The Forbidden Kingdom - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Forbidden Kingdom Reviews

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½ February 17, 2018
The epic choreography of Yuen Woo Ping and the action-based comedy of Jackie Chan and Jet Li combine into a fun, spectacular, American-produced kung-fu fantasy that's occasionally more stupid than it needs to be.
September 8, 2017
One of my child hood favorites back when I was in D.R
July 9, 2017
It is good but I don't like the plot and graphics with the sound effects.
July 3, 2017
no bad ,liu is cute
½ May 31, 2017
The Jackie Chan/Jet Li showdown is cool...the plot is not.
February 19, 2017
It's good movie to watch
January 30, 2017
It was a great movie, largely because of the way Jackie Chan describes Kung-Fu. The film does justice to many forms of Chinese literature and martial arts, and I'd recommend watching it at least once.
January 7, 2017
If you expect me to hold a predisposed favorable bias toward a movie pairing Jackie Chan and Jet Li, you'd be right. Knowing that this film had a 7-minute brawl between these two icons, I was prepared to pay full admission for that one scene alone, even if the rest of the movie were total crap. To my surprise, however, the rest of the movie is actually a very enjoyable fantasy, a journey in the vein of The Wizard of Oz if Dorothy were a Boston teen, the red-slippers were a fighting staff, and the villains weren't disposed of by water, but by a huge, tag-team butt kicking!

The film has the tone of the great family-friendly adventure movies of the 80's, the ones that captured the imaginations of kids and adults alike. I'm talking The Goonies, The Karate Kid, The NeverEnding Story, Willow, and to a lesser extent, The Flight of the Navigator. This movie reminded me of the movies that I loved as a kid (and still love today.) Stir that up with 70's kung-fu movies, a little dash of Disney morality (the movie was directed by The Lion King helmer Rob Minkoff), gorgeous cinematography of rugged Chinese landscapes, fight choreography by Yuen Wo Ping (who did the fights for Crouching Tiger and the Matrix trilogy), some Chinese mythology, and a handful of comedic scenes ranging from amusing to hilarious, and that's what this movie is.

The screenwriter is an American who is also a student of Jet Li's, and it's obvious that he loves Chinese culture, mythology, and cinema. This film is an obvious love letter to all of that, and you should know going into it that it's meant to introduce Western audiences to the characters of Chinese legends. The Greeks had Hercules and Zeus, Americans have Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed. Likewise, the Chinese have their own mythical heroes and villains (mostly unfamiliar to us) who are thrown together in this movie: The Monkey King, The Bride With White Hair, etc. If you watch it with the wrong mindset, these characters might seem silly; however, if you watch it the same way you'd watch a film like The Wizard of Oz, the characters are great fun.

I loved Jet Li's playful performance as The Monkey King (both he and Jackie Chan have dual roles in this), and The Bride With White Hair is such an enjoyably evil villain, I want to learn more about her mythology. I especially loved the musical motif for her; the movie's score is often beautifully symphonic, but whenever she comes on screen, it sounds more like a riff for the villain in a spaghetti western or in a Tarantino film. It was intentionally campy and over the top and I loved it.

Normally I'm opposed to any type of wirework in a movie with Jackie Chan. His raw athleticism speaks for itself: he don't need no stinking tricks! However, I'll make an exception here, because Yuen Wo Ping's wirework: 1) actually accentuates his actor's athleticism, rather than compensating for a lack thereof, and 2) is often in the fantasy realm, so supernatural moves are more acceptable. The fights in this movie are definitely in Wo-Ping's style; sorry Chan-fans, there's not a lot of comedic prop-fighting, wall climbs, or death-defying stunts here.

On the plus side, people who think Chan is an acrobatic clown who can't do real martial arts can finally shut up, as he expertly demonstrates various styles here. Jet Li, of course, kicks all kinds of butt. The film is very much a Jackie Chan film in terms of comedy (Jet Li even has a few wonderfully funny moments), but the fights are more in the Jet Li/Yuen Wo-Ping sensibility. The sound design on the fights is wonderful, with some meaty punches. Chan's English is noticeably improved, broadening his comedic abilities beyond physical comedy and into the realm of legitimately well-delivered English dialogue.

Of course, the film is not perfect. I don't want to gush on and on about what is, after all, nothing but a fluffy popcorn movie. Some of the dialogue is laughable. Much of the story is cliche and has been done before, both in other fantasy movies and in the collective Chan/Li canon. And the film drags at times. What matters, though, is that it always picks itself up. Just when nothing good has happened for a few minutes, a great comedic scene or fight occurs. The cast is all obviously having fun. Jackie Chan and Jet Li have a natural screen repertoire. And yes, I even liked the teenage kid. All in all, this is a fun fantasy adventure that certainly doesn't have the depth of a Lord of the Rings, but has more than enough charm to merit a watch on the big screen.
November 6, 2016
Rewatched 2016-11-06, bumped from 3.5 to 4.
November 6, 2016
Worth watching just to see comedic Jet Li.
October 4, 2016
That was awesome. I want a sequel.
½ October 3, 2016
The Forbidden Kingdom is directed by Rob Minkoff, and it stars Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Michael Angarano in an adaptation loosely based on the novel Journey to the West about an American teenager that watched a lot of martial arts films, gets the store owner shot, and tells him to bring the staff to the rightful owner, which sent Jason to ancient China. When my last homecoming day is over, I felt like watching this movie on my DirecTV list all of a sudden and decided to watch it, which wasn't bad at all. The acting is really good, and honestly at first I thought that Michael Angarano was going to be annoying and stick out like a sore thumb in the bad way, but he wasn't as bad as I thought he was going to be, and did the best he could with his role. The first thing that I wanted from this film, was to see Jackie Chan and Jet Li fight each other, and I definitely got one fight scene, but I didn't care as it was the best part of the film. The fight scenes are entertaining to watch, and there are some funny parts in there. The plot isn't that original however as it's the typical type of story, and there are some scenes in there that felt pointless and more or less filler. Not the best collaboration that there is with Jackie Chan and Jet Li, but The Forbidden Kingdom is an enjoyable film that brought a lot of fun effort to it.
August 28, 2016
Very entertaining westernised adaptation of Wuxia film culture that, surprisingly, doesn't shy way from the more obscure eastern themes.
June 18, 2016
Watched with preteen. Fun.
May 28, 2016
There are somewhat cheesy filler moments, but it is overall an undeniably fun movie with some great action. Jackie Chan and Jet Li shine in their roles.
May 12, 2016
i ,loved it but did jet li really need to have 2 roles?
½ May 2, 2016
Built as the first pairing of these martial art legends, the action remains strong, but the light plot makes you check your watch.
April 25, 2016
Jackie Chan and Jet Li are brilliant together!
March 30, 2016
Cheesy, cliche and predictable. 1/10
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