Running time: 100 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 12
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 5th December 2009.
PLEASE NOTE: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Legend has it that the Monkey King, a fierce and respected warrior, was tricked by the Jade Warlord and turned to stone. Before this happened, he sent his weapon, a fighting staff, out into the world to hide it from the Warlord. It is said that someone would return it to him and when that day came the Jade Emperor would return to the world and free it from the tyranny of the Warlord.
A teenager from Boston, Jason Tripitikas, is obsessed with old Kung Fu movies. He gets bootleg films from Old Hop, who owns a pawn shop in Chinatown. On one of his visits there he finds an old mysterious staff tucked away in a back room. Old Hop shoo’s him out of the shop and he sets off home only to be confronted by a gang of local thugs. They know that he goes to the pawn shop and plan to rob the old man, using Jason as a means to get inside. They get to the store and start searching for the money when the old man tries to stop them. The leader pulls out a gun and shoots the old man. In a panic, Jason grabs the staff and runs for the roof. He seems cornered when the staff seems to push him over the edge. The next thing he knows he’s in ancient China! There he meets Lu Yan, a drunk who knows Kung Fu; he also meets Golden Sparrow, a female musician who is on a mission to kill the Jade Warlord. These two save Jason’s life when the Jade army come for him. They set off towards the Mountain where the Warlord lives and Jason persuades Lu Yan to teach him Kung Fu on the way. A mysterious silent monk takes the staff one day but ends up travelling with them and also teaching Jason the ways of Kung Fu. As they approach the mountain a witch is waiting for them, sent by the Jade Warlord. I’ll leave the summary there; I think you’ve had enough spoilers for now!
A very well made film with some truly excellent fight sequences, but with the likes of Jackie Chan and Jet Li in the cast, I would expect nothing less. I must admit it’s nice to see Jackie Chan in a more classical Chinese fantasy type role as opposed to the more Westernised roles he tends to play these days. Great performances from all of the cast, honourable mentions go to Jet Li as The Monkey King / The Silent Monk, Michael Angarano as Jason Tripitikas, Jackie Chan as Lu Yan / Old Hop, Yifei Liu as Golden Sparrow / Chinatown Girl and Collin Chou as Jade Warlord.
Over all, quite an entertaining film with a lot of very good fight sequences. The only thing that slightly let it down was the fact that one or two of the fight sequences went on a little too long, and the plot was a little weak in couple of places. Apart from that, pretty entertaining stuff!
My score: 6.5/10
IMDb Site: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0865556/
Official Site: http://www.forbiddenkingdommovie.com/