Forbidden Kingdom is a fairy tale about an American teenager (played by Michael Angarano); an old-school Chinese adventure where a hero is set free to fight a terrible evil-guy, armed only with the help of talented companions. His friends teach him martial arts as well as what he must do to succeed in his quest. This first time pairing of Jet Li and Jackie Chan is definitely much more of a Jackie Chan-styled picture than a Jet Li flick. The movie has a very Disney-esque feel to it, which is not surprising since it is directed by Rob Minkoff who also directed The Lion King, Stuart Little and Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Woo-Ping Yuen, famed action director from the Matrix and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon choreographs all of the film’s martial arts.

Forbidden Kingdom reminds me of: The Librarian (made for TV adventures with Noah Wiley), Mortal Kombat, Mulan and Bulletproof Monk.

At its BEST: (8) Entertaining, cute, fun, good ‘PG’ martial arts (not too violent), great-for-the-whole-family kind of fun, with enough excitement and action to keep you interested. Enjoyable.

At its WORST: (5.5) Too cute, a little too silly, never hard core enough, too much of a fairy tale and way too American for a martial arts film and a villain that isn’t given the chance to really be evil. Basically more Disney than Golden Harvest (Bruce Lee’s original film production company).

How long is it: 113 minutes

Other tidbits: Forbidden Kingdom is based on the classic Chinese epic tale, “Journey to the West” and is filled with characters from Chinese myths and legends (the Monkey King, the Jade Emperor). This is also the first film that Jackie Chan has been in where he is not the action choreographer. Woo-Png Yuen is an Executive Producer and the Choreographer on this film. His credits (as a fight choreographer) include the Matrix, Kill Bill, Fearless, Unleashed and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Uncategorized Film Forecast: Forbidden Kingdom