The only con is that the viewing I attended was a bit rough around the edges, with a couple of minor bobbles in editing and film quality. No matter how many people there are or how big the stage is, every single voice, sound effect, and chord of music come through clear and sharp. Fan reaction and feedback was so negative to this reveal that a new trailer was hastily edited that focused only on Jet Li and Jackie Chan's interactions, with no mentions of Michael Angarano, in the hopes that fans would not focus so negatively on the pair's supportive roles for the movie. It started out slow and it had me all confused when the main character was an American boy but it turns out that they had their own version of the tale. Jet Li plays his role marvelously, and the continuity of the various plot themes is fantastic. Pay especially close attention during any of the big battle sequences either one-on-one or group-versus-group. An American teenager who is obsessed with Hong Kong cinema and kung-fu classics makes an extraordinary discovery in a Chinatown pawnshop: the legendary stick weapon of the Chinese sage and warrior, the Monkey King.
Relative newcomer at the time of filming, Liu Yifei, as the Golden Sparrow, fulfills all of our expectation in a demanding role covering a range of subtle emotions as well as a smooth agility in martial arts. You have to give it to me, or somebody might get hurt. I personally really like the film alot. Knowing Jackie Chan and Jet Li were finally going to be going at it together on the big screen was an awesome feeling. Beautiful scenery, engrossing action, mysterious persons, subtle humor, wisdom, and growth of the various characters in the course of the film all contribute to the experience. The subtlety of the story and a few of the themes managed to get a little more empathy out of me.
On the downside, the fact that 75% of the movie is in English tends to detract the Chinese actors' performances a little, but I don't think the subtlety would've worked as well without it. The Forbidden Kingdom is really funny. It's pretty impressive that although it's fairly obvious that wires are being used in the fight scenes, it doesn't really take away from the action like it often tends to in American features, but actually enhances their intensity here. Pros include the acting and scenery, and the way language is dealt with. The cultural conflict from thrusting a boy from Boston into ancient China reflects the conflict between his kung-fu masters.
Early Chinese martial arts films followed the style of wu xia, in which the leading characters not only were experts at fighting, but also had magical skills. The Acting was good, especially by Jackie chan and Jet Li. Every nuance in the sound effects ranging from forest noise to wind blowing to water dropping is flawless. If it wasn't for the fight scenes and the great acting this would be one of the worst movies ever. He left early because of graphics and too many myths. Jackie chan and Jet Li still had their kung-fu in them and it was fun and amusing to watch.
Some people will object to Michael Angarano's character, they will say, the film doesn't need a white lead to keep the audience engaged. A mystical form of Daoist magic allowed them to fly short distances and perform other skills that go beyond any natural abilities. But my favorite scene is the fight between Jackie and Jet. That is true, but Angarano plays the role well and the character adds substance to the story. But for what it is, I still think it makes for a great kind of escapism compared to another particular movie. Image detail is also excellent showing a lot of the fine textures and facial features in the backgrounds, costumes, and actors. If you like kung fu, you should like this film.
With the lost relic in hand, the teenager unexpectedly finds himself traveling back to ancient China to join a crew of warriors from martial arts lore on a dangerous quest to free the imprisoned Monkey King. This layering of themes works well. Outstanding effort by the people at Lionsgate. Not high art, but enjoyable Movie - 4. I got to see a preview of this movie and I consider my self very lucky.
It does an excellent job of blending East and West and makes for a very fun adventure movie. Contrast is fine, and overall image quality rarely falters throughout the film's run. One of my favorite movies so I wanted to own a physical copy so I can play it anytime. My preconceived notion of a white protagonist in an essentially all-Chinese cast got the best of my bias leading to me to believe it could've been better. Black levels have a nice inky quality to them as well and help in balancing out a lot of the subtle colors in the set design. But Tarantino is nowhere in sight. An absorbing adventure, based on Chinese mythology, that keeps you glued to the scene for its entire length.