Review: The Forbidden Kingdom
The Forbidden Kingdom The Forbidden Kingdom pairs the legends Jet Li and Jackie Chan in a family-friendly coming-of-age tale, in which they are, simultaneously, the main attraction and supporting players. This movie is an absolute blast to watch. The story is interesting, the fights exhilarating, the acting is decent, and there is drama, comedy, fantasy. The Forbidden Kingdom has a lot to offer.
At the center of the movie is the Monkey King, a character from the Chinese Epic, Journey to the West, who has also been central to the series, Saiyuki and Dragonball Z (which has its own film in production). The Monkey King (Jet Li) was a master of the martial arts and chi magic, and possessed a magical staff. He was also opposed by the Jade Warlord (Collin Chou), who was left in power by the Jade Emperor. The two battled, resulting in the Monkey King being trapped in stone. The only way to free him is to return his staff to his possession.
Jason (Michael Angarano) is an outcast growing up in South Boston. He is picked on, has few friends, and has a love for old school kung fu flicks. His love for kung fu has endeared him to an elderly Chinese shop owner named Hop (Jackie Chan). Jason goes to Hop to buy DVDs of obscure kung fu movies. One day, Jason is forced by a group of bullies to get the old man to open up the shop late, where they proceed to rob the place. This is where Jason comes into possession of a staff. Within minutes of getting the staff, he finds himself transported into ancient China, where the mortal and the immortal intermingle. He immediately finds himself in trouble, as the staff is recognized. Coming to his rescue is an inebriated man named Lu Yan (Chan), who informs him of the staff's origin and his newfound destiny. So, off Jason and Lu Yan go, journeying to the distant stronghold of the Jade Warlord. They are soon joined by a young woman with a vendetta, Golden Sparrow (Liu Yifei), and the mysterious Silent Monk (Jet Li). It is a dangerous journey, one that builds to an explosive final showdown that helps young Jason find the courage he needs to overcome adversity.