The Forbidden Kingdom

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner9/07/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 113 mins

Angarano's a little bland in the lead role, but this is still an entertaining kung fu adventure flick, enlivened by Yuen Woo-Ping's impressive choreography and the inspired pairing of Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

What's it all about?
Michael Angarano stars as Jason Tripitakas (see what they did there, Monkey fans?), a teenage kung fu fanatic who's mysteriously transported back to ancient China when he finds an antique battle staff in a Boston pawn shop. Jason soon discovers that he has to return the staff to its rightful owner, legendary warrior the Monkey King (Jet Li), who has been imprisoned by the Jade Warlord (Collin Chou).

To help him train, Jason teams up with drunken fight master Lu Yan (Jackie Chan) and a band of misfit warriors that includes Silent Monk (Jet Li) and a vengeful young woman (Liu Yifei). But before they can confront the Jade Warlord, they first have to defeat an evil witch (Li Bingbing) who is intent on stopping Jason from fulfilling his quest.

The Good
It's a treat to see Jackie Chan and Jet Li together onscreen, even if it is a bit weird to see them flying through the air (courtesy of impressive wire-fu-style choreography by the legendary Yuen Woo-Ping) when we're used to seeing them do their stuff on the ground. That said, the extended fight sequence when they first meet up is a definite highlight, with both Chan and Li using several different objects against each other.

Chan is as good as always, but the film gets an extra lift when Li is finally allowed to cut loose as the Monkey King, particularly if you have fond memories of the Monkey TV series (which is derived from the same source material).

The Bad
The only real problem with the film is that Angarano is a little too bland and blank-faced in the lead role. Similarly, the training sequences are rushed and unconvincing as a result.

Worth seeing?
That said, this is an entertaining adventure flick that delivers an enjoyable combination of action and gags. Worth seeing.

Film Trailer

The Forbidden Kingdom
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Content updated: 24/03/2019 06:50

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