The Forbidden Kingdom is a fun throwback martial arts romp that pairs Jackie Chan and Jet Li together for the first time. The story is about a teenage boy in modern times, who is transported back in time to return a fabled staff back to the Monkey King. The story and plot were okay, but the kung fu action was very good. Now this movie isn’t an over the top campy Jackie Chan style movie, but it had some comedic elements that were woven into the story, which actually fit. The film was much better than I imagined, and definitely walks all over the House of Flying Daggers, which I thought was horrible. I liked it much better than Hero, which had a descent story, but very little action in my opinion. This movie was definitely based on the old school style of martial arts. One thing I would like to see is an updated martial arts movie using the old school sound effects. That would be nice!
The historic meeting between Jackie Chan and Jet Li was pretty good too. Each character brought their traditional fighting styles that they are known for from their past movies, as they battled each other and the evil Jade Warlord. Jackie had his Drunken Master technique, and Jet Li brought the lightning fast fighting skills that he is known for. They pulled out all of the stops during their battle and it was good to see. I was wondering how they were going to decide who won, but everything they did against each other was pretty much a draw.
The Forbidden Kingdom is a fun film for martial arts fans, but it is no where near as exciting as Kung Fu Hustle, which brought a fresh and unique style to martial arts films. I did enjoy the film, although it was a little slow at parts, which is common for martial arts films.
I don’t see the film doing blockbuster style numbers because I think the martial arts crazy is dying out somewhat, but if you are a fan of Jackie Chan and Jet Li, then this movie is for you.