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The Forbidden Kingdom
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michael Angarano, Liu Yifei
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Lionsgate
Web Site:
Kiddie Movie: There's some stabbings that are too intense for the little ones.
Date Movie: If she is your wife and you are bringing your ten year old son.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: There isn't any blood, but there is a lot of kung-fu fighting and some people getting stabbed.
Action: See "Gratuitous Violence."
Laughs: I actually liked the funnier moments of the film.
Memorable Scene: When Lu and Monk were trying to decide who should train Jason.  And, oh yea, Jet Li peeing on Jackie Chan.
Memorable Quote: Nah.
Directed By: Rob Minkoff
Produced By: Casey Silver

The Forbidden Kingdom
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG-13

It's 1:53 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
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" 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 after.

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!! L8R!!!


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