The Forbidden Kingdom, a martial arts action adventure starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan, was far better than I’d been expecting. Perhaps because I’d heard luke-warm reports about the movie, I never went to see it in the theater. I certainly regret that now.
You see, most of the time, people care about things like plot and character. Yeah, yeah, most of the time I care about those things too. But when you have Jackie Chan and Jet Li fighting each other, I couldn’t care less about anything else.
Oh, how I clapped with glee when Jackie busted out his trademark drunken style! When Jet Li sank into mantis and Jackie countered with tiger? My head almost exploded. Really. I don’t even care that there were wires. Not even old-school kung fu movie magic could disguise the mastery of those two artists. I wept at the beauty of Jackie Chan’s sweep kicks — spinning low, spinning low, then spinning high sweep to the face — Kapow!
And the weapons! The staff was the real star, but the poleaxe, sword, sleeve, whip, dart, and hair also played their part. In addition to drunken, mantis, and tiger, there were copious amounts of monkey kung fu, a dash of crane, and more styles than I could identify or name.
The Forbidden Kingdom is not destined to be a classic like either of my two favorites, Enter the Dragon and Fist of Legend, but it’s fun. And silly. And pretty. And has fighting! And I’m really glad I saw it, and I will probably buy it on Blu-ray and watch certain scenes many, many times.
Just don’t ask me what it’s about.