May 26, 2008

The Battle For Eternity Is The Fantasy Of A Lifetime

Posted in Action, Adventure, Family-Oriented, Fantasy, Movies at 7:27 pm by inflickted

The Forbidden kingdom

When I first saw the poster for a movie, my jaw dropped. Jackie Chan AND Jet Li, in one movie?! KEWL! Two of Asia’s biggest stars finally working together in one project! Just think of all that martial arts goodness! Plus, the poster wasn’t too bad! The billing for Jackie Chan and Jet Li’s names was cool. Jackie Chan’s name was written horizontally and Jet Li’s was written vertically across Chan’s, which was a smart in order to avoid any who-is-the-bigger-star issues.

The tandem idea, though a little late in the game (you gotta admit, Chan and Li is past their prime), is a welcome addition to the world of martial arts films. The problem is, the story isn’t really about them. When you see the poster, you get the impression that they ARE the main characters. But they’re not. Despite this fact, the movie, “The Forbidden Kingdom” promises to be full of action and entertainment.

“The Forbidden Kingdom” is a lighthearted film about finding who you are and your personal strength, both in heart and body. The main hero, Jason Tripitikas is played by Michael Angarano (Sky High). Jackie Chan plays the drunken master and Jet Li is the silent monk. Other characters are the Jade Warlord (played by Collin Chou), Ni Chang (Li Bingbing) the antagonist, and Golden Sparrow (Liu Yifei) which is Jason’s love interest.

All in all (other than some difficulty in understanding Chan and Li), the actors were good and effective. They completed the whole Asian fantasy ambience of the movie. Being a big budget film, the sets were beautiful and cinematography was indispensable especially in fight scenes where things can get crazy. The movie also had a lot of funny scenes (especially around Jackie Chan) without going overboard into a parody of grandiose Asian fantasy films. Fight scenes are also abundant and well executed. This is so difficult, I’m totally scrapping the barrel for the good points about the movie, but this is all I can come up with.

Let’s talk about where the movie went wrong. The screenplay itself was dull! There was no real character development. Try as they might to create a back story for Jason, the movie utterly fails to connect. I expected more for the Chan/Li combination. There are so few actual plot developments in “The Forbidden Kingdom” that I often found myself struggling to pay attention as the film meandered forward. I also didn’t feel the urgency and the momentum of the story. It all seemed aloofly moving to a sudden end in the story.

As for the action scenes, they unfortunately, failed to impress. Yup. After much hype and anticipation over the long overdue tandem, their fight scene is so average and not at all exciting. I understand the two action stars can no longer be as agile or as daring as they once was but, the problem is that the fight scenes are so pumped with CGI that all the fun is sucked out. Jackie Chan and Jet Li should BE the special effects! I don’t want to see a bad guy fight a freaking staff without the star!

The only saving grace I can find for the movie is the fact that it will be remembered as the film which united two of our favorite martial arts superstars. Another is if we will look at the movie as an introduction for youngsters or those who are not particularly fond of martial arts films. Unfortunately, I can help but see this movie as a means to cash on a long awaited team up and fail to deliver on the hype.

It gets an overhyped 2.1 out of 5 or 42% infectious


1 Comment »

  1. paolo said,

    like hollywood actors on a pinoy movie… that’s how it feels. and since you brought up that jackie and jet are speeding past their prime, i wonder who’d be the next bunch of actors to take their place

    and i hope it’s not the koreans!

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