Worthwhile martial arts...
Jason Tripitikas (Michael Angarano) is a martial arts fan who enjoys
buying movies of old martial arts films for his viewing pleasure. Yet
one night while at the a pawn shop in China Town, Michael gets himself
caught up in a terrible situation not of his liking, and receives a
golden staff from the store's owner, Old Hop. With this staff, Michael
becomes magically transported to Ancient China, where he must deliver
the staff to its original owner. With the aid of Lu Yan (Jackie Chan),
Golden Sparrow (Liu Yi Fei) and the Silent Monk (Jet Li), Michael must
save Ancient China becoming fully ruled by the Jade Emperor (Collin
The story of The Forbidden Kingdom is a simple one which does not try
to convolute itself. It is thus a simple watch, but by no means is the
story unimportant into events which transpire. Yes, it does take a
backseat to the many martial arts sequences, but the story is vital,
even if for its moral message it presents. However while its simplicity
is nothing major, it does come across as somewhat frivolous when
compared to such titles as Hero and House of Flying Daggers, such as
The Chronicles of Narnia is to The Lord of the Rings. And the film
really shouldn't be so: it is evident by the film's conclusion that
there are elements which needed more emphasizing, such as the Jade
Warlord's aggression over his people, and the situation which occurs in
the real world, never gets the resolution it deserves. Still the story
fulfills its purpose by moving events along, and does prove to help
with the development of the characters with one another, and their own
emotion states. What the characterization doesn't do well is the growth
of the characters psychical abilities. For Michael, yes it is done as
expected but none of the other characters grow with their strengths or
learn as the film continues. It can be argued that Silent Monk and Lu
Yan do not need to, but that is one of the film's problems: they have
no apparent weakness in their fighting skills, and can demolish groups
of men with ease. As least with Michael his skills develop from
virtually none at all, to adequate enough to survive battle. It does
come as a pity that he doesn't get much of a role in the final battle.
Characters essentially become a problem for The Forbidden Kingdom. Even
though the Ja Warlord may have an army, it is pretty obvious early on
that have a problem trying to fight Lu Yan, let alone the remainder of
the group. So fair fighting must be equated to the main characters but
there are four heroes versus merely two villains. Also, the Jade
Emperor is not even the strongest of the six characters, something
revealed in a fight quite early in the story. Ultimately, the story
becomes somewhat predictable, and tension you might expect from the
film's later stages, is lost because there is no real challenge for the
protagonists to overcome.
However the fighting sequences, which are probably the sole reason for
99% of viewers went to watch the film, are completely amazing. The
fights are wonderfully choreographed and make for some exciting fights.
However some parts of a fight can at times seem a little too perfect
and not quite natural enough. Also, after the Jet Li/ Jackie Chan
fight, the remaining fights become somewhat formulaic and predictable.
Regardless this never stops the fights being engaging, with martial
arts action being even more intense than in The Matrix.
One notable aspect of the film is it use of music. The opening track
pretty much summarizes the films tone as being a light-hearted affair,
and the rest of the tracks keep their atmosphere similar. While the
music is very pleasing to the ears there were hardly any tracks that
were used to build tension. Coupled with the hero-villain ratio
problem, the film has this jarring effect of lacking suspense. And
while the soundtrack has its weak moments, they are not as evident as
the graphical component of the film. There are some lush environments,
spectacular costume design, but the CG fails to imitate the beauty of
the film as a whole, with some images being obviously forced into the
film's imagery. Such an example comes in the form of Ni-Chang's (Li
Bingbing) hair when it used as a weapon. It looked grated in the
trailers but when seen in its full reel, it looks shallow and the
The film contains no sex or nudity, but there are a few fully clad
women in a brothel. Language is left to a minimum, and action sequences
contain hardly any deaths and even less blood, however, the fighting
can become quite intense.
The Forbidden Kingdom is a wonderful film and will most probably
satisfy all martial arts fans. But this doesn't stop the film having a
complete lack of suspense in regards to ever important story, and it
feels far too immature to the likes of Hero and House of Flying
Daggers. If anything, The Forbidden Kingdom becomes a nice introduction
to these easily superior films, but it does have the very strong point
of utterly engaging martial arts. It is a film with loads of potential,
but maybe if done on another day, would have been able to realize it
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forbidden kingdom is an awsome movie inception is fantastic movie.
inception is gr8 movie with exilent script .
The Forbidden Kingdom - Great mix of action, comedy and a coming of age story.
The Forbidden Kingdom starts in a way that is similar to The Karate
Kid, with Jason (Michael Angarano), the boy new to his local high
school who loves kung fu movies, but is helpless to defend himself
against the neighborhood bullies. These same bullies force him to help
them into a pawn shop whose owner is shot but still passes on a
mysterious staff to Jason. The staff turns out to be that of the
legendary Monkey King and Jason is transported into ancient China where
he journeys to use the staff to free the imprisoned Monkey King. In the
end Jason must prove himself as he faces both fantastical and real life
Once in China Jason acquires several companions; Lu Yan (Jackie Chan) a
wine drinking kung fu master, Golden Sparrow (Yifei Liu) a vengeance
driven young women and later a monk (Jet Li) who protect him and later
train him in the art of kung fu. Together they journey to Five Elements
Mountain to attempt to free the Monkey King and end the reign of the
evil Jade Warlord (Collin Chou) who sends innumerable troops to stop
This movie works on many levels, none too deep, but very satisfying
none the less. First of all it is a great action movie with very well
done kung fu action scenes involving Jackie Chan and Jet Li, two of the
greatest kung fu movie stars in the past couple of decades. In the
midst of all of this is a great deal of fairly well done comedy,
sometimes not perfectly executed, but generally fun, especially during
the kung fu training of Jason. Last but not least this is a classic
coming of age story in which Jason journeys from being a boy who
fantasizes of adventure to a young man who can fight and suffer for
what is right.
This is a fantasy based movie, so expect some magical displays and
references to immortal beings, but this is not too heavily done so the
story is fairly easy to follow. Refreshingly the movie has relatively
little in the way of moral ambiguity, with villains that are really
evil and those who oppose them being flawed humans but still striving
to that which is right.
In regards to the appropriateness of the movie for varied audiences,
the violence in this PG-13 rated movie is never graphic, though
possibly disturbing for young children. There is no sexual content with
the exception of an implied impending assault by the Jade Warlord (we
see nothing actually happening here). I saw the movie in a
pre-screening with mostly college students whose applause and laughs
made it clear they enjoyed it, but I am quite a bit past college and
found it just as enjoyable.
One last comment, while virtually all of the dialogue between main
characters is in English, there is a fair amount of Mandarin Chinese
being spoken during the movie. In the few instances when knowing the
content of this is important there are English subtitles and I did not
find the un-translated portions to be an issue.
Overall this is a movie that is exciting, fun and generally very
satisfying to watch..