Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (7)
| Fresh (6)
| Rotten (1)
| DVD (2)
To see Li in his prime, this is a must.
See the Hong Kong cut, "Tai Chi Master," for great martial arts and a story of brothers torn apart.
Not the best thing to come out of Hong Kong in a while, but still a rouser.
The action and stunts are spectacular and entertaining, but big time Jet Li fans will be ultimately disappointed with the dull and predictable story.
Two childhood friends are expelled from their Shaolin monastery and find themselves on opposite sides of a conflict between freedom fighting rebels and the tyrant who is pursuing them. With Woo-ping Yuen in the director's chair and Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh as its stars, you'd expect a feast of martial arts mayhem from Tai Chi Master. You'd be damn right. Some of the frenetic action sequences are truly eye boggling (the amazing staff fights in particular, which were revisited by Yuen when he served as action director for The Matrix Trilogy) and the supporting cast including Siu-hou Chin and Fennie Yuen more than hold their own with the stars. There is also some nice Jackie Chan style humour in the opening scenes that has some genuine warmth and it thankfully avoids the kind of overwrought melodrama and sentimentality that can mar this type of film. It's a shame that the story loses its way during the forced slapstick and silliness of Li's mental breakdown towards the end as it stalls the pacing quite badly, but it soon gets back on track for a suitably spectacular final showdown. Maybe not a world changer and it lacks the artistry of the likes of Crouching Tiger, but it's certainly worth the time for the astonishing combat scenes alone.
Great action sequences from Yuen Woo Ping, the story jumps here and there but who cares. One of the bad guys uses people as human projectiles. That's very much ok in my book.
Yuen Woo-ping packs it all in with Tai Chi Master.
Moving along at a brisk pace, the 90 minute run time of this picture becomes a brief sit through. The story is simple and straightforward without getting overly detailed, and there is even some effective humor to top everything off. Oh yeah, and then there is the martial arts.
The action is the obvious highlight of the film and it comes in bunches with some vivacious editing, spectacular choreography, and an abundance of wire-work fighting. There are many scenes where the wires are visible, but in the grand scheme of things, this is a minor setback. The sound effects are inferior, but it works out nicely when it's all said and done.
Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, and Chin-Siu Ho not only carry this film by showcasing their martial arts, but they also put up enjoyable acting performances as well. Cheung-Yan Yuen joins the fun by providing most of the comic relief.
Tai Chi Master has all the right pieces to become a highly recommendable martial arts film out of China. Check it out.
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