A giant all star laden Kung Fu flick (yes I know its Tai Chi, but dammit KUNG FU flick just rolls off the tongue better... or finger tips in this case). Featuring fights done by THE Yuen Woo-ping. Now if you are sitting at home scrolling through my lovely reviews ways and saying to yourself - Who in the Freaking F is Woo-Ping you speak off dear Boony. Well how's this - Drunken Master, Iron Monkey, Fist of Legend, The Matric trilogy, crouching tiger hidden dragon, kill Bill... every fight, in those films and many others designed by Woo-ping. So ya, legendary. Woo good.
Do Ninja foot to face films need plot? Could be argued I guess, I mean The Grandmaster for example had way too much... but I think if you just stick to your - Someone in peril and hero saves em - plot you're ok. Haha... ah, I kid, but let's face it... martial art films are pretty much 1. You killed someone I cared about now I kill you, or 2. You wish to destroy this helpless village/farm/company I will stop you. Variations welcome.... so with that in mind...
The plot: Super Tai Chi Ninja dude- THE MAN OF TAI CHI (played by Tiger Chen, I known, love the name), with strangely flat and perfectly separated hair is fighting to prove his skills in a friendly competition (think Karate Kid style tourney). Then a big evil guy, Donaka Mark (played by Keeeeeeeanu Reeves) catches his moves and decides he should star in another tournament. A big dark evil street fighter tournament that he streams to a bunch of super high paid types. I know; will the rich ever be satisfied by something other than death and destruction? This film submits; no. So Tiger is all "No I can't do this, it would disgrace my master". Then the Tai Chi temple is found to have a ton of health code violations, and he needs money to help his master... So he starts whooping on peeps for $.
Along the way he will realize his true nature, battle his own darkness within... and have to defeat the evil Donaka.
|Oh ya. Theres this cute cop hunting Donaka. Does that matter... not really.|
Standard stuff. If That a bad thing? No. I mean Ong Bak was a movie about a guy chasing a stolen statue... that was it. Why? Not entirely sure. But it was a great excuse for a ton of violence, and stunts.
This film is no different. The plot is really just an excuse to kick and punch ... well... pretty much everyone. So let's talk about the meat and bones of the NMOTM here at Boonsweet&Bucklesworth. The fights. Keanu Reeves is making his directorial debut here, and honestly, jumping into a film where you are going to have to catch Woo-Pings insane choreography in say 80% of the film, could not have been easy. There is a distinct style here, in contrasts. Keanu in slower moments, in build ups, uses long drawn out shots, letting you drink in the scenery and such. Then once the fight starts, its a flurry of cut shots, and swing camera... Normally I hate fastly cut fights, here however, he manages to catch each crazy move as it happens. Man is punching then kicks.... camera cuts to the angle to capture the kicks impact, cuts again to show body hitting wall, cut back to follow punch in towards target... it takes some getting used to, but after the first couple of fights I found I was enjoying it. But believe me when I say many will not.
The fights themselves (shooting aside) are fantastic... many different fighting styles here... even a cameo by the Star of THE RAID: REDEMPTION though he is criminally underused. Why!? why hire the guy and then have him star in the one fight that gets interrupted?... BULLSHITE!
|They finished 3rd on SYTYCD asia...|
Fight of the Film: The insanely fast and cool Master and Student rumble. It was a fine treat to finally see a master hold his own against his troubled and talented pupil. In fact more than hold his own. I'm old school... I see an aging master, I'm like that guy could whomp everyone... nice to see my inner feelings backed up.
The acting... well should we talk about it in a fight flick?
It's not that good. Tiger is well, really rough when not kicking people, and it makes sense as this is his first jump from stunt duties (on the Matric trilogy for example). Though, their is some inherit likability there. Keanu, well Keanu... what can I say. Love this canadian, and he is completely over the top here. I mean, why is he always so angry... like it's 1 pm in your office, you're rich, smile once in a while. But I think that was his point... pure Darth Vader come to the dark side style. So in that sense I enjoyed his mean mugging.
Overall there is a lot to like here...
Could have used a little more eye candy... meaning women... but hey that's just me and my refuse to age hormones....
There is also a lot to hate here if you wanna pick on the performances, and editing... you could. And I would understand. As a fan of the fight films however, this was one of the finner examples I've seen in a bit, and the final showdown was awesome fun.
Movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars
Fight film scale 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Boonsweet is saying HI-YA later... was that bad? It was bad, ah well. lol
@Tallwhitefox for Boonsweet
and @Boonsbuckles for the duo... who occasionally remember to post there :P