I had a chance to see The Forbidden Kingdom yesterday. And it’s kind of a mixed bag for me I’m afraid — sort of The Karate Kid meets House of Flying Daggers. Not that it didn’t have its moments and not that it didn’t keep me entertained, but I can see now why it was getting mixed reviews from the various early screenings it had.
Here‘s the IMDB link.
What’s cool is that you get to see both Jackie Chan and Jet Li do some amazing martial arts sequences. If you like cool fight sequences (at least between Chan & Li), then this is a good movie for you. Some of the other fight scenes with Michael Angarano (who played Jason Tripitkas, the Seeker in this film and I last saw him in Sky High) left a bit to be desired. I think he gave it his all, but one towards the end fell flat for me.
That said, Yifei Liu as Golden Sparrow was a joy to watch. Not sure what it was about her, but she was the bright spot in the film next to Chan and Li.
Compared to Curse of the Golden Flower (the last martial arts movie I reviewed), the plot in this one was pretty weak. But some of the fight choreography was excellent (especially as I said, between Jet Li & Jackie Chan). Cinematography-wise, there were a couple of questionable cuts — one rather abrupt transition made me flinch. And though it was pretty scenery-wise in some places, it didn’t even come close to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, or House of Flying Daggers, or Hero. Those seem to be in no danger of being knocked off my top 3 recent favorites for martial arts movies.
What did I like? There was some fun poked at wire-fu movies for sure in places. And there were some very humorous parts where all the guys in the audience said “ow!” when poor Angarano had to do the splits. The more touching parts of the movie were when Angarano and Liu interacted. And the best fight scenes were all with Jet Li & Jackie Chan together.
So though I enjoyed this movie, I definitely don’t need to see it in the theater again. I will probably watch it with my wife and girls on DVD, since they were also intrigued by it from the trailers. But I can’t say this is going to the top of my list of movies to buy.
I’ll give it a 2.5 out of 4. I enjoyed it, but there were definite flaws in the movie IMHO. Worth seeing? Not sure — I’ll recommend that folks rent it rather than see it in the theater.
Until next time!