Last night, with mama and brother in tow, I ventured out to see The Forbidden Kingdom, the much anticipated Jet Li, Jackie Chan movie. Before I explain my disappointment in detail, let me say this: Jet Li was covered in blond monkey fur and giggled repeatedly. Nuff said really, but let me elaborate on why they could've kept this movie and why my brother and I have agreed to never acknowledge its existence again.
First off, this is my second Jet Li disappointment. A couple of years back, there was this film, War, featuring Jet Li and Jason Statham, two of my most favorite movie dudes ever. I figured I was in for a level of kick-ass intensity such as the world had rarely seen. While purchasing some Tony Jaa DVDs from the Best Buy, some seemingly knowledgeable dude warned my brother and me not to see it. He said that it sucked, that it did not live up to its potential, and that it promised to disappoint. My brother and I said, "No, this can't be. The very fact that Jason Statham and Jet Li are in a movie together is surely enough to guarantee illness, or, at the very least, dopeness." However, dude was convincing; he seemed to know his shit, so we didn't see War that night. A few months ago, though, we reconsidered. There was no way, we said, that this movie could be that bad, so we Comcasted it and proceeded to have one of the most painful movie experiences we have ever known. I'll not detail why War was such a huge, odoriferous turd. Just know that it was awful and you should steer very clear.
Fast forward to yesterday. We're in the Macy's for a quick lip gloss run (for me; my brother's not a fan of the shimmery lip look) and we're discussing our doubts. Trailers for The Forbidden Kingdom haven't had the sort of epic seriousness we feel this legendary match up deserves. There's a bit of "family friendliness" about it that could be quite distasteful, we say. He is quite sure that the movie will tank, but I am more optimistic. So we see it. The entire time Jimmy's shaking his head and whispering, "Not like this." I'm just kinda staring at the screen and thinking, "Wow, this is NOT good." Now the movie isn't necessarily terrible, but it is not worthy of two of the greatest martial artists of our generation. It's a family film, with bad choreography, bad directing ... and a goofy white protagonist. Yes ladies and gentleman, a studio has the talents of both Jet Li and Jackie Chan on hand, and they make the focus of the story some diffident goof with tousled hair. They even deign to have him saving Jackie Chan's life! (The nerve.)
Yeah. So while the story line is rote and familiar, which really isn't a problem in action films, the fights were nothing to write home about either. The least we could have gotten, as fans, were some great fights, but nooooo. Instead we get these slick and poorly directed Jean Claude Van Damme-ish match ups. They were spliced to hell and the angles were terribly chosen. There was nothing epic about them. The anticipated match up happened in the middle of the film, and the final fight was barely a fight at all. There should have been flames and electricity and feathers and all sorts of shit. Yes, this movie failed. Perhaps, if I were a parent looking for a PG action flick for the kiddies, I'd be fine. But, I'm not. I'm a blood thirsty martial arts film lover who wanted to see Jet Li and Jackie Chan beat the living shit out of each other using chair fu and boulder fu and foot fu and all other kinds of fu that I've only imagined. I did not get that. Shame on Casey Silver Productions.