumble In The Bronx to even Rush Hour 3. With The Forbidden Kingdom he kind of returns to his roots starring in a good cheesy kung fu movie with the only difference being that he gets a little help from special effects. Everyone has to come to grips now with the fact that Chan is just too old to do his own stunts anymore and computer effects have to help him out a bit. Even Buster Keaton had to stop doing all those crazy types of stunts at some point. I also enjoyed Li as the Monkey King, who I think is not as good as Chan kung fu wise, but is better at delivering English language lines. You would think Chan would be a little bit better at his English after all these years but he is still about the same.

Neither Chan or Li are the stars of The Forbidden Kingdom however. That role goes to Michael Angarano who does a good job at basically playing the same role that the kid in The Neverending Story had, as the two movies are mostly identical, right down to the bullies and the old man in the shop. Forbidden Kingdom has some nice kung fu thanks to Woo-ping, even though some fight scenes start to look the same and some computer effects are noticeable. David Buckley supplies some great music to go with the fight scenes and director Rob Minkoff does a fine job.

The Forbidden Kingdom is not a must see film for it's kung fu scenes. If it was ranked on a list with other movies as far as that goes it would be on the bottom. But it is a must see for fans of Chan or Li or both. The Forbidden Kingdom is a throwback to those cheesy kung fu movies of the past, updated with a few computer effects and our favorite kung fu guys not as quick as they once were, wrinkles and all.


The DVD features deleted scenes; audio commentary; a behind-the-scenes featurette; a making-of featurette; cast and crew interviews and bloopers.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Li was classically trained and a national champion; Chan was trained in a local drama academy learning singing dancing and kungfu. Li represents the highest standard national standard in kungfu.