Forbidden Kingdom: This had better be good

Ladies and gentlemen, my most anticipated movie of 2008:

This is the much-awaited, highly-anticipated match-up between Jet Li and Jackie Chan, and I’m as excited as a rabbit in a carrot patch. I’ve watched Jackie’s movies since before I learned how to walk (technically, I could say I started watching his movies since before I was born, but that would really be stretching it), and I remember distinctly being blown away with Jet’s Once A Upon A Time in China when I watched him for the first time (it was after a particularly distressing exam, I recall, but I’m certain that has nothing to do with it).
Nobody would dispute that since their move to Hollywood, the quality of their movies went south (in this case, it was south westerly). At any rate, they stank. This fact is definitely not lost on them, because as they continued their affair with Hollywood, they would return to flirt with their patient and loyal fanbase in Asia (Jackie with stuff like The New Police Story, The Myth and the baby caper flick, and Jet with his Hero and Fearless).
So after 15 years of talking and dreaming, J & J finally decided to make good on their plans and Forbidden Kingdom is the result. The good news is the principal filming is completed, and the film is now in post-production. The bad news is it’s not showing next week. Specifically, it will only be shown in April next year, which is not fast enough for me.
There are so many things that can go wrong with this film. Yuen Woo Ping has been drafted in, so that can’t be too bad.
However, an original story that focuses on the Chinese culture but with an eye to the Western audiences has been whipped up. I’m always skeptical about movies helmed by either Jackie or Jet being remade with Western audiences in mind, because the result tends to fall short of the heights of Hongkong cinematic action, which would be too tame for Asian audiences, and the story tends to be pretty half-assed to be taken seriously, which would disappoint anyone. So if the movie craps out, it’ll probably be story-wise.
I’m hoping it won’t be disappointing, because this movie has the potential to be a classic. It’s a foregone conclusion that it will be a commercial success, but will it be a paragon of cinematic action that will finally appeal to both the Eastern and Western audiences, a testimonial highpoint for these two icons?
I’ll grab a box of popcorn and tell you in April.


2 Comments

  1. i gather that u’d have already seen the film, since it’s waaay past April 2008. what’s ur take on it? (the first time i watched it was on TV here in China with every single line dubbed in Chinese, even the gwailo’s! i found absolutely no kick in that)

  2. It was better than I expected, Mich. However I must say that expectations were pretty darn low, so having made a movie better than their other English movies don’t really say much.
    That said, it was predictable, Jet was rubbish as Monkey King (Dicky Cheong will always and forever be the best person to play Monkey King for me), and it was irritating that the pretty chick always spoke in 3rd person, but otherwise it was ok.
    Definitely worth watching for the fight scenes between J & J.

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