Director: Rob Minkoff
Writer: John Fusco (Screenplay)
Starring: Jet Li, Michael Angarano, Jackie Chan, Juana Collignon, Morgan Benoit, Jack Posobiec, Yifei Liu, Bingbing Li
Plot: A discovery made by a kung fu obsessed American teen sends him on an adventure to China, where he joins up with a band of martial arts warriors in order to free the imprisoned Monkey King.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Fun Martial Arts Film
Story: The Forbidden Kingdom starts as we meet outsider teenager Jason (Angarano) who has a love for kung fu movies, his life is tipped upside down when he ends up in Ancient China with an important weapon, but no one speaks his language. Once in China Jason meets Lu Yan (Chan) a drunken master that helps him return the weapon a staff to the Monkey King (Li) the only man that could stop the Jade Warlord (Chou) reign of terror.
Jason becomes Lu Yan’s student as he joins him on a quest to save the Monkey King, where they are joined by the Golden Sparrow (Liu) on their journey, where the enemies come thick and fast, Jason will need to learn who to trust though.
Thoughts on The Forbidden Kingdom
Characters – Jason is an American teenager who loves kung fu, he is a loner but soon finds himself transported back to Ancient China in the middle of a battle against the Jade Emperor’s reign of terror. Here he must learn the skills he loves on an adventure he could never have dreamed off. Lu Yan is one of the eight immortals living, his elixir is wine, he takes Jason under his wing to head to release the Monkey King. The Silent Monk also joins the journey as another great warrior in need of fighting his way to the give himself the freedom. Golden Sparrow also joins the party as she is fighting for revenge against the Jade Emperor for slaughtering her family. Ni Chang is the general set to retrieve the staff from Jason for the Jade Warlord, she is beautiful and deadly showing why she was the first choice by the warlord.
Performances – Michael Angarano is the teenager, he performs well with the highly trained talent within the film. Jackie Chan and Jet Li are the big draws for this film, they bring the skills and get to have some fun in their roles. the female leads are strong too, with Yifei Liu and Bingbing Li both showing their skills in combat with the elite in the industry.
Story – The story follows the loner that gets transported to the time he loves, in this case Ancient China where he finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle for power. This is a routine story that brings two of the biggest icons of martial arts together for the world audience. We have the elements of our teenager learning and the characters that fit the film wonderfully throughout to tell the story of redemption needed to complete their destinies.
Action/Adventure/Fantasy – The action is big like you would expect in any martial arts film, with have plenty of fights for both Chan and Li to show off their skills. The adventure takes out unlikely hero from the streets of Boston to Ancient China in what is a fantasy world of immortals, witches and warlords.
Settings – The American settings show just how far our teenager will go on his adventure, while the ancient Chinese setting shows us the old traditions that Jason must learn to stay alive.
Special Effects – The effects are the weakest part of the film, we have certain moments that look genuine, but they are soon followed by moments you can almost see the stunt being performed.
Final Thoughts – This is a nice fun enjoyable action adventure film, it doesn’t take things too seriously and can be enjoyed by all martial arts fans.
Overall: Enjoyable and fun throughout.