The Forbidden Kingdom
Movie Stats & Links
||Jackie Chan, Jet
Li, Michael Angarano, Liu Yifei
stabbings that are too intense for the little ones.
||If she is your
wife and you are bringing your ten year old son.
||There isn't any
blood, but there is a lot of kung-fu fighting and some
people getting stabbed.
||I actually liked
the funnier moments of the film.
||When Lu and Monk
were trying to decide who should train Jason. And, oh
yea, Jet Li peeing on Jackie Chan.
I still havenít decided what rating to give to "The
Forbidden Kingdom," nor how to really start the opening of
this review, so I suppose Iíll just start writing about the
story of the movie and see where it leads me. Letís goÖ
The Forbidden Kingdom
A Movie Review
"The Forbidden Kingdom" gives us Jackie Chan and Jet Li
performing for the first time in a movie together, and
surprisingly, neither of them are technically the main
character. Nope, the main character in this film is Jason
(Michael Angarano). In a role reminiscent of Danny Larusso
from "The Karate Kid" series, Jason is sort of an outcast,
obsessed with kung-fu movies, scoring most of his DVDís from
a local Chinatown merchant, Old Hop (Jackie Chan), and when
Jason sees an ancient, magic, fighting stick/staff thing,
Hop tells of some history of the staff. As the outcast, of
course, Jason wishes he could fight like his movie heroes,
but when confronted by a bunch of bullies straight out of
set from something like "West Side Story," Jason finds
himself in a bad spot. Now having to save the magic staff he
finds himself in an even weirder spot, in the land of The
Forbidden Kingdom where legend tells of a seeker dude who
will return the magic staff to the Monkey King (Jet Li) so
that peace can return to the land, and little did I know,
but the Monkey King tale is actually a Chinese legend.
So Jason is in a strange land, gets befriended by Lu Yan
(also Jackie Chan), a drunken kung-fu master, who tells
Jason the full tale of the Monkey King, and Lu knows what
must be done - that Jason is the one destined to get the
staff back to Monkey King. The problem is that Jason is
pretty much a wimp, has no fighting skills, somehow makes it
out alive from the restaurant thanks to an additional assist
by Golden Sparrow (Liu Yifei), and now our trio is off on
their quest, with Lu beginning Jasonís training, but instead
of waxing cars or painting fences, like in "The Karate Kid,"
Jason is relegated to chopping down weeds. But things arenít
that simple because now along comes Monk (also Jet Li) who
steals the magic staff from Jason, and itís up to Lu to have
a big fight with Monk to get it back.
Turns out Monk is one of the good guys, also trying to
make sure the magic staff gets returned properly, so now the
competition comes as to who should train Jason to become a
great fighter (a very funny scene), a climactic fight scene
is to come in the end, and most everyone lives happily ever
I guess the problem I had with "The Forbidden Kingdom" is
that the movie was all over the place, not seeming to know
whether it wanted to set itself up as a comedy/buddy movie,
stay as a serious martial arts-style film with fantastic
fight scenes, or for that matter, keep things from being too
violent so it would be exciting for the kids (sadly the
movie has a few too many stabbings for me to recommend you
bring the younger ones, even though the kids would probably
love the Monkey King character). The thing is, I actually
liked the comedy aspects of the movie more than when it
attempted to be serious. I know that might take away from
the aspects of paying homage to Chinese legends or kung-fu
film classics, but "The Forbidden Kingdom" almost came close
to a movie I could recommend for the younger kids, even in
the 6 to 8 year old range. I do know that a boy behind me in
the theater, who was about 10 years old, loved the film, but
the parents also brought his younger brother, and the movie
proved a little too intense for him.
It was good to see Jackie Chan and Jet Li in a movie
together, and when they were in comedy mode they were really
good, and it goes beyond saying that their fight scene was
great. Michael Angarano was good enough in his role as the
loser who becomes a kung-fu fighter, and even though I
thought Liu Yifei was good as the love interest, her
"revenge" story-line almost seemed forced and unnecessary,
at least for me.
So here we go: The ten year old loved it, Iíd say rating
it about 4 Ĺ stars, while I wanted to like it more and give
it 2 Ĺ stars. Iíll average them together and give "The
Forbidden Kingdom" 3 Ĺ stars out of 5. If you need a movie
to see with your 10+ year olds, especially the boys, Iíd say
"The Forbidden Kingdom" isnít that bad.
Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!!