Monday, April 21, 2008

Forbidden Kingdom wasn't what I expected it to be

forbidden kingdom(The image is hi-res. Click for full size)

To put it bluntly, I thought that the movie sucked. The story, at least, because the fight scenes were cool and awesome even if they did use the type of fight scenes you'd normally see on some cheesy old Hong Kong films (with the flying stunts and all). Of course, I'm not generalizing since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon did those kinds of stunts too - artistically, though.

Anyway, Forbidden Kingdom is about an American guy named Jason (Michael Angarano) who finds a staff in some pawnshop in Chinatown. The owner of the shop asks him to deliver the staff to its owner and blah blah he suddenly wakes up to find himself in ancient China - the Middle Kingdom, to be exact.

He meets a drunken master (Jackie Chan) named Lu Yan and his "assistant" Sparrow (Liu Yifei) who tells him the story behind the staff - that it belongs to the Monkey King (Jet Li) who was turned into stone by the Jade Warlord (Collin Chou). Jason needs to give the staff back to the Monkey King in order to end the horrific reign of the Jade Warlord.

Along the way, they come across a monk named Lan Cai He (Jet Li) who tries to steal the staff at first but becomes their friend thereafter. I don't think you'd want me to tell you the rest of the story here, right? So I'll stop with the spoilers here and move on to my ranting.

So I already mentioned that I didn't like the story but I don't think I mentioned why. I thought Forbidden Kingdom was a bit too...Hollywood. I mean, movies about the Monkey King were done in the 70s. Aside from the upcoming Dragon Ball movie, I don't think I've heard of any Monkey King movie that has been highly anticipated as Forbidden Kingdom.

My guess is that a large part of the anticipation comes from the fact that it's Jet Li and Jackie Chan's first movie together -- and seeing them fight is epic. Yeah well, the fight scenes were awesome indeed, but I've definitely seen better (from their individual movies too). Some of the lines and scenes were funny and amusing so I guess that's an upside to it, right?

Did I mention how ugly the guy who played Jason is? And how pretty Sparrow is? Well the Witch is pretty too - I think a lot of people who have seen pictures of her (or the movie itself) will agree with me.

I'm not discouraging anyone from watching Forbidden Kingdom. What has been written here are just some opinions of a kung fu and martial art movie fan. These are rants of a Jet Li fan. Go ahead and watch Forbidden Kingdom then go back here and tell me what you think about it, okay? :)