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An Early Reaction To THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM! Could It Really Kick Ass?!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I’ve got an interesting week of films for or about kids ahead of me. THE FALL on Monday night, THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM on Tuesday night, and then on Thursday, it’s... well, let’s just say I’ll GO, SPEED, GO to the Bridge to see it. And I hear THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM is actually fun. Could that be the case? I’d like to think so. I don’t want to see the one Jackie Chan/Jet Li film be a waste of time for these guys, so fingers crossed, and let’s take a look at this guy’s review:

Hey Harry, Who would've known? Rob Minkoff has no doubt proven his versatility as a director with his upcoming action epic, "The Forbidden Kingdom", which marks the first-time on-screen collaboration between martial arts legends Jackie Chan and Jet Li. As some Disney fanatics may know, Minkoff directed The Lion King, The Haunted Mansion, and both Stuart Little films. How he landed the gig for Kingdom, goes right over my head. Recently, I acquired tickets to a promotional screening in Los Angeles. According to what I had expected, the wide majority of the audience was Asian - lots of native supporters hoping for an American film that finally does justice to the Hong Kong heavy hitters they've all grown up watching. When the reels began to roll, the aspect ratio was noticeably too tall, so 5 minutes into the opening credits, the screen was blacked out a few times until the operator finally fixed it. Phew… The beginning opens up with a montage of classic martial arts films flashing back and forth across the screen - two of which happen to be pictures of the legendary Bruce Lee. As much as I tried to appreciate the homage, this credits sequence seemed irrelevant to the overall movie and more like a gimmick to draw the audience in. But that was easily forgotten once the actual movie kicked in. To summarize, "The Forbidden Kingdom" is about the Chinese warrior god known as the Monkey King who engages in a duel with an evil Emperor. The Monkey King is turned to stone, while his bo staff is sent shooting into the skies, never to be seen for centuries. Flash forward to the present, when a teenage, martial arts movie fanatic finds himself holding the staff in an antique pawn shop. The staff sends him back in time, where he realizes he must return it to the Monkey King and free the village from the tyrannical rule of the evil Emperor. Along the way, he meets a drunken immortal (Jackie Chan), a monk (Jet Li), and an orphan girl (Yifei Liu) who aid him on his quest to the Emperor's palace. The martial arts sequences are breathtaking. Once again, fight choreographer, Yuen-Wo Ping (The Matrix trilogy), never ceases to wow the audience. Action movies can tend to drag at times between the action scenes, but "The Forbidden Kingdom" jumps right in, and just when the story's momentum starts to slow down, you're treated to another thrilling, fast-paced fight scene. What amazed me the most was the variety in styles that Chan and Li both utilized throughout the film - drunken boxing, praying mantis, tiger claw, staff fighting, to name a few. Truly an original work of art. The locations used for the film are also spectacular as the characters traverse over barren deserts, dense bamboo forests, and picturesque green mountains. Although, I did spot some scenes where matte paintings were used - not to detract from the impressive authenticity of the film. If I had to assign a rating to the dialogue, I would have to give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5 - which is not great, but not bad at all. There are a few minor moments where some of the characters' lines seem forced and undeveloped. For example, there's a moment when Jason (Michael Angarano) and Golden Sparrow (Yifei Liu) are pointing out cloud formations and he finds one that looks like "The Green Monster" from Fenway Park. Sparrow obviously has no clue what he's talking about, so he attempts to compare it to a green dragon. Perhaps John Fusco (writer) was just slothful the night he wrote that page, but he sure makes up for it with some hilarious one-liners. Jackie Chan and Jet Li both deliver some memorable lines and they each have their highlighting moments. When Jason expresses his frustration with Chan during his arduous training, Chan punches him and replies: "That's a strike. Tomorrow, I teach you block." Li, on the other hand, has some classic toilet humor which shows that the film doesn't take itself too seriously, and keeps it a fun ride along the way. I was also highly impressed by how much Chan's English has by far improved since, say Rush Hour, as he clearly and coherently narrates the entire story of the Monkey King. I really can't speak for Li though. Initially, I have to admit, I had some gripes about the film after seeing the previews. Oh, so we have a Caucasian male lead who's mentored by two supporting Asian roles to save the world and win the desperate heart of an Asian princess? Hmm, I see. Cough…politics…cough. However, contrary to all this, "The Forbidden Kingdom" subdued my complaints when I realized how evenly the screen time is distributed amongst the characters. In no way are Chan and Li's characters seen as subservient, but rather equally dominant figures and essential, key players in the storyline. Minkoff has demonstrated an honorable respect for these two actors and I give him my highest props for that. I had also read, several months back, an early review on Aint It Cool News where Jason plants a wet one on Golden Sparrow. Apparently, in the final cut (spoiler alert?), he draws back and they never kiss. Whoever had the final say on that change, THANK YOU!!! Sure, it might not contribute a whole lot to finding a cure for this dreadful "Yellow Fever" epidemic that has swept across America, but hey, it's a start! So at the end of all that, I give "The Forbidden Kingdom" an A-. Watch it. Enjoy it. Worth the ticket. Not the bootlegging. - Drakefinx2604
Readers Talkback
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  • April 14, 2008, 3:57 a.m. CST

    Yellow Fever? What Yellow Fever? Can someone elaborate please.

    by Big_Bubbaloola

    Coz i'm confused. Granted it doesn't take much these days, but throw me a bone here.

  • April 14, 2008, 4:05 a.m. CST

    Yellow Fever

    by Ladonite

    Americans are obsessed with Asian things. A bit of a racist term for it, but it's better than 'manga slut'.<br><br>Sounds like a decent flick.

  • April 14, 2008, 4:15 a.m. CST

    Manga Slut

    by Mezzanine

    meets a plant. <p> I am not one to usually throw the word, "plant" around like some people, but goddamn, this thing feels like it was written in a Hollywood press office.

  • April 14, 2008, 4:16 a.m. CST

    Both Chan and Li were once great screen fighters

    by kungfuhustler84

    but i think it's alittle late to give people a film with both and have it meet the standards set by their individual films. And WHAT THE FUCK does there need to be a white teenager in there for? what an idiotic plot device. I would have been much more excited for this project had theyy stuck with the original material. Journey to the West is an incredible story and I seriously doubt inserting some kid will help it much.

  • April 14, 2008, 4:19 a.m. CST

    Oh and plant

    by kungfuhustler84

    Believe me, I am a martial arts movie fanatic. Fist of Lehend,, Wheels on Meals, Drunken Masters I and II, Iron Monkey, Secret Rivals, Killzone, Fearless, I am there. But seriously, I mean, some on, plant.

  • April 14, 2008, 4:22 a.m. CST

    I don't like the handling of my character...

    by Monkey_King

    turned to stone? Indeed! I hatched from a stone egg you screenwriting morons. On top of that, I cannot be beaten by anyone human or demon. I alone can wield my staff, not some Gwailo from the states especially.

  • April 14, 2008, 5:07 a.m. CST

    "Yellow Fever"

    by GravyAkira

    Im black and find that offensive. Dont let me hear about "nigger ears" across the country asshole.

  • April 14, 2008, 6 a.m. CST

    Looks like Michael Angarano has an eye for good kid flicks.

    by DerLanghaarige

    First Sky High, now this (If it's really that good.).

  • April 14, 2008, 6 a.m. CST has a bunch of clips of the movie

    by kungfuhustler84

    thus making me more excited. but the teen kid has no chin, which is a darn shame. If you're gonna roll with the big guys like Jackie and Jet a chin could maybe come in handy. and can we drop all the offensive racist bullshit please? "yellow fever" is one of the most ignorant things I have read on this site and it is completely unneccessary. thanks

  • April 14, 2008, 6:45 a.m. CST

    I'm there

    by Monknee

    with bells on. After 20 years of watching Jackie Chan movies I will watch this and then die extremely happy without regrets.

  • April 14, 2008, 7 a.m. CST

    I'm just waiting for True Priapic to turn up...

    by Seph_J

    ... so he and I can teach you guys about REAL Asia. Not the 'yellow fever' crap you guys are talking about.

  • April 14, 2008, 7:06 a.m. CST

    Ask a Chinese person to describe themself

    by Seph_J

    ... and they will say 'I am Yellow'. <p> This is true. <p> I try it everyday.

  • April 14, 2008, 7:37 a.m. CST

    sounds good, a movie for all

    by firdonyt

    too bad the kiss is gone, I love that freaking kiss! Monkey turn into stones aye? thats handy.

  • April 14, 2008, 7:40 a.m. CST

    i do hope it kick ass,havent seen one for a long time

    by firdonyt

    also hope it has a nice plot behind not just some hongkong action all the way.

  • April 14, 2008, 7:49 a.m. CST

    I wish they had Jackie Chan

    by Series7

    write the plant, that would be funny.

  • April 14, 2008, 7:56 a.m. CST

    I saw

    by Series7

    Fearless and The Protector like back to back weekends in the theater. I saw the Protector first and me and my budy almost walked out of Fearless the next week because we were so BORED. And it didn't help that the star of the upcoming Conan movie, Nathan Jones, was in both movies. Yeah Fearless had a plot, and the protector was about getting his elephants back (by the way, I don't think its possible to just hammer throw a baby elephant?). But man Tony Jaa's shit is so much more then Jet Li's. The protector was almost like a sampling of what Tony can do, too bad if he comes to hollywood he'll be forced into martial arts prostitution. As for the other guy Chan, I've only seen him in Around the World in 80 days, which was fantstic (but see I am a mildly retarded five year old) and Half a Loaf of Kung Fu. Which had words on the screen you had to read and I didn't like that.

  • April 14, 2008, 8 a.m. CST


    by Galva

    I can't believe I'm the first to put that as the subject line. Consequently, it's true.

  • April 14, 2008, 8:10 a.m. CST

    Oh, it's definitely called yellow fever

    by terry1978

    You talk to some asian people and mention that term, see if they don't secretly acknowledge it amongst themselves. I'm black, and my girl is korean, and I have gotten shit about it from black, white, and other asian people, and it does exist, even if it's underlying.

  • April 14, 2008, 8:24 a.m. CST


    by just pillow talk

    Tony Jaa is one bad ass muthafucker. He's also quite adept at doing FLAMING LEG KICKS. And if anyone can throw a baby elephant, those super roid freaks can. Besides me of course, when I throw them at work when I get pissed.

  • April 14, 2008, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Best Jackie Chan movie?

    by Big_Daddy_Nero

    Ok, I admit I am geeked about this movie, because it seems to be combining a lot of different elements I really like: Wo-Ping, Chan and Li. I am hoping that it comes out being as much fun as, say, Hustle or Iron Monkey. Anyway, figured this would be as good a place as any to pose this question: What do you think is the best Jackie Chan Martial Arts flick? My vote goes to Dragon Fist. I absolutely LOVE that movie. Chan plays an absolute badass, and not even one tiny shred of the 'clown' persona is present.

  • April 14, 2008, 9:04 a.m. CST


    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    Without a doubt for Jackie its Drunken Master II. For Jet Li its Once Upon A Time In China.

  • April 14, 2008, 9:33 a.m. CST

    I can't believe that

    by Series7

    Shia LaAngarano is going to be in this and Indian Jones 4.0: Live Free or Kill Nazis.

  • April 14, 2008, 9:44 a.m. CST

    I would really like to know how

    by Series7

    Rob Minkoff got to direct this? Like I know Jackie Chan knows what I director is, because he usually uses the same ones a bunch in his hometown. I guess he is told by his money that it doesn't matter who directs a film. Because seiously this movie looks like someone saw Wo hu cang long and though... HMMM there is a kiddie movie in there somewhere. There is nothing in this directors past that says he is rip for the second most awaited Vs. battle sinice Freddy and Jason. I would have said wheres Ronny Yu, but then I saw Fearless. Someone put these two guys in touch with Luc Besson, I am sure he's got some new French Director that can make a bad ass movie with these two.

  • April 14, 2008, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Best movie by j.c. and jet


    If you are talking about fighting alone and not story then Miracles is one of Jackie's better movies. As far as good story and fighting then Drunken Master 2, Dragons Forever and the Armor of God movies all rock. For Jet Li my favorite movie of his is the Evil Cult Master, and the Legend of the Red Dragon. Fist of Legend is one of his most popular but I think he has better.

  • April 14, 2008, 10:04 a.m. CST

    I also love WHO AM I

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    The bit where Jackie cuts loose with clogs and slides in front of the bus left me gob-smacked. The ending however is truly pathetic.

  • April 14, 2008, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Asian chicks are hot

    by Thrillho77

    That's all there is to it. Asian fever be damned - you can't resist it.

  • April 14, 2008, 10:05 a.m. CST

    ha ha...I meant Yellow Fever

    by Thrillho77

    But apparently some here have never heard of it.

  • April 14, 2008, 10:06 a.m. CST

    I'll agree Jet Li has better movies than OUATIC

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    but the log fight and the ladders will forever be for me a true pinnacle of balletic action.

  • April 14, 2008, 10:08 a.m. CST

    thrillho77, yeah that would be us non-suss cunts

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    sorry, just had to use suss cunts in a sentence.

  • April 14, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST

    Actually I'm not sorry suss cunt

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks


  • April 14, 2008, 10:12 a.m. CST

    DOn't underestimate FLAMING LEG KICKS

    by Lost Jarv

    the punishment of choice for heretics. <P>and don't underestimate the love one man can have for his baby elephant. It leads to pain if you do.

  • April 14, 2008, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Project A = Chan's best ever!

    by Seph_J

    And if Asian's are Yellow, then I am blue.

  • April 14, 2008, 10:33 a.m. CST


    by Series7

    Unless this Plant proves me wrong. This will probably be the single biggest let down of the year. Because I've always invisioned this picture. It would be just a little bit longer then the Rocks Walking Tall. And it would pretty much have little to zero diolog, just funny sayings from Jackie Chan every now and then. And all it would be is just like Li and Chan walking in the middle of the road, they bump into each other and theres a stare down. Then there is this awesome quick cut shots of each actore to a pan up and over and then the screen goes black and its just says "CHAN" in big bold letters. Then the same thing for "LI". and then the words FIGHT (title of the movie) appear. And thats it, just an hour and 20 of them going at it. Car/boat chases. I mean it would just be exhausting. But it would be awesome, just them going around some city destroying the hell out of it trying to fight each other.

  • April 14, 2008, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Journey to the West

    by sanzaru

    *sigh* So much potential...I wonder if the states will ever get a PROPER 'Journey of the West'/'Monkey King' film... Jamie Hewlett has collaborated on a stage treatment of the story, over in the UK: I keep imagining this done up stylistically somewhere between "The Dark Crystal" and "The Lord of the Rings"- lush effects and sweeping environments, filled to the gills with magic kung fu. NO RANDOM WHITE DUDES NEEDED THANK YOU. THE NATURE OF MONKEY IS IRREPRESSIBLE!!!

  • April 14, 2008, 11:09 a.m. CST

    and im sure Autistic License

    by Seph_J

    means that in a Mel Brooks 'Blazing Saddles' kinda way.... as in mocking the stupidity of racist people.... at least... I hope he does...

  • April 14, 2008, 11:13 a.m. CST

    whoah... awkward...

    by Seph_J

    Wheres Gene Wilder... aka the Waco Kid when you need him.... oh, he cattle stampeding...... through the Vatican... <p> lol

  • April 14, 2008, 11:17 a.m. CST

    umm yeah, not sure what to say to that

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    and with that I'm outta here.

  • April 14, 2008, 11:34 a.m. CST

    I think I know who needs a FLAMING LEG KICK to the head

    by just pillow talk

    Hold still Autistic License.

  • April 14, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST

    YES! Jackie doing a Drunken Master AGAIN

    by theycallmemrglass

    Can we call this Drunken Master 3 then...

  • April 14, 2008, 11:44 a.m. CST


    by Seph_J

    __¬¬__ | _ _ | ||_||_|| | | | ¬¬ | | || | |__||__|

  • April 14, 2008, 11:45 a.m. CST


    by Seph_J

    __¬¬__<p> | _ _ |<p> ||_||_||<p> | |<p> | ¬¬ |<p> | || |<p> |__||__|<p>

  • April 14, 2008, 11:50 a.m. CST

    fuck... just found out, you can't do

    by Seph_J

    pictures on here. Damn.

  • April 14, 2008, 12:18 p.m. CST

    The last two Jet Li movies kicked serious ass

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Unleashed, aka Danny the Dog, and the one where I forget the name, but he's the pony-tailed kung fu teacher who kills another teacher, goes into self-imposed exile, and returns to win an international tournament in China... both those movies were killer.

  • April 14, 2008, 2:05 p.m. CST


    by just pillow talk

    Fearless, and he wasn't a teacher at the time, he was the champion of his area/town that killed another champion from another area (if I'm not mistaken). He then went into exile after his daughter and mother are killed by that guys nephew (I think).<p>I agree though, I really liked both of those movies.

  • April 14, 2008, 2:58 p.m. CST

    Yeah, that's it. Fearless.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    He went off on self-exile. It was either the nephew or the son of the guy he killed. The fight scene between him and he other teacher was great. Actually all the fight scenes were. The best part of Unleashed was where he dropped the BD/SM fighter in about three seconds after the immortal words "get 'em"

  • April 14, 2008, 3 p.m. CST

    Oh, just pillow, he was a teacher, but not

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    a school teacher if that what you thought I meant. He was the teacher of a martial arts school/undefeated fighting champ of the area.

  • April 14, 2008, 3:10 p.m. CST

    hopefully Chan and Li...

    by Prossor

    will now be comfortable doing more movies togheter, and without the shitty american kid actors this time. hey this is like a fresh resurgence for their careers!

  • April 14, 2008, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Should be better than Rush Hour 3 and War

    by Itto Ogami loses Daigoro

    put together...but that ain't saying much nowadays you know?

  • April 14, 2008, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Autistic License

    by Big_Daddy_Nero

    Actually, your posts are highlights for the promotion of Free Speech. Without that right, how would the rest of us know what a dipshit you are? Just because you have the right to say it does not make it any less vile, nor does it make you any less vile for saying it. That's not to say that 'Rev. Wright' and his ilk are any less reprehensible than you, in their own way. They are just as bad, if not worse. But again, no biggie. Free Speech is one of the primary vehicles whereby Social Darwinism functions - the more easily-identifiable the cretins, the less likely they are to be able to reproduce.

  • April 14, 2008, 4:46 p.m. CST


    by vaterite

    Since when is it "..fight coreographer Yuen Wo Ping (The Matrix Trilogy)????, as if he didn't work before that? I mean, at least give him the Drunken Master or Iron Monkey.

  • April 14, 2008, 5:15 p.m. CST


    by drakefinx2604

    aahh, you guys make me crack up. No, the review's not a plant and no, I don't get paid:) Yellow fever isn't a racist term, ask any Asian. Besides some weak dialogue, the movie was really that good and you're in for a treat.

  • April 14, 2008, 6:35 p.m. CST

    Knowles the nigger lover deleted my posts

    by Autistic License

    Think it's funny to violate my First Amendment rights, huh? Fine; I'll see your ass in court, fatty. Bring a lunch.

  • April 14, 2008, 8:59 p.m. CST

    Autistic License

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    FYI - This is Harry's website. Not yours. And much like a business owner, he can kick you out (aka delete your posts) anytime he so chooses. You have the privelege of posting here - not the right to. So, in other words...<P>...get fucked.

  • April 14, 2008, 9:16 p.m. CST

    Autistic Licence

    by Seph_J

    Is black really. He's just playing with us. <p> I'm sure of it.

  • April 14, 2008, 11:06 p.m. CST

    only a brother

    by Seph_J

    could talk that way about other brothers

  • April 14, 2008, 11:07 p.m. CST

    Mr. Nice Gaius

    by Autistic License

    Since I am now officially unbannable, I'll thank you for at least a smidgen of respect. Certain photos involving Harry, a midget, a German Shepherd, and a clawfoot tub full of lime Jello need never see the light of day.<P>Seph_J--- You're only half right. Figure it out.

  • April 14, 2008, 11:11 p.m. CST

    half right?

    by Seph_J

    As in you are half black, and half a fucking idiot?

  • April 14, 2008, 11:32 p.m. CST

    Project A

    by kungfuhustler84

    is chan's best stunts movie, that and Police Story, like holy crap woah! but his best martial arts movies are Drunken Master 2 and his legendary fight with Benny "the Jet" Urquidez in Wheels on Meals

  • April 14, 2008, 11:48 p.m. CST

    Autistic License

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    You're "now officially unbannable"? HA HA! Is this your first day on AICN?!

  • April 15, 2008, 12:12 a.m. CST

    half black, half fucking idiot, all cop

    by iamhagrid

    as above

  • April 15, 2008, 2:46 a.m. CST

    I Need to Be Reassured

    by bottombrick

    That this won't be anything like that fucking crapfest Fearless. Luckily I had seen the Protector shortly before hand and it helped ease the pain, but that shit sapped my will to live. Oh, and best Jackie Chan shit is Wheels on Meals, Armor of God, and Rumble in the Bronx.

  • April 15, 2008, 6:07 a.m. CST


    by CuervoJones

    But the movie looks ok.

  • April 15, 2008, 7:03 a.m. CST

    It's not that great...

    by RenoNevada2000

    The movie suffers greatly for two reasons- Stupid modern day kid character and director Rob (HAUNTED MANSION) Minkoff.

  • April 15, 2008, 5:47 p.m. CST

    by drakefinx2604

    Hello, that's my review up there. Just letting you know it's originally from this entertainment site I write for. Feel free to check it out.